Because 90% of brain growth happens before kindergarten, it is crucial that young children live and play in a happy, healthy, and safe environment. Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs and their staff not only provide a caring place to learn, they also play a vital role in the emotional development of the children who attend.
ECE facilities must look at their environment in three ways:
1 – Safety & Compliance: It must be safe and compliant for the health and safety of the children and employees. This includes everything from infrastructure to environmental to maintenance and security and more.
2 – Emotional Needs: Not only should the facility be safe and compliant, but the children should also feel safe and loved by staff who are caring, dedicated, educated and empowered.
3 – Management Focus: The alignment and productivity of management sets the tone for the entire organization. A management team in disarray has a program in disarray.
Each of these factors can be approached separately; yet, in reality, they intertwine and are not at all mutually exclusive. An aligned and productive management team that is empowered to make decisions can best serve the staff and the children and families they care for. The condition of the facility can have a significant impact on the ability for the children to learn and to feel at ease in their environment as well as the staff to perform their duties, whether a minor matter like a dripping faucet to major safety hazards or compliance issues.
Each of the three pillars of an ECE facility can be seen like a three-legged stool—when one leg is compromised (or gone entirely) the stool cannot stand. An integrated, careful approach to assessing what is working as well as what isn’t working in each of these areas ensures a successful program with happy, thriving children and employees.