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Being a Leader in Early Care and Education: Don’t Just Talk About It. Be About It!

By Toni Walters, Director, Connect Child Care & Resource Referral

One major characteristic about those of us in the early care and education field is that we love to talk. We love to talk to children. We love to talk to families. We love to talk to our co-workers. We just love to talk, and we can talk about almost any subject. As care givers, we have also learned to be great listeners. We listen to others concerns. We listen to their stories. We listen to their joys, and we listen to their concerns.

But what happens after we’ve listened and talked, and then talked some more? Often times we move on to the next topic. We move on to the next conversations as if everything is solved since we talked it out. Sometimes, we shrug our shoulders and decide we can’t change what we were talking about or have an impact. We put our needs aside and move on to helping others because that’s what we do: we care for others.

What would happen, though, if we stopped talking about what could be or should be and started to be about it?

Are we spending time talking about how child care isn’t viewed as a profession even though we spend hours in trainings, or are we taking action and showing others how we are professionals? Are we teaching others the importance of quality child care in our society, including dressing and acting in a professional manner?

Are we talking about how we would like to have more family involvement and how some of them don’t seem to care, or are we inviting our families into our homes and classrooms? Are we taking time to involve them in their child’s learning and giving families options for ways they can be involved that will work with their life situations and schedules?

Are we just discussing how important child development is and how children need more, or are we attending trainings to gain knowledge about development and appropriate practice? Are we reading current information about child development to better our teaching strategies? Are we designing our daily plans and lessons around the individual children in our care?

Talking is a great way to start change, but to be a leader, you have to be those words. You have to be the one to step up and take action for children and families. You have to be the one that shows others how. You have to be the change you talk about.

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