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Recently, I had the opportunity to partner with the director and staff at The Children’s Early Learning Space in their pursuit to continually improve the quality of care they provide to children and families. I was welcomed in by staff and met with their eagerness and openness to learn and grow in both knowledge and skills. Transformations were rapid and expansive as everyone assessed: their classrooms’ structures, schedules, and activities; their knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, perceptions, and assumptions; and their personal styles of interacting with families, children, and fellow staff. These assessments were focused through the lens of inclusion of all children and the support of each child’s self-esteem, confidence, and competence. In addition to this work was the review of program philosophies and policies, and reaffirmation of the importance of relationships, flexibility, and a strengths-based system. This program continues to shift from a child-centered focus into a family-centered focus, with the belief that strong families build strong communities and strong communities build strong families. Staff gained a deeper understanding of child behavior and developed many new strategies in supporting positive behaviors through a proactive, strengths-based approach. I am excited to see where this drive for quality will lead The Children’s Early Learning Space in the future. Thank you to Tina Grant and her amazing staff for inviting me in to be part of this growing process.

(Claire Berry is a Specialized Child Care Resource Development Specialist at the Family Center of Washington County)