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WHEN VIEWING ON A TABLET OR MOBILE -- DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM Introduction Doing the right thing for children encompasses an array of transformational actions and beliefs. When you do the right thing for children, you champion every child’s right to high-quality learning experiences. When you do the right thing for children, you believe in the inherent value of every child, regardless of background. When you do the right thing for children, you take action to ensure that high-quality, meaningful educational opportunities are provided to every child. The Root of Doing the Right Thing For most of my professional life as a leader in early childhood education, I have been guided by the discovery and expansion of my personal core values. These values are the qualities I write about in this book; I hope they resonate with you and inspire you to take them on as descriptive qualities for yourself. My career began in the late 1960s as a classroom teacher in an all-boys, ungraded primary classroom in Washington DC. The students in my care were labeled “at risk” and “economically disadvantaged.” Yet I was fascinated by the way they acted, and by the way they thought about things. Their views of the world and the way they created stories amazed me. They could give mean- ing to the most mundane occurrences, and their moral sense of right and wrong was absolute. There in that classroom, the first of my core values—human potential—took root and grew. My subsequent experiences continued to encourage the evolution of my personal core values. Today, they have become the qualities that I hold to be true not only for myself, but also for the entire field of leadership in early child- hood education. Since those early days, I have served as a center director at Tufts University Educational Day Care Center, a national policy fellow at the 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL