My experience in early education has convinced me that the greatest gifts we as educators give young children are opportunities and tools to be curious, thinking, competent people who can take charge of their own lives. If we are to create the next generation of critical thinkers and leaders, education must give children a sense of their own agency. A child with sense of agency knows they can make choices and decisions and have an impact on the world around them, essential to developing a strong identity.

To accomplish this educators must model curiosity, critical thinking and a sense of their own agency. This means that each educator, regardless of her role in the early learning system, acts a leader for children.

I started Leading for Children, a new national non-profit organization, as a movement to infuse the field of early learning with optimism, leadership, and coherence, three attributes vital to ensuring success for all children and their families.

Optimism is a state of mind that leads to a sense of purpose and a path to positive outcomes. As early learning educators, we embody optimism for ourselves and the children and families we serve.

Leadership requires clarity of purpose and the ability to communicate what we are doing and why. Children deserve leaders who are intentional decision-makers. Every educator who works with young children recognizes that she or he is a leader with the power and purpose to shape children’s futures.

Coherence in early learning results from consistent and transparent decision making across all levels of a system. Coherence demands a holistic approach to collaboration that engages all players including caregivers, teachers, coaches, administrators, children and families.

Over the coming months, subscribe to read more about optimism, leadership, and coherence and join the conversation. I hope you will join the Leading for Children movement to strengthen and transform early learning systems so that every child can succeed in school and life.