“…If we want our children to be resilient and optimistic, we need to model it.”— Mary Beth Hewitt

What does it mean to be an Optimistic Leader?

Leading for Children supports adults across the early childhood ecosystem in the process of becoming Optimistic Leaders. As an Optimistic Leader, you’re hopeful and willing to find a path forward. You recognize how you affect those around you and have the grit to persevere even when the going gets tough.

Imagine an environment of nurturing relationships, where every adult in children’s lives owns a clear sense of purpose, has a strong voice, and listens and learns from diverse perspectives. These adults are intentional decision makers who collaborate with others to make good things happen.

Building Optimistic Leadership Skills: The Five Commitments

From our experience as leaders and our extensive research about leadership, LFC has developed Five Commitments of Optimistic Leaders, which represent the essential skills of effective leadership. We describe these skills as commitments because intentionality is not something we master — it’s something we practice.

Each commitment is a set of skills you can practice with intention to feel more satisfied and be more effective in your personal and professional life.

Five Commitments




Why do we need Optimistic Leaders for Children?

We know that young children thrive in an environment of trusting relationships with the adults who care for and educate them. By following the Five Commitments, the adults in young children’s lives model equitable relationships and exercise intentionality in their decision making.Optimistic Leadership serves as a powerful counter to systemic racism and inequities. All adults — regardless of skin color, educational background, or socioeconomic status — can practice the Five Commitments and be models of leadership for children. In the process, adults model behaviors that help children develop their own sense of agency, a deep belief in their power to make things happen.

When we surround children with such exemplary models of leadership, their early learning experiences set them on a path to be the next generation of leaders.