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Early Years Community Developers as Linchpins

Attention and funding directed towards the early years has gone up and down and around like an awkwardly executed cartwheel.

Whether we are on our feet, tail over teakettle or suspended in mid-flight, there are people passionate and committed to keep the early years momentum alive. We call these individuals Early Years Community Developers. They are people who know that quality investments in the lives of young children have huge payoffs now and far into the future. Sometimes these people feel frustrated by the lack of value attributed to this work locally, nationally and globally. It can feel (like our hero, the dearly missed Dr. Clyde Hertzman described) that we are going up a down escalator.

What if Early Years Community Developers took a linchpin view in order to respond to life’s on-going cartwheels, or the up and down escalator rides? In his book and Manifesto of the same name, Seth Godin describes Linchpins as people that our world needs more of and who are indispensable, not cogs in a wheel and not easily replaceable.

He suggests that typical linchpin contributions are to:

  • Over deliver results – to be generous
  • Contribute emotional labour – to be enthusiastic
  • Connect more people with more ideas – to be constructive
  • Find the things that motivate you to do your best work – to be remarkable

Generosity can help us to reframe events such as funding cuts and organizational changes. As we give generously of our time, expertise and passion to communities, the value, recognition and respect for the potential of the early years will only grow.

Our enthusiasm will result in an increase in creativity, flexibility and innovation. This will be infectious within communities, among our colleagues and into the homes of families.

We can be constructive by becoming more proactive and less reactive to situations. Because creating a future where children are honoured is at stake – we want to be in the driver’s seat.

Being remarkable is about having our efforts add value to the early years!



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