“To be competent in their role, early educators must be knowledgeable and compassionately aware of local community resources. This includes connecting with neighborhood resources and appropriately matching programs to families’ needs. These local resources include shelters, soup kitchens, rescue animal agencies, and emergency medical organizations,” writes Lisa Ann Haeseler in one of the chapters of Leading Early Childhood Organizations, part of the Art of Leadership series.
Haeseler suggests, “Consider stepping out of your usual mode of mandatory workshops and inspire staff to enjoy themselves while learning and growing with their neighborhood colleagues. This kind of enlightened professional development is neighborhood-friendly and connects community professionals dedicated to serving young children and families.”
In Haeseler’s experience, learning about and partnering with local organizations—even volunteering for or with them—can be not only helpful but energizing. She provides several strategies for identifying and connecting with local organizations. The simplest may also be the most effective: “Ask everyone you visit, ‘Who do you know who helps families with _____?’”
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