I was a Center Director for 9 1/2 years. I was lucky to lead the Center that my children attended and which had a very strong philosophy and belief system about how to best help children develop self-regulation. The Center was a cooperative so that parents/families were an integral part of the management of the Center and they participated as assistant teachers in the classroom.
Before hiring any Director, including an experienced one, reading about the development of children during the early childhood years should be your first job. You should ensure that you know the characteristics of a child's development and learning in all developmental areas at various ages - 2, 3, 4, etc. Next, I would explore the various approaches to early childhood development and learning. Each has a specific philosophy and description of what everyday life in the classroom would look like and how children are viewed as human beings and learners. Take, for example, the Reggio approach that was developed in Reggio Emilia, Italy after WW2. It has a set of principles that guide how you think about children's development and learning.
When interviewing for a Director and teaching staff to work in your center, you must develop interview questions that unearth prospective candidates beliefs about children and learning and how they believe young children learn.
It was suggested that you discuss with staff and parents what their expectations are for their children and design a program around that - choose a curriculum based on that. I would suggest instead that you meet with prospective parents and ask them what their hopes and dreams are for their children. You, also, need to convey to them your philosophy about teaching and learning and how the best practices for helping children grow into healthy adults who can succeed in life. The curriculum you choose should combine what you have learned is best for young children as well as the hopes and dreams of the families interested in your program.
The best source for all of the above is NAEYC. I would suggest bringing your entire staff, if possible, to the conference in Nashville where you will be exposed to all the knowledge that will help you plan a great center. In addition, the exhibit hall has everything you need to put together that center.
Planning and doing all of this in advance of opening your Center, will hopefully ensure a smooth opening of a high-quality Center. Good luck.
Nora Krieger, PhD
Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
Highland Park, NJ
Sent: 08-08-2019 09:27 AM
From: Robert Gundling
As a former Center Director, I would suggest leading conversations with your staff and families as to what are their expectations for the kind of environment they want their children to experience each day to support their growth, development and acquisition of the knowledge, skills and ability to succeed in school in life. With this information, I found it was possible to then explore the variety of early childhood education curricula available today. I suggest focusing on curricula grounded in current research and effective practices in ECE, connect to Early Learning Standards, preferably those developed by your state, the Common Core Standards and NAEYC Accreditation Standards and assessment criteria.
A great place to learn about curricula is at the NAEYC Annual Conference. Most of the companies that have a curriculum that meets the points I offered are at the conference market place.
Good luck with your search for an experienced Director and the selection of a curriculum that benefits the children, families and staff associated with your program.
Robert Gundling, Ed.D.
Better Futures LLC
Sent: 08-08-2019 08:47 AM
From: Lyvonn Reese
I am very new to this organization. My goal is to research the best child development curriculum for my area. My plan is to hire an experienced director ASAP. The two of us open much needed child development centers.
Is this a good place for me to begin my search and education in order to get started.
Sent from my iPhone