2 Chapter 1 become and what they should learn about their world. Such a big responsi- bility requires leadership from many people. For the children in our class- rooms, we look for teaching that is intellectually and creatively stimulating, developmentally and culturally appropriate for the children being served, and socially responsive to the needs of families and communities. Outside of the classroom, we look for curricular and organizational leadership from teachers. From directors and managers, we seek guidance and vision in staff trainings, the management of resources, the setting of goals and outcomes, and the establishment of good relationships with families and outside agen- cies. We seek political leadership in advocates who can give voice to such issues as worthy wages, clear and accessible career paths, and the impact of quality child care on our children’s futures. From our neighborhoods and communities, we hear the call for leaders in early care and education who can address the needs and realities of families, form collaborative relation- ships for social change, and recognize the essential role of families and communities in raising children successfully. Leadership through collaboration, cooperation, and communication on all our parts will improve and strengthen the whole system. Employees and advocates in the field may think of early childhood care and educa- tion (ECE) as a series of discrete environments and institutions serving children of a limited age range, but to children and families, it is one con- tinuous process that builds on previous experiences. If leadership in ECE is truly to affect our children and families in beneficial ways, we must begin to view it from their perspectives. Seeing the educational system as a single entity can increase collaboration and cooperation among family child care settings, centers, school-age care settings, preschools, and elementary schools. As a parent or a professional, you may find yourself involved in many child-related contexts throughout your life. For example, your work in com- munity collaboration as a school-age care provider may become critical when you act as an advocate in a family-services campaign. As a family child care provider, your close, collaborative efforts with families may become the key ingredient in planning family involvement at a child care center. Your firsthand experiences with children’s developmental stages in your work at a child care center may influence your parenting style at home. In all of these examples, your ability to understand the impact of LTL2_FINALpp.indd 2 11/4/09 3:21:07 PM