Beyond the Book—Taking Time to Reflect

Design for Early Childhood Education

Last year, my early childhood leadership book launched—it is available online, in bookstores, and as an e-book. 

Its purpose was to pull together what I learned during my 40+ year career—as teacher, education director, and consultant to other directors of education programs—and to share with my colleagues around the world what we directors of programs must know and do to become effective leaders in our field. This book is written in story form—it is both a how-to and memoir. It covers every age and stage of building an early childhood program, from creating your vision (what do you want your program to be), to:

  • hiring and training your teaching team
  • working effectively with parents
  • designing the environments for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers
  • putting all of the necessary organizational pieces together seamlessly
  • handling misunderstandings and misfires, and learning how to diffuse and then repair difficult situations
  • using strategic planning when there is an organizational problem and, finally,
  • adding new and innovative programs that fit with your philosophy to raise the bar and to challenge your team when they are ready. 

And, in all of this, to succeed in your role beyond your wildest dreams! 

Since I have used everything in this book many, many times, I can tell you that these strategies, tips, ideas work—and work well!

So, what exactly, then, is Beyond the Book …

When I began gathering my notes for the manuscript outline, I realized that I had too much information to share. And so, in Beginning to End I wrote as much as I did, and decided to share, in this blog, more of the details that didn’t get into the book.

In 2022, I’m going to continue to do just that. Every other month I’ll add a little bit more—beyond the book. 

These posts will build on what I have already written and hopefully assist, encourage, motivate, and inspire you to keep growing professionally!

For this January post (which is ordinarily the month for putting into practice something new and helpful), here are some questions to reflect upon that will get you thinking about your own performance with the adults in your program. 

I’m a big believer in writing down my thoughts, and in reading them again and again—so, if you’re a journaler as well, this will get you going. If you have not yet begun the practice of journaling, perhaps this is the year to start:

  • Am I creating a collaborative relationship of warmth, respect, and trust with the adults in my classroom?
  • Do I plan for my day-to-day exchanges with my colleagues and parents? Or, is my communication with them haphazard? Does my communication (both listening and speaking) produce intended results, or repeated misunderstandings? What strategies could I work on as I build relationships?
  • Would I find it helpful to write what happened during the more difficult conversations—what was spoken, what was perhaps not spoken, and how I felt? Could I learn something—for the next time?
  • How well do I handle concerns and/or complaints? What could I do differently (better)?
  • Am I an active listener?
  • Am I a reflective teacher/director? If not, what is preventing me from being one?
  • Do I honor professionalism? Strive for excellence? Practice forgiveness? Bring out strengths?
  • Do I go the extra mile?
  • Do I bring my best to work?
  • Do I let others know how well they are doing?
  • Do I bring out the best in others?
  • Do I tend to look for the best—in people? in situations?

Now, find a quiet place for the next 20 minutes—breathe deeply and write!!

If you would like me to address a specific topic from Beginning to End in more detail, just send me an email. This book is meant to be a catalyst for sharing with those who have chosen the leadership path—but I believe it has appeal and merit for early childhood professionals at every level.

Stay tuned …

Here’s the link to the book: Beginning to End: The Life Cycle of a Child Care Center—A Director’s Story, available on

This entry was posted in Early Childhood, Early Childhood Leadership, Early Childhood Teachers, Managing Early Childhood Programs, Performance Management Skills, Quality Early Education and Care, Training for Early Childhood Directors, Training for Early Childhood Professionals. Bookmark the permalink.

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