As we approach not only the end of the year, but also the end of this decade (wow!), it is a great time to reflect on the idea of leadership in education. It is important to think about both our own role as leaders, but also how we are instilling leadership skills in the children with whom we work.
Spend some time thinking about these questions:
- How have I grown as a leader over the past year/10 years?
- What can I do to improve my leadership skills over the next year/10 years?
- Where do I see myself as a leader in the field of ECE in the next year/10 years?
- How successful have I been in introducing leadership skills to children over the past year/10 years?
- How can I enhance my teaching of leadership skills to children in the next year/10 years?
You could also pick a child that you currently teach and image that child 10 years from now. What leadership skills will the child need to be successful? What can you do today to facilitate that child’s success as a leader?
Keep in mind, leadership is not necessarily tied to your role or title. Three year olds can be leaders, classroom assistant can be leaders. It’s not about the job title, it’s about the skills you possess that help you collaborate successfully with your peers. Here is a short list of a few of these important skills:
- Communication skills –not only the ability to clearly express your thoughts and feedback, but also the ability to listen and comprehend the needs of others.
- Collaboration – this includes the ability to work as a team, share responsibilities, and hold yourself and others accountable.
- Adaptability – this refers to your ability to respond effectively to the ever-changing conditions of projects and the needs of teammates.
- Empathy – a skills that allows you to build trusting relationships that can inspire and motivate others.
- Growth mindset – the ability to recognize, celebrate, and build upon the efforts of others, not just their successes.
- Creativity –outside-the-box thinking that generates solutions to problems and new ideas.
- Self-reflection – the mindful practice of reviewing your thoughts and actions to identify opportunities for growth.
As you move into the new year and the next decade, make an intentional effort to incorporate more of these practices into your professional work and into your work with young children. By modeling these skills to children, you will provide them with valuable opportunities to build their own essential leadership skills.