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Decoding Your Culture Part 1: What is Culture?


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When I talk about school culture, I’m not talking about Secret Santa gift exchanges, karaoke night, or the pingpong table in the breakroom.

Instead, culture is about the conversation that happens around the ping pong table. It’s the set of shared core values and practices that define the day-to-day interactions and decisions in your center.

A healthy culture is essential to building a school of excellence, so keeping a finger on the pulse of your center’s culture is something you should prioritize.

But how can you evaluate the state of your current culture if it’s not about the gift cards and the pizza parties? How do you actually identify whether your team and staff are united under a set of shared core values and practices?

The best way to determine the health of your culture is by looking at the emotional behaviors happening in your center each and every day—and more specifically—your emotional behaviors.

Where’s the focus of your stress? Your frustration? Your anger?

Emotions are data points that help you understand where there’s tension and a mismatch of values. With that information in hand, you can evaluate the state of your culture and decide what you can do to pivot in the right direction.

Because starting with you is how you create the ripple effect that will inspire change in everyone else.

In this week’s podcast episode, I’m diving into a new series called Decoding Your Culture. In the first episode, I’m looking at what culture is and how to evaluate what’s going on in your own center.

Join me for a conversation about:

  • What school culture is (and isn’t)
  • The easiest way to evaluate your center’s culture
  • How to understand the emotional behaviors involved in your school culture right now
  • The importance of staying connected to the people you serve

School culture may not be as visible as holiday parties and free lunch, but its presence can be felt all around you every day. You just have to pay attention.


Resources and links mentioned in this episode:

Culture is going to be a huge topic at this year’s Summit of Excellence (February 28–March 2), which centers on building legacy through values-based leadership. If you’re interested in diving deeper into culture and how you can create a healthier environment in your center, I encourage you to join us! 

While the event is limited to members, non-members can still attend by filling out an application to join our Owner’s Only HQ and Director’s Inner Circle membership programs today. As a member, you’ll also gain access to tools, resources, community, and coaching that will help you build a school of excellence.

Click Here to Listen on Apple Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Non-Apple Devices

More about the show:

If you are an Early Childhood director or owner, prepare to transform your school and life with the Schools of Excellence podcast. Tune in each week to learn from Chanie Wilschanski, the founder and host of the Schools of Excellence Podcast and a mom of 4 little kids. Each episode will be packed with tools and strategies – equipping you to build schools with higher staff retention, teacher motivation, parent partnership, collaborative culture, and beautiful quality of life.

Every week, Chanie shares the truth about the journey to excellence, the strategies that are working TODAY, and the mindset about the critical decisions and choices that you make every day which impact yourself, your teachers, parents, family, and children who you serve every day.

In addition to weekly solo episodes, she’ll also be inviting industry leaders and the changing makers of the landscape of education to give listeners the inside knowledge of what it takes to sustain excellence.

Don’t miss an episode, subscribe today for everything you need for your leadership journey!