Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
Seneca the Younger
For more than forty years, I have immersed myself in the field of early childhood education! I have been a teacher (infant, toddler, preschool and kindergarten); a director of four early childhood programs, and then a consultant (my own business) to numerous other directors, owners, and programs throughout Massachusetts. I also took advantage of many other early childhood volunteer opportunities that complemented my fulltime career. And I learned a lot. I am passionate about the field of early education and care—quality early education and care—and I have spent my life advocating for the youngest among us.
Working with other directors of early childhood programs (after I had already been a director for 30 years) was, I thought, the ending of my long (and satisfying) career. I would share all I had learned with these colleagues, work with their leadership teams, and even do quite a lot of training. After all, I had lived their life! I knew the joys and satisfactions. I knew the problems and pitfalls. And I also knew the solutions and strategies to successfully work through them. My consulting work with directors gave them a roadmap to follow—to help them create a vision for their programs; to build, grow and develop their teams; to work effectively with parents; to set the stage for the children; to make changes when they were needed; to think strategically when necessary and execute those plans.
The last childcare center I opened was in Boston at John Hancock—for their employees’ children. I was the Director for twenty years. While there, I listened and learned from my business colleagues and was able to use several of their business strategies in my own department—the childcare center. And I shared these with other directors in my consulting work.
Many directors asked along the way when I would be writing a book—with all of this “stuff” in it. I smiled, but did some serious thinking about the possibility. The timing was right.
So, ending my consulting business after eight years, I retreated to my new “writing cottage,” to begin to write my early childhood leadership book. I completed my manuscript, sent it to a publishing company, and they accepted it! The writing of my book took about nine months to complete. And my work with the publisher has taken about nine months as well.
Beginning to End
The Life Cycle of a Child Care Center
The Lessons Learned
A Director’s Story
is the soon-to-be-released book that I have written. This is the book I needed when I accepted the director position of my first childcare center. I could have used a how-to book that was clearly written with details and specifics, guidance, and know-how—to help me be my best as director and leader. This is that book! It is filled with hands-on, real life experiences, and expertise. What I have learned along the way, I pass on to you—the next generation of early childhood professionals.
Throughout the pages of this book, I hope to assist, guide, support, motivate, and inspire you. I want you to succeed! This is the mission.
If you are a new director, starting your first child care center; or, if you are a new director, walking into an already established program; or, if you’re already a director, but looking for guidance; or, if you are a teacher aspiring to hold a leadership position in the future, this book is filled with information, technique, strategy, and yes, a roadmap to navigate the life cycle of a childcare center! I have already tested everything in this book—many times over. I have put in the time for you. Take the ideas—they work! Make them your own. If you can learn from my successes and mistakes, this book will have succeeded.
To you, my early childhood colleagues, thank you for the work you do. Teaching and caring for young children is an honorable profession. It is also an awesome responsibility; a humbling experience; life-changing work. And, it demands the best we have to give.
What I have learned during my career as early childhood teacher, supervisor, director, and leader, I am pleased to share with you.
I wish you much success on your early childhood journey!
I was a summer temp worker in both the two’s classrooms (I think it was 2006?)…filling-in for the teachers’ vacations. I was just bragging about the John Hancock Childcare Center to my colleague, as I now am a behavior analyst for preschool special education in southeastern Pennsylvania. I conduct FBAs and write initial IEP goals for children with behavioral needs in parent-provided, private childcare centers and preschools. I was bragging about how J.H.C.C. had two outdoor playgrounds and one indoor playground! As we conduct our evaluations through these unusually frigid and snowy winter months here in southeastern PA, I have noticed the daycares do not provide outdoor play when it is below 32 degrees, and some have not bothered to “shovel” off the playground and therefore are not allowing the children outside to play, even when it is 32+. It is such a “setting event” for challenging behavior! I googled JHCC and saw your blog saying it was closed. This is so sad, but I look forward to finding your new book!
Thanks so much for the update! We all had fun in Boston! We learned from one another, we shared, we grew in the field, and, we each carried some part of our experience forward. We will always be part of the JHCCC family! So very nice to hear from you, Joanna! Keep in touch!
I was excited to find your blog, and I’ll definitely look for your new book. I’d like to reconnect with you, as we met in 1988 when I was the Cornerstone Childcare director on Cape Cod, and you were a director and mentor who helped me tremendously. I’m now an early childhood special educator in Vermont with a passion for nature-based and forest preschool. This year, our students stayed outdoors nearly full time, including napping in hammocks in the forest! Please email me, if you can.
Will do Michelle!
So nice to reconnect with you!