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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET THE ROLE OF THE EDUCATION LEADER Facilitate Involvement in the Field of Early Childhood Education Teachers who are supported do not feel isolated. They realize they are part of a professional movement. They have opportunities to participate in formal events such as conferences, where they can meet colleagues from other organizations. They also have a system in their own center or school to share ideas or expertise. This may happen in a book club, reading the same book about infant activities and sharing ideas informally. Or it may be an official study group, meeting once a month for a year to explore a topic. Teachers know their work is a part of an effort that is larger than themselves; they feel a part of the effort. • • • I hope you find these descriptions encouraging. They describe a positive en- vironment where people work hard and feel good about it. When evaluation and support go hand in hand, the teachers and the climate of your setting will benefit. Most importantly, the children will benefit. I visit and observe many centers, programs, and schools. I can tell how things are going from what I see and hear in the hallways. When teachers treat children harshly, I know that the teachers are not getting good evaluation and support. I can also tell the kind of direction and support teachers are getting when I look at the test scores. Low student achievement is always coupled with low adult direction, and low morale. The opposite is true. When children are doing well, there is a parallel sense of success for teachers. They know their value. They are confident in their abilities. Teachers cannot do their complicated work alone. They should be able to count on their leaders to support their professional growth with care, empathy, and a solid sense of direction. Jon, Principal Jon was observing Ms. Ana’s reading group. She was reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears. As she began the story, four-year-old Mason started to whimper. Ms. Ana asked him to stop crying so the children could hear the story. Mason continued to whimper. She told him to go to the time-out chair to calm down. On his way there, Mason kicked the puzzle table and all the pieces went flying. Irritated, Ms. Ana helped him sit in the time-out chair, went back to the group, and closed the book saying, “I will not read today, too much disruption.” Jon was less concerned about Ms. Ana’s specific behavior with Mason than about her beliefs about reading to children. Early literacy is a major objective of the school. He had seen Ms. Ana stop her readings other times, and he was concerned that the children were missing educational cont’d COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 17