Susan MacDonald, MEd, author of Inspiring Early Childhood Leadership and Inspiring Professional Growth, shares three strategies to re-energize and refocus early childhood communities in the wake of the Pandemic.
The key focus of my work in my two books, Inspiring Early Childhood Leadership and Inspiring Professional Growth, is to share empowering and engaging strategies for creating value in early childhood learning communities. The positive strategies in my books impact how we can lead through these challenging times.
It's up to all of us to think about how we can re-energize, personally and professionally. We must ask ourselves, “How can we refocus after the stress and the challenges of this past year?” So moving forward requires all of us to be intentional in both our actions and our interactions.
I want to share just a few strategies that will guide you moving forward:
1. Have a Clear Vision
During this period of change and uncertainty, it is essential to have clarity on where the program is headed. It is important to engage everyone in your community in creating vision boards and sharing stories of this program at its very best.
Be collaborative and inclusive as you hear the stories from everyone in your environment, and then use those words and stories to create an impactful vision statement that will become that beacon that can guide you forward.
2. Establish a Growth Culture
It is vital to let every single person in the organization know that their professional growth is important to the vibrant community that you're creating.
Have your key goals in mind when you are hiring teachers, when you are orientating teachers, when you are running your staff meetings, and when you are organizing your professional days. Ask the questions, “How can we bring this vision to life? What professional development is going to have the most impact for everyone? And how do we weave this into our everyday work?”
3. Build Positive Strength-Based Relationships
If we're going to create lasting change, we need to think about how we're focusing on the strengths of every individual on every team. We need to think about how we are highlighting strengths and what is working really well. We need to ask ourselves, “How are we illuminating these positive moments that happen throughout our day, and moving away from what is wrong.” When you express gratitude daily for the beauty and the wondrous moments that you see throughout the day, that is so beautiful and impactful.
Facilitating positive change is not easy coming out of a pandemic, but we can make positive change if we focus on our vision forward and really bring in that positive energy. So I want to leave you with this quote that guides and inspires me both personally and professionally. And I think it's a really great check-in point almost daily.
This is John Gordon's quote: “Your positive energy and vision must be greater than anyone and everyone's negativity. Your certainty must be greater than everyone's doubt.” Move forward with certainty; move forward with clarity. And I wish you all the best as you find new tools and new strategies to enhance your work during this pivotal time for the early childhood field.