It really is the small things that make the difference. Tiny little touches set apart the ho-hum “just fine” ECE settings from the really special heart filled ones. There may be big differences in size and dollars spent across the sector, but the no price tag items are the things that speak volumes.
The heart centred team
Greetings are invaluable. Eye contact and a warm smile take seconds and cost nothing, but make the world of difference to how welcome someone feels. Children, families, visitors and team members all need this, regardless of how busy we feel.
Heart centred teams are responsive and flexible. They don’t adhere to set roles and schedules more than they adhere to emotional wellbeing. They are not clock watchers, or bare minimum-ers. They do what needs doing, staying with an upset child, or doing a bit more to help out when they can. Breaks are important, but when ‘getting out’ becomes the absolute priority, it shows. It affects the feel of a place. Heart can ooze through the foundations, or our own need for our ‘entitlements’ can.
The price of kindness
Kindness is worth its weight in gold, and yet it costs nothing. Everyone we encounter in our setting needs a kind response. Someone who speaks kindly to children leaves an impression. Parents who face judgement outside your four walls need our place to be a reprieve. Kindness, understanding and openness mean more to them than any of the ‘surface’ good stuff like fancy buildings, flash qualifications and expensive resources.
The feel of the place
The physical environment is important but it is the feel of a place that makes it special. This feel is a mix of the seen and the unseen little touches. Never underestimate the big impact of the small things, especially when they are all added up to be your setting’s own magic combination.
The key really is in just doing that little bit extra, showing a little bit more care.
If we do these things consciously at first, they become a part of what we do and how we are. There becomes no other way except for to put our whole hearts in.