You hold in your hands one of my all-time favorite issues of Exchange magazine. From its striking cover design, conceived by our creative director Scott Bilstad, to the phenomenal writing shared by so many of you, this is a big, bold issue that doesn’t shy away from big, bold dreaming about the future of our field.

As a prompt for many of the articles you’ll read in this issue, I invited our guest authors to explore the following questions:

  • Where do we go from here?
  • What are our hopes and dreams?
  • What thinking can we rely upon, and where must we innovate?
  • How do external challenges—climate change, political turmoil, COVID-19—force us to reexamine our work?
  • How will we keep children’s needs, wishes and rights at the center of all we do?
  • What do we hope the hallmarks of ECE are five years from now? A decade from now?

Author Ijumaa Jordan set the stage for my own editorial journey through this issue, by quoting the incomparable Octavia Butler: “There is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.”

Out team received each article in this issue as a gift; each author as a unique sun. Our writers’ ideas were as diverse as their backgrounds and careers. Lisa Matter considers growth and rebirth after a forest fire, and what ECE leaders may learn from nature’s mastery of cycles and seasons. In fact, more than one author explored what we might gain from taking children’s learning outdoors and allowing nature to serve as teacher and mentor. Cory Gann makes the case for educating a new generation of “cultural workers.” Maurice Sykes and Kyra Osterndorf believe that disruption is key—in our thinking and our actions—and note, “It is the moment for a unified collective of social justice advocates and activists to swing into action and let their presence be seen and their voices heard.”


While we all wish we could speak about the pandemic in the past tense, the specter of COVID is never far from mind. Meantime, we can hear the approaching footsteps of societal and global challenges that will line up to take its place.
But in assembling this future-focused issue of Exchange, we realized our community is more than capable of meeting our current cultural moment with innovation and compassion. You are not shaking in your sneakers. You rose. You philosophized and strategized and organized. You wrote.

Kathy Pillow-Price reconsiders leadership development. Valora Washington and Erica Phillips are optimistic about the future of family child care. Calvin Moore compellingly makes the case for men’s role in ECE. Their words have power. In naming the future we want to see, we bring ourselves closer to its fruition. We are the new suns. You are a new sun. Shine on.

Sara Gilliam


Sara Gilliam author and former editor of Exchange magazine.

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