Tuesday, September 18, 2012


There is no such thing as a baby.
There is a baby and there is someone.
-D. Winnicott

I read a lot.  I've always been that kid, reading everything I could get my hands on.  I read the cereal box like it was the morning paper every day.  When my mom used the Tupperware containers, I started to bring reading materials to the table.  I have a mountain of books next to my bed as the bookshelves in our home are full.  In the years since my 2-hour leisurely breakfasts, I continue to read but my choices have shifted from Babysitters Club (OMG Stacey was my favorite) and Boxcar Children to professional development books.  But let's be serious for a moment, bookworms cannot live on non-fiction alone.  I love me some Jodi Picoult, Emily Giffin, and Jen Lancaster.  When you're reading the last chapters as slowly as possible because you're already mourning the end of the book, it's a sign you're perhaps a little too invested in the plot and characters.

I'm invested in the plot and characters at my center.  My teachers and I are writing a very significant chapter in the lives of the children and families we serve.  Each time we walk into the center, we are making (conscious or not) a decision to serve.  To inspire.  To teach.  We work with children but we are also supporting their families as well; it's an important connection when a parent realizes her son is a person, complete with feelings and emotions.

It's important to remember that children are people and just like adults, they each bring a unique array of previous experiences and preferences into the classroom.  That's the beauty of our work; we are teachers and learners in our interactions with children and families.  There's something new to be learned each day and not all of our learning comes from books.

What did you learn today?

People keep telling me I am so cute they could just eat me right up. Is it me or is that unsettlingly cannibalistic?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Don't stifle ... nudge!

I have a great team; probably one of the best in our agency (though at this point, I'm also kind of bias).  When a Lead Preschool Teacher position opened at one of our other sites, I didn't have to think twice about speaking with one of my Assistant Teachers about interviewing for the position.  My supervisor said, "Why don't you think about it over the weekend and let me know."  Weird, I thought.  Then she added, "I don't want to break apart what you've been building."

I wasn't going to need the weekend.  When there's a possibility that a teacher (any early childhood professional really) can grow, why wouldn't I want to share that rich experience with her?!  Because it means my coverage is going to get a bit wonky until I can hire a new team member?  I worry that people are being pigeon-holed in positions because their supervisors don't want to let them move forward because of comfort and desire to maintain the status quo.  I think it would be incredibly selfish and unprofessional of me to keep such an opportunity from someone who is ready & willing to step up to a challenge.

I've long believed that professional development and overall growth sometimes requires a gentle nudge; I'm not sure if this teacher would have sought out the position on her own and I'm not certain it wouldn't have been because she was worried about hurting feelings or rocking the boat.  That's not the message I want to send to my team.  If your goal is to be a Lead Preschool Teacher, I'd really like to help you find the resources you need to meet that goal.  We all need to grow.  Without a goal, there's little joy in teaching and early childhood is a field in which people burn out quickly because they have spirit and energy and it's under appreciated.

So let's celebrate those who have made the decision not only to stay in early childhood education, but also to move forward, to champion for the education of our youngest learners.

I'd like to think I'm growing the next generation of early childhood warriors.