"Teach me the art of small steps". These words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery are the key to how our own settings developed from small beginnings to a thriving community with its own unique character. What really stands out to others is not just what we do, but how consistently we do it.
Step by step
Our practices in our philosophy, sustainability, kindness and heart centred teaching are truly embedded in what we do. We have a strength of character - a recognisable sense of 'ah, yes, this is us'. We may have many components but at the same time we are whole. We make sense.
"How do you do it", we are often asked, and really our 'secret' is in our pace - our small steps.
Step by step, project by project we have developed, not just completing a project, but ensuring it is entrenched in our practice before moving on. And with project we mean concepts, ideas, experiences.
A work in progress
We work on our environment, our programme and ourselves. One is no more important than the other as every element needs its own time and focus.
Each development is less about what we 'do' and more about who we 'are'.
This seems a small distinction but it is not. It's crucial to why we stand out. We are not seeing how fast we can go but how deeply we can cement our practice and how we can live out our values in everything we do.
Our core values as heart-centred teachers - love, care, beauty and kindness, are exactly that - our core. They act as a beacon to guide us, and something we feel compelled to stay true to.
All our learning and experiences are measured against these values. This is how we stay whole, we stay true and we stay us.
This measuring isn't always done consciously either. Just like our practices, these values are so deeply embedded that our thinking is affected by them whether we realise it or not.
The power of this core is because these values weren't plucked out of thin air. We spent a long time looking at what we did, why, and what we most wanted for our children. We kept narrowing down until we got to the very heart of our practice.
A sparkling team
We have been very blessed to have a stable team at our settings, something rare in the ECE sector. This is not a happy accident, but down to the fact that we get the right people on board from the start - passionate, kind people who believe in what we are doing and are a part of it.
We are all infused into this beautiful place. In fact, it is as much a part of us as we are of it, and maybe this is another 'secret' to our success!
(This article was adapted from a previously published blog post 'Who we are is more important than what we do')