Creating the Future Every Day

The future of early childhood education emerges from our responses to the challenges of today. Early childhood educators must hold onto our values as we emerge from the COVID-19 closures. We can draw strength from each other during this uncertain time, and fully embrace our leadership role as we reimagine early childhood programs in Wyoming.

Creating the Future Every Day

"The future comes from where we are now. It materializes from the actions, values, and beliefs we're practicing now. We're creating the future every day, by what we choose to do."

- Margaret Wheatley

As I read this quote today it meant something very different to me than it did when I first encountered it almost ten years ago. During the time of COVID-19, so many things have felt like they are out of our control. We may have been blind-sided by events or decisions that have directly impacted our families and our livelihoods, leaving us feeling helpless. As new directives regarding re-opening of early childhood programs are released, we may find ourselves feeling hurried and driven to react and reopen as quickly as we can.  For many, the financial impact of closures along with the essential need for childcare in order to get family members back to work contribute to a feeling of urgency. Although the needs and challenges are real, I would encourage all of us to step back, reflect, and consider the quote above. The future for Wyoming children and families comes from where we are now. The choices we make as we re-open and scale-up childcare services are shaping the landscape of early childhood education in our future.

Early childhood educators have long advocated for greater care and intentionality in designing learning spaces for our youngest children. We know that they deserve environments where adults are emotionally available and can respond consistently to their needs in the context of safe and loving relationships. We know that young children deserve thoughtfully planned spaces and materials that they can freely explore and work out their ideas on their own and with others. We know that young children deserve unhurried time and space to grow and thrive. As we re-open and scale-up early care and education programs in Wyoming, it is essential that we take the time for careful planning so that young children remain at the center of our work. Shortcuts in the name of expediency will never get us where we want to be. Now more than ever we must commit to creating healing spaces. Now more than ever we must embrace families as learning partners, not just guests in our programs. Now more than ever we must care for early childhood educators so that they can continue to do this essential work.  Now more than ever we must recognize that the expertise to do this work lies within us.

Now is the time to reimagine a brighter future for children and families in Wyoming. Our choices matter now more than ever. How are you holding fast to your core beliefs as you re-open or scale-up your program? Share your story at https://www.facebook.com/wyecplc/.  What opportunities are you offering young children to make sense of the experiences they have had during this unprecidented time? Share your ideas and celebrations using the hashtag #wylearntogether Do you need ideas for reopening? Check out our resources here. http://wyecplc.org/index.php/portfolio. There is so much work ahead, and the landscape continues to change.  Let's be sure that as we respond we hold fast to what we know. And let's help each other create the future we want for Wyoming children and families.

Nikki Baldwin

University of Wyoming

Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative

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