Early Ed Leadership & Innovation

We train frontline early educators and child care business owners in entrepreneurial leadership, and research ways to support them at scale

April 11, 2022
by IEELI
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Harnessing creativity

Kelly Cavallini has been working in family child care for 29 years and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She briefly worked as a center director for a large chain but found that she missed the more intimate work with children and families that running a family childcare allowed her to do. 

But when Cavallini enrolled in Leading for Change, the 14-week professional development program offered through the Massachusetts StrongStart Professional Development Centers, she realized there was an important aspect missing from her work in family child care: co-workers. 

Because family child care owners often work on their own they “don’t have anyone validating” what they’re doing, said Cavallini, who works out of her home in Springfield. “You’re skipping around the house and your little ducklings are following you, and we are doing amazing work but on one sees it!” 

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April 11, 2022
by IEELI
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Building an anti-stress toolkit for families

After 39 years as an ECE provider, you’d think Marcia Gadson-Harris would have little desire—or need—for more professional development training. And yet, last October she completed Leading for Change, the 14-week professional development program offered through the Massachusetts StrongStart Professional Development Centers that trains program administrators, educators, and family child care providers on how to lead for change and quality improvement in their practice, program, or in the field. 

The Vision Board Marcia Gadson-Harris created during Leading for Change.

For Gadson-Harris, the question of whether she would participate in the training was never in doubt. “I’m an avid learner,” she says. “I take lots and lots of training and there’s no such thing as too much training. You can never stop learning. That’s what life is all about.” 

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February 25, 2022
by IEELI
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New Study Finds That Early Educators Trained in Leading for Change Develop Entrepreneurial Mindset and Lead for Change in the Workplace

A study published in the International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy found that early educators who participated in a relational-entrepreneurial leadership development program were likely to lead for change in curriculum improvement, family engagement, and relationship building after completing their training. It is one of the first empirical studies to examine whether relational-entrepreneurial leadership development training increases early educators’ capacity to lead for change and it contributes new knowledge to the emerging literature on early educator leadership development. Findings from the study, which was designed and authored by researchers at the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation at UMass Boston, are relevant to current debate among early educators, parents, and policymakers about how to make affordable, high quality early care and education accessible to all families. Continue Reading →
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