There are time when all stakeholders opinions need to be collated and thorough self evaluation needs to be conducted before a decision can be made. This is true of our annual Improvement Plan which ideally reflects a common philosophy. Every year at least three areas need to be identified for improvement and then actioned. If I was to undertake this on my own then I risk portraying a very limited view of the service and miss possible areas for development.
I start this process by asking parents/carers to identify three areas of success and three for improvement, this consultation can highlight unexpected feedback that promotes thinking outside the box. This is also true when gaining feedback from children, this is a much more simplified process where we ask the children if they had one wish to make preschool better what would it be?. Quite often their answer is related to snack items but listening to children and valuing their rights is something we take seriously. This year we identified outdoor learning as an area to develop by listening to their wishes.
Staff have a year long commitment to the improvement plan and are therefore pivotal to any decisions reached. Arriving at a shared vision together promotes partnership, ownership and participation. This is a long process which involves lots of procedures and would not be suited to a short timeframe. We use child at the centre in conjunction with the national care standards to identify areas for improvement frequently over the year. By constantly evaluating our provision we are making decisions based on research and comprehensive discussions. We are also aware of the SSSC codes of practice and the British Association for Early Childhood Education's Code of Ethics. These codes present guidelines when making ethical and moral decisions.
"Wise moral decisions will always acknowledge our interdependency; our moral choices are ours alone, but they bind us all to those who will be affected by them. So deciding for yourself what's right and wrong does not mean deciding in isolation" (Mackay, 2004)
Not all decisions have the luxury of a long time scale and some have to be made on the spot. In these circumstances it is me as leader who has the final say.