Juanita’s Journey

Juanita’s Journey to Find Her Mission

  • As is often the case, people design their mission in life in response to childhood experiences.  I grew up in a family where I learned how to do things the “right way.”  My parents loved me, but focused    mostly on doing things the “right way.”  When I wasn’t always successful, I judged myself as unworthy.  
  • As I went to college and was inspired to think out of the box, I knew that I had lots to learn about how to live.  When I got married and had my children, I found myself reacting as my parents did, similar to what most people find themselves doing.   I begin taking parenting classes to learn new skills.
  • I learned to  validate my children and teach them they could be and do anything they wanted in life.  I listened to them, helped them solve problems and design ways to be successful and get along with their family and friends.
  • I started working with children in volunteer situations in my church and saw how I made a difference in children’s lives.  I helped them find joy and happiness within themselves.
  • Because I had not grown up with a great self-esteem, my passion became helping children form a great self concept & find joy in what they do .  This became the key mandate of my life.   I began teaching & coaching other volunteer teachers, how to support and validate children.  I loved training and knew that I had something important to give back to the worldThese opportunities became a new call of spending my life helping teachers learn how to interact with and support young children.
  • I began teaching in early childhood programs, first in churches, then in social service programs and finally in Head Start.   
  •  As I taught, I realized that I wanted help in designing programs for young children. I loved teaching children and helping them learn and grow.   I knew that I needed to learn about administration of programs & ideas about how to make them great. 
  •  I went back to school to get my Master’s degree in Early Childhood Curriculum & Instruction.
  • I realized that I needed experiences beyond teaching.  So, I left Head Start to direct an early childhood program and got my eyes opened wide about the problems administrators face.  My center had been a custodial care program for 25 years.  At first teachers were excited to learn how to set up their classrooms in learning centers.  However, as I began teaching them about best practice in planning curriculum for their classrooms, they soon decided that was too much work.  So I had some motivation work to do.
  • Unfortunately, gossip was a real problem at this center.  Teachers were critical of me and of each other.  They were creative about making up things they thought were going to happen.  The gossip was out of control. 
  • Thankfully, I found a Center Director’s Institute in the city and enrolled to go.  As I went to the Institute, I learned mountains of strategies.  As I started implementing some of these, I learned new things.  I learned new ways to work with staff.  I learned how to respond to the gossip and help teachers learn how to connect and work with one another. 
  • I found ways to include staff in much of the decision making in the programGradually I found things that worked and I began to feel successful and knew I was making a difference.
  • As I continued in my journey, I decided that I needed a wider influence.  I decided that I could influence more children by helping other program administrators and teachers reflect on their practices and figure out how to improve their programs.  Working in one class or program wasn’t enough influence to change the world.   
  • I began working in an agency where I could coach program administrators and do training for program managers and teachers.  I loved doing this.  I saw that I was influencing many programs and impacting many children.  I felt like I was making a difference.  I continued in these efforts for many years.
  • I also began teaching at a community college, where I again felt I was making a difference in teachers & administrators lives.
  • Because I had the gift of training, I also did continuing education workshops at the college and for area programs.
  • Now that I no longer work for an agency in which I can do coaching, I decided to start by own business of coaching organizational managers, which is what this website is all about.
  • Throughout my life I have learned that the principles for great early childhood programs are the same principles that are true in any organization, even those who are not early childhood programs.

Follow this link to find out more about Juanita.  hands-compassion