4 The Visionary Director
involve yourself with people and efforts working on behalf of social
change, inside and outside the early childhood profession. some of
the most promising efforts in the profession have come when direc-
tors begin linking up with others for support and action.
The Director on Fire
It’s not uncommon to hear the words program director and burnout in
the same breath. Our goal in writing this book is to help you avoid
burnout by setting your heart on fire. We’ve come with kindling that
has proven reliable. You can fan the flames with the beating of your
own heart. On these pages you will find the spark of a guiding vision
for directors of early childhood programs. We have seen what a dif-
ference it makes when directors give attention to shaping an orga-
nizational culture of collaboration and excitement. rather than just
running a program, this kind of director is creating a learning com-
munity and spurring others into activism on behalf of social change
in the world. You will hear the voices of directors like this throughout
Over the past ten years we have encountered an expanding num-
ber of directors who have worked with a fierce fire in their hearts and
sparked big dreams among the teachers, children, and families with
whom they work. Those who have created lasting results have started
by forming a strong organizational system to underpin their dreams.
We’ve seen those who haven’t taken this step lose heart, lose their
valued staff, and ultimately lose even their own health and well-being
trying to single-handedly keep their program on course with their
vision. With this as a backdrop, our revisions in this edition of The
Visionary Director include a stronger emphasis on creating organiza-
tional structures and systems to support your vision.
The prevailing approach to quality enhancement suggests that
requiring more standards, documentation, and training will improve
outcomes for children. Apart from the salary issue, what about the
foundational elements of a structure that provides more time and
space for teachers to plan, organize, think, meet, and talk about the
complex tasks of caring for and educating groups of young children?
Our experience suggests that organizational budgets and infrastruc-
tures contain the elements that indicate program quality. In this
edition we offer ideas for organizational structures to orient new
teachers to the program philosophy, pedagogy, routines, and culture.