In a groundbreaking approach to creating a more equitable system to ensure all children thrive, the team of early childhood experts at Leading for Children identify five core commitments for everyone within the early childhood ecosystem: think impact, cultivate self-awareness, nurture relationships, refine communication, and activate curiosity. We know that children learn by modeling the behavior of adults around them and when the adults embrace these five commitments, they can foster equitable relationships that set positive examples for children. This guidebook to the five commitments offers self-reflection exercises and real-world examples to help early childhood professionals create an environment of nurturing relationships. As you move through this reflective practice journal, you will be introduced to each of the five commitments and invited to explore how you might see them expressed through your personal identity, your interpersonal relationships, and your group interactions. As a result, we hope you will learn to challenge your biases, develop antiracist practices, and exercise intentionality in your work relationships. In doing so, you will be cultivating yourself as an Optimistic Leader for children, helping to create an equitable, healthy, collaborative, and constructive climate for children’s learning and development.
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.
Laura Ensler is the Founder of FirstStepNYC and the NYC Early Childhood Leadership Initiative.