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DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Strategy Put images and words together We have offered you a vision of early childhood programs as learn- ing communities that can serve as the cornerstone for larger social change. Take some time now to gather your own thoughts and reac- tions to this idea. If your program was to move closer to this vision, how might this look in your particular setting? Remember the words of Sylvia Ashton-Warner: “Dreams are a living picture in the mind generating energy” (1972, 87). Try to imagine the feel, the look, the sound, and even the smell of such a place. What words would you use to describe this picture? Jot down some phrases that describe how the environment would in- fluence the interactions and activities of children, staff, and families. Now look over your list. Do any of your words match your image of a school? Are they similar to any elements in your current program? Go through the list again. Can you identify three things you could do, with negligible impact on your budget, that would re- flect some of the elements you pictured? Perhaps your list would look something like this director’s list: • soft music and seating in our entryway—set up tape player and wicker love seat by sign-in table • chocolate-chip cookies baking—have potpourri or scented candle for interim • small groups of parents talking about weekend plans together • monthly toy and clothing exchange for families • community garden in a section of our play yard • hosting ESL and citizenship classes for the community— call Refugee Alliance to discuss and offer space Strategy Develop a vision statement together After you have spent time with some of the previous strategies, you will be ready to create a public declaration of the vision you are trying to build. When the ground has been adequately tilled and fertilized with activities such as those previously discussed, invite people to col- laborate on writing a vision statement. With help from the accumula- tion of notes from your childhood-memory sessions and input from staff, parents, and children about their values and what’s important to 38   The Visionary Director COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL