Our values and beliefs define who we are, what is important and worthwhile to us.
- Our core values cut across all aspects of our lives. They serve as a moral compass for all the decisions we make.
- Being crystal clear about the beliefs and values that shape our identity is central for leaders in any setting.
- Our values shape how we view the world, how we interpret the actions and motives of the people we interact with, and the very things that guide the choices that we make.
As an early childhood director, your values guide what you value in your staff.
- For example, if you value cooperation you probably encourage staff to to share resources and work on assignments together.
- If you value independence, you may structure assignments to promote autonomy and personal achievement instead of team effort.
- If you value creativity, you may be more tolerant of the mess that often accompanies inspiration & imagination.
- If you value neatness, you probably praise staff for tidy, organized rooms.
Let’s look at what kinds of things influence our values or help us figure out what they are.
- Deeply held & enduring view of what we believe is important or worthwhile
- Define how we treat others
- Define how we spend our time
- Define who we are as individuals
- Give life to our convictions
- Are shaped by life experiences, culture, society, education, religious beliefs, etc.
- Provide a lens through which we interpret the world
Your job as the leader at your program is to help your staff clarify shared values that define excellence and success for your program. This is an on-going process that takes place over months, even years. Every time you lose or add a new staff member you must wrestle with the fundamental questions that define your program.
If you look at the most successful companies in America, you’ll note that they are built on a clear and shared understanding of the company’s core values.
The values you establish with your staff can create magical moments just as powerful for the children and families you serve as they are for you and your staff.
So, how will you decide what core values your program will emulate? Focusing on personal values about children and families and the educational outcomes of your center is a powerful way to stimulate the broader discussion about other organizational values. Here are some questions that will help you.
What do we stand for?
What behaviors provide concrete evidence of our shared values?
How do we treat the children in our care?
How do we treat parents?
How do we interact as a group of adults working side by side every day?
How do we define success in our program?
How do we want to be seen by our community?