Post submitted by Laura Newman, Quality Care for Children, Atlanta, GA
“Quality Care for Children, headquartered in Atlanta, recently celebrated its first anniversary delivering monthly cohort support groups. Appropriately named, Director to Director (D2D), two hour sessions provide camaraderie, carefully selected print resources with coffee, conversation and light refreshment for a balance of companionship and best practice support as facilitated by a state approved trainer.
Quality Improvement in Program Administration through Directors’ Support Cohorts (McCormick Center Research Notes Winter 2015) illustrated the benefits of proven administrative practices to industry providers based on external support for directors. When ECE directors and owners participated in cohorts, the results suggested moderate positive outcomes. Even more useful were effects that supported more specific areas like performance appraisal, internal communication, and community outreach.
This model takes into account the diverse needs of the three regions it serves across 47 Georgia counties with providers from all types of programs. For-profit, faith-based and non-profit alike, the group is open as well to half day exempt programs in search of support not otherwise readily available.
The in-depth subject matter relevant to outcomes for a quality program delivery, the resources, dialogue and mutually respectful setting have far reaching implications for desired and realized change over time. With topics such as:
- Collaboration Between Staff, Parent, Enrolled Children and the Community
- Tools for Evaluation and Review of Your Program
- Assessing Your Leadership Style
- Managing the Work-Life Balance
- Marketing Your Program
Leaders clamor for and welcome a safe environment of support and sharing. The D2D meeting place, carefully designed, provides leadership, tools, resources and a comfortable yet professional place to share needs, successes and ideas that go well beyond the initial focus of each theme for a return on invested time away from centers.
Openly voiced by participants is gratification and revelation that they no longer feel alone or isolated with the challenges it takes to manage and lead a child care program. As though the flood gates open, the directors, owners and occasional management team members discover new ways to implement change. When peers provide fresh ideas in the absence of neither judgment nor perceived competition, the beauty of such camaraderie takes full effect. This very collaboration, in conjunction with resources used in a deeper peer-to-peer support and self-reflection, serve the participant and the industry needs well.
By supporting decision makers, the confidence to make change and strengthen best practice empowers leaders for a greater sense of value, responsibility and passion to succeed. The teachers, by way of supervisors who manage and direct, sustain growth and continued achievement in a positive climate and a path towards excellence. This cohort provides the unique opportunity to establish a network of support one meeting at a time. To say that we anticipate professional growth and involvement from the top down with its ability to reach and inspire the teaching staff cannot be understated.”
Post a comment and share with your colleagues.
- SECA sponsors a Directors Seminar at the annual conference each year that is designed to promote networking and sharing. Are there other ways that we could support directors and program leaders?
- How have you developed opportunities for networking and support?
- Have you discovered another model that works?
Laura is the director of a state-wide program operating out of Quality Care for Children, the Georgia Resource and Referral Agency. She delivers the D2D state-approved training for directors and owners so they are armed with tools and resources to complement the online web platform her project, The Georgia Alliance for Quality Child Care, offers its members. The face to face training is part of a monthly series of support groups with significant topics otherwise not widely available to our audience. Laura can be contacted at Laura.Newman@qualitycareforchildren.org.
Want to Know More? Other Resources from SECA
DIMENSIONS, Fall 2010 Nurturing Early Childhood Teachers as Leaders: Long-term Professional Development
Meditation for Teacher Stress. Dimensions. Nov 2015
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