I am sitting at my desk at 7:33pm the night before a dream of mine comes true.
It's quiet here now.
Gone the background noises of the daytime - the chatter of voices, the cries of hungry or sad babies, the heated arguments of toddlers, the soothing singing of teachers, the crunch of leaves as children run through them, the laughter, the cheers, the stern voice of teachers reminding children, the smells of baking and lunches being heated, the greetings of families arriving and leaving. I can tune it all out when I am working at my desk but now, in the quiet, I miss it.
I miss them.
I am particularly contemplative tonight as tomorrow is a BIG day.
There is a lot on the line for me both personally and professionally.
I was reminded in a good discussion with colleagues last night that our work needs to align with our passion and "heart" - the leadership guru's (such as my husband :)) call this "core" vs "chore". We need our work to be as much "core" as possible for this part of our lives to be meaningful.
In this regard I am beyond blessed.
I am more committed to "childhood" now that I ever was. I am determined to offer children and families the very best childhood experiences in our care. To move far beyond the status quo and be bold, take risks, nurture curiosity, follow children's ideas, provoke their thinking, protect their time and space......to nurture our staff in the very same way.
Our new Vision Statement is "Changing the world by honouring childhood".
And we are on our way.......the journey is several years old but the last 12 months have seen rapid and sustaining change that started with a study tour at Hilltop Children's Centres in Seattle with Senior Staff. This was further reinforced for me by a challenging and transformative few days in London Ontario at a Leadership Institute.
And tomorrow 4 Hilltop Educators will visit us here in our centres and work alongside us.
I still have to pinch myself to believe that when I balled up all my courage and crossed every finger I have and asked them to partner with us they said YES! Not just ok, sure, but YES YES YES and lets do more that one visit, lets work on this together over a few years......lets be true partners in moving our work with children and families to a higher, deeper level.
I am beyond excited about what tomorrow could mean for our work.
Beyond touched that almost every family agreed to voluntarily take the afternoon off and pick up their children so every member of our staff can sit and discuss and dialogue and learn from our Hilltop colleagues and one another for 2 hours, at my house, in the afternoon....what a gift they have given us!
As I sit here now.....in the quiet, I already feel full of emotion from this journey...for what it has already given me, given us......and I have to remind myself to breathe thinking about tomorrow.
The "chores" today were many but they paled into relative insignificance in the face of changing the world by honouring children and families and educators..... and that is my "core".
Roll on tomorrow....
Dreams really do come true.