Updated: Apr 29
Typically ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) is a team approach to education. Any time more than one person is working on something, communication becomes key. Here are a few tips and questions for reflection to set your team up for success.
Clear is Kind, Unclear is Unkind (Brene Brown)
This is a call for clear expectations for team members. Are team members given clear expectations about their role? What about a walk-through of class time? Who is supposed to be where? Doing what? Many times we seem to believe that this will magically sort itself out. However, often, this is not the case. Feelings get hurt. Staff feel that others are not doing their job. And staff have anxiety about what their job really is!
When we are able to provide just a little time for training and teaming before the first class meets, we are able to not eliminate all opportunities for miscommunication, but we are able to lessen the opportunity, and increase the chances the team will be able to communicate effectively.
Classroom Ground Rules
Each program has ground rules. Very few programs make these explicit. Your ground rules may include: keep kids safe, help parents feel valued, make sure conversations are centered around parent’s needs and content, not staff needs or venting.
How can these unspoken “rules'' become spoken? Can you create a guidance document all staff review before classes start? How can you “flesh out” what these classroom ground rules are? Can your team help create these?
Program Vision & Mission
Yes, mission and vision statements are rarely done well. However, when they are done well, they become a rallying cry for all staff. Your mission or vision should be able to be summarized in one line that all staff can repeat easily. This mission and/or vision should help guide your work, your interactions, etc.
Example Mission & Vision Statement:
“We believe parents are a child’s first and best teacher.”
“We provide a solid foundation.”
“We are committed to providing a positive, safe and stimulating environment for children to learn, where all are valued.”
“We are committed to the families we serve, providing support and encouragement.”
“We believe all children can learn.”
This TED talk (17 minutes) by Linda Cliatt-Wayman will give you an opportunity to see this idea of mission, in this case personal mission that spread outwards to school based mission and how powerful ideas translate into changing communities. Enjoy!
Connecting to Learn's Curriculum Guide (Volume One) contains lots of examples and wisdom on how to set up your programs successfully OR how to continue to improve your program for establish programs. This content is found in the first third of the book, in a section called Building Blocks. Check out the full table of contents HERE or request your free sample pack which also includes the full table of contents HERE.
Questions for Growing:
What is one part of how your program trains new staff that can be clarified?
What are 3 of your program’s unwritten ground rules? How can they become written?
What is one process or thing your program currently does that you are proud of in regards to staff communication? (Share in the comments!)