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547961 (Softbound)
978-1-60554-796-1 (Softbound)
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Enhance your joy and practice as an early childhood educator through professional friendships

Most early childhood educators know how critical children's friendships are to their development, not to mention their happiness. But adult professional friendships, sometimes known as critical friendships, are also integral to early childhood education, giving educators daily support and collaboration, nurturing their professional and pedagogical growth, and—not to be discounted—making the job fun!

The book is an invitation for you to:
  • Reflect on the big ideas of professional friendships.
  • Create a parallel process of reflection while observing children’s friendships.
  • Consider how to apply the theories of professional friendship to practice.
  • Articulate what you value in a professional friend.
  • Focus on yourself to describe your own identity.
  • Communicate the expectations that you have for your professional friends in your current and potential relationships.

Author Diane Kashin draws on a wealth of research and a lifetime of professional friendships to invite readers to muse with her on what it means to be a friend, how to make friends and keep friends, and what happens when friendships end.


"What a beautiful book! Diane eloquently illustrates the relationships that develop while we care for children together that can become the greatest source of growth in our teaching practice. I've never before had the language to articulate the power of professional friendships. Diane feels instantly like a professional friend because she really KNOWS and loves and respects the early childhood education world that I inhabit. Her message is just what we need during this time of burnout and exhaustion in our workforce, and as we try to understand what it means to practice self-care and community care. We need one another!" —Carol Garboden Murray, author of Illuminating Care: The Pedagogy and Practice of Care in Early Childhood Communities

"Being an educator is a rich, complex, and often challenging vocation, and Diane Kashin honors and celebrates the relationships we all need to sustain the ups and downs of our professional life. She expertly weaves theory and practice throughout the pages, intertwining child development and stories of her own professional relationships, while offering concrete strategies to form and enhance our own friendships. I found myself reflecting deeply about the professional friendships that have sustained and held me throughout my career and the powerful role they played in my evolution as an educator. More importantly, Diane’s words can inspire us to reflect on how we can be a better professional friend to those in our lives. Thank you for the gift of this book, Diane!" —Lisa Burman, pedagogical consultant and author of A Culture of Agency: Fostering Engagement, Empowerment, Identity, and Belonging in the Early Years

"This book is a must-read for educators and parents as it is filled with ideas for making friends and understanding friendship. I wish it had been available for me as I began my own journey into education. Kashin’s focus on professional friendship includes questions, reflections, and research to help readers better understand their own friendships while also demonstrating how the development of friendships impact both adults’ and children’s continuous well-being." —Deborah Shein, PhD, early childhood education consultant and author of Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy: Spiritual Development of Young Children and Nurturing Spiritual Development in Children by Understanding Our Own Spirituality

"Diane Kashin opens this book with reflections on the value of professional friends—those people who lift our spirits while championing our causes and challenging our thinking. Diane encourages the reader to seek out those who support and encourage us, love us, and help us find our voice. Throughout the book, we learn about the effects of this type of friendship—to help us see through diverse lenses, to reflect on big ideas, and to grow in our thinking. Professional friends are essential to our development, and this heartfelt book explains why. A must-read for those who long to be in a deep, reciprocal professional relationship that puts joy and learning into our work days." —Susan Stacey, pedagogical consultant and author of Inquiry-Based Early Learning Environments: Creating, Supporting, and Collaborating and Pedagogical Documentation in Early Childhood: Sharing Children's Learning and Teacher's Thinking

About Diane Kashin

Diane Kashin was a registered early childhood educator in the province of Ontario in Canada and a former ECE professor. Diane’s doctoral thesis on emergent curriculum was published in 2008 and she more..