BLOG: Top tips on navigating information
It is fair to say the early years sector has gone through lots of changes this year, but the way the sector has coped with and reinvented itself in response to the pandemic has been inspiring. However, with the amount of new guidance being released it’s understandable that it can be overwhelming and easy to get lost in it all.
With the guidance changing so rapidly and updates being released frequently it can be hard to separate fact from opinion, interpretation, hearsay or just plain fiction. Especially in the digital world where it is easy to get entangled in social media conversation.
Our immediate reactions to something we read, see or hear are often based in emotion especially when something has made us worry or upset us, rather than more considered response which might be based more in reason or understanding. Sometimes these reactions can lead to unnecessary panic and confusion. There are things you can do to ensure you don’t get swept up in reacting.
First things first: PAUSE. Acknowledge that what you have seen, heard or read is something you need to think about and ask yourself, have I got time for this right now? Chances are the answer is no, so decide to park it and schedule in some time when you will have an opportunity to think about it properly!
When you have the time ask yourself these questions:
- Where is the information coming from?
Reliable sources of information are sometimes tricky to navigate especially if the original source of the information is not obvious. People can be quick to share their ‘reaction’ on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter which tends to have a snowball effect that can gather momentum quickly. Whilst sharing experiences and thoughts can often provide comfort, reflection and inspiration it can be unhelpful when information is misinterpreted, misrepresented, inaccurate or is not based in facts.
- Can I find the original source of the information and is it trusted and reliable?
If the original source of information is not cited then you might have to do some investigations! Search engines are great for finding information but beware they too can be tricky to navigate. The top search results often have a commercial interest so be sure to check the website hosting the information. Use the organisations such as PACEY and services that you know and trust. Websites ending in .gov or .org are good places to find reliable information.
- When was this information published?
Check the date! Once something is out there in the World Wide Web it never really goes away and you might stumble across information that is out of date or superseded by further information.
- What does it mean for me?
So you’ve found the original information, from a trusted source and it is up to date. What next? You have to determine what is relevant for you and your setting. Remember that might be different for others, so it is up to you to think about your specific circumstances. Be mindful that something you’ve read, seen or heard, on social media for example may be based on other people’s circumstances – don’t be tempted to fall into the ‘they said’ trap! Guidance that is asking for a change in practice for example should be written clearly so it can be understood and have supporting materials accessible if necessary.
- How do I respond?
Don’t panic! You will have time to implement any changes you need to and if not, there will be reliable organisations ready to help. Of course it is important that you remain up to date with quickly but there is help available.
Here at PACEY we understand how hard it is to navigate, digest and respond to information and guidance, and that’s why we have put together resources you can trust and rely on - to support you and your business.