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Teachers as Leaders and Activists

by Margie Carter
January/February 2013
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/teachers-as-leaders-and-activists/5020937/

I recently heard Julie Olsen Edwards describe good leadership in the early childhood field as consisting of compassion, critical thinking, and courage. She described how great we are at the compassion part, but lamented that we haven’t developed more in the critical thinking and courage arenas. She gave a provocative example of the absence of the critical thinking component when people come into the ECE field wanting to just focus on helping kids and not wanting to deal with the larger world. “But if you care about children,” Julie says, “you have to care about their families. And caring about families means you have to care about the conditions in which they live, the context which shapes their lives and parenting.”

Following this line of thinking suggests that early childhood leaders must see themselves as activists, which Julie Olsen Edwards proudly does. In my early years in the ECE field, many of us saw ourselves that way: eager to make the wider world a better place through our work with children. Now you hear more people in the field embracing the identity of professional than of activist. While I certainly promote the idea of early childhood education as a profession and ...

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