Vision is the art of seeing things invisible”—Jonathon Swift
Children are at the heart of early childhood collaboration. Creating a shared vision is the first step in developing a common collaboration agenda, and it requires working with a diverse group of stakeholders to articulate common hopes for the community’s children.
Illinois’ vision for early childhood is for each and every child entering kindergarten safe, healthy, ready to succeed and eager to learn. While it is important to connect the community or collaboration vision to the state’s vision to ensure alignment, your community’s vision may be more specific to address particularly community needs and interests.
Developing a local vision statement is a good starting point for collaborative work. Think of your vision statement as a billboard: It’s a succinct, big-picture phrase that captures the way your community would like its early childhood system to function.
The process of forming and communicating a shared vision can be rewarding, and a few exercises can help develop collaborations. A vision statement is also a good tool for building relationships with potential stakeholders. Once your vision is defined, a logic model helps chart a course toward realizing that vision.
A tagline can be a good conversation starter when building a common local vision: “If you could do anything to help all children in the community enter kindergarten ready to succeed and eager to learn, what would you do?” is one example.
We’ve also compiled some examples of vision statements from other early childhood system initiatives.