Aimee Hilado, Guest Editor, 2018-2020 ZERO TO THREE Fellow
This issue of the ZERO TO THREE Journal reflects the voices of early childhood leaders in the field who were selected as part of the 2018–2020 ZERO TO THREE Fellowship Class. These 15 Fellows represent different states/countries, academic disciplines, and professional settings including community-based programs, academic and medical institutions, and national/international policy institutions. Together, we share a common passion for elevating the voices of infants and toddlers and advancing their priorities through policy and systems change.
The articles in this issue, authored by the 2018–2020 class, embody this shared vision for very young children and their families with specific attention to infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH). The authors highlight the role of adaptive leadership in promoting change across diverse settings and the cultural, programmatic, and policy-level considerations professionals need to address when working in the service of families. Most important, the articles illuminate the importance of “leading from where you are,” a phrase we focus on as a reminder to recognize the leader in each of us. As leaders in our respective settings, we each have a responsibility and the opportunity to promote the well-being of the youngest members of society.
In this spirit, this issue highlights leadership opportunities through a variety of contexts: direct practice in community-based programs including programs serving rural and indigenous populations; medical institutions and academia; workforce development; and IECMH and early education finance policy efforts. We also highlight the critical importance of valuing diversity, inclusion, and equity in our endeavors. In doing so, we promote social justice and strive for a more equitable society for all.
This journal also reflects the tireless efforts of Lynette Aytch, director of the ZERO TO THREE Leadership Development Institute. With her vision for the Fellowship and under her thoughtful direction over the last 18 months, the Fellows found their individual and collective voice to advance the priorities of infants and toddlers in clear and sustainable ways. We all need mentors who encourage, challenge, and inspire us to dream bigger on behalf of young children, and we are grateful Lynette played that critical role in our professional development.
We hope this journal issue resonates among the ZERO TO THREE Journal readership and that readers equally see themselves in this work. We intend to continue this important work for the years to come and look forward to engaging more partners interested in changing policies and systems to benefit infants and toddlers in our communities and across the globe.