In Quality First, we use the VISION model to guide the quality improvement journey. This is the fourth in a series about the six stages of the VISION model. If you haven’t already, check out our blogs on vision casting, investigating your current practices, and setting goals.
Once you’ve identified your big-picture vision, reviewed your data and set your quality improvement goals, it’s time to get started on your action steps. This is where the rubber meets the road—where you take action to move toward a vision for your early learning program. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
- Prioritize your time. Set aside time in your schedule to work on the steps in your plan. Depending on the action steps you identified, this may be daily or weekly. Setting aside regular time helps you stay focused on your goals, even when you’re busy.
- Keep on track with timelines. Set calendar reminders and notifications to let you know when deadlines for action steps are coming up. Include a colleague in your action steps, so you have another person to help keep you on track.
- Remember your “why.” It’s normal to feel uncomfortable doing new things. Whether trying a new teaching strategy, leading activities you’ve never done before or learning new software or curriculum, remember why you chose your action steps. Keep your big-picture vision in mind to help you push through those uncomfortable feelings.
- Be patient and consistent. Remember, new routines and habits take time. You’ve probably heard that it takes between three weeks to three months to build a new habit. And if it takes that long for adults, children need that time as well. When introducing a new routine, don’t be discouraged if children don’t get it right away. If you’re trying a new teaching strategy or technique for managing behaviors, stay the course. With patience and consistency from you, the children in your care will begin to learn and respond.
- Access tools and resources. Be on the lookout for tools, resources and professional development opportunities that support your goals. Subscribe to these newsletters and social media accounts to keep up with the newest opportunities and information:
- Quality First Update monthly newsletter – Subscribe for announcements from the team, resources and information to share with families and professional development opportunities.
- Follow Quality First on social media – Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram for the newest resources, inspiration and opportunities for early childhood professionals in Arizona.
- Arizona Department of Education Early Childhood monthly update – Subscribe to receive professional development opportunities, information and resources on early learning, including Arizona’s Early Learning Standards and Infant and Toddler Developmental Guidelines.
- Empower News Blast – Get tips, inspiration and updates on health, nutrition and physical activity by subscribing to this newsletter from the Arizona Department of Health. Services (ADHS) Empower program. You can also subscribe to additional ADHS topics such as Healthy Recipes, Immunizations, Heat Alerts, and much more. Be sure to click ‘submit’ at the bottom of the page to capture your preferences.
- Go NAPSACC – Has your program created a GO NAPSACC account? If so, your program already receives the monthly NAPSACC Nation News! This monthly newsletter feactures resources, tips and stories from providers all over the country. To create an acount, email Bonnie Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org for your registration code.
- Arizona Early Childhood Career and Professional Development Network – Receive email announcements on the latest professional development opportunities, college scholarship information and Arizona events for early childhood professionals. To subscribe, visit azearlychildhood.org, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email address in the “stay connected” section.
As you move through the action steps in your plan, remember to celebrate your progress along the way. Do it in a way that’s meaningful for you. A cup of coffee, a celebratory shout-out or a dance party with your kids. Because every step you take on your quality improvement journey makes a difference to the children in your care.
At Quality First, we love to hear from you. Share your innovative practices so that others can be inspired. Email us at QualityFirst@FirstThingsFirst.org.