A Message from LFC's New Executive Director, Nichole Parks...

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11 Simple Rules to Create Thriving Communities for Children

By Judy Jablon and Nichole Parks

How does a child learn kindness, empathy, and respect for others? Every individual must learn what it means to be human. And we know that early childhood is when this learning begins. We know that strong adults make strong children, and this leads to thriving communities. Humanity is not a lofty idea; it’s the heart of our daily life. It’s how we treat one another. Strengthening our humanity is fulfilling our true potential. It’s a necessity, not an option. And it’s not only for some of us, but for all of us. Humanity starts with you.


In this book, we offer a framework of 11 Simple Rules for communities to use for forging equitable partnerships for each other and for our children. Using these 11 Simple Rules will assist you in establishing a shared vision of quality relationships and interactions, environments, and learning experiences. We hope you will use it as the basis for inclusive conversations that build on the wisdom and experience within your community.


About the Authors

Judy Jablon is the founder and Executive Director at Leading for Children, providing strategic direction to execute LFC’s mission to realize shared power and a commitment to equity. She has enjoyed more than forty years in early learning as an educational consultant, facilitator, and author of books including Powerful Interactions: How to Connect with Children to Extend Their Learning, and The Five Commitments of Optimistic Leaders: A Reflective Practice Journal.


Nichole Parks is the Deputy Executive Director at Leading for Children, supporting the development and implementation of programs that promote transformational relationships. Nichole has developed place-based resources in several states and is a co-author of The Five Commitments of Optimistic Leaders: A Reflective Practice Journal.



Stories of Transformational Impact

When I started Leading for Children’s mutual learning program, I was the only home care provider in the room. As an immigrant, mother of three, and non-native English speaker, there were many barriers for me, but I have always felt welcome here. The mutual learning space always felt safe, where all members can be ourselves. Mutual learning creates space for exploratory conversations and relationship building. We broke out in smaller groups to discuss topics and brainstorm. I have learned about resources that have been helpful to families I serve. This helps to break down silos within the early learning field....
– Karina Soares
Family Child Care Provider, California
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Mutual learning with Leading for Children is a reminder that all the adults in early learning are working for that same goal, for the children. We talk about perspective-taking a lot, and that reminds me to take a breath and try to understand what the other person is thinking. If our goal is the same, I know we can get there. This is an active effort to build a community across the state. I’ve really been trying to be more aware of my impact. We talk with children about the impact of their words and actions, asking them to consider...
– Casey Sims
Teacher, Alabama
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As Executive Director of the Tallahatchie Early Learning Alliance, my role is to unite the community in supporting children to thrive. I became aware of the need for unity and shared purpose several years ago, when there was a big push for developmentally appropriate practice from the state level. There was a lot of information for people to utilize, but many didn’t have the confidence or sense of permission to make changes. Leading for Children creates space for communities to co-construct solutions. Now, we own the ability to create our own power within the community; others do not create the...
– Leigh Sargent
Executive Director, Mississippi
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