Learn how to engage in and resolve conflict productively to improve work relationships and create a more equitable community for children.
Conflicts are inevitable, often hard to navigate, and can quickly multiply and become unmanageable. And resolving conflict requires self-reflection, understanding, and vulnerability. But knowing how to tackle difficult conversations will strengthen relationships, create a more equitable community, and improve the impact educators have on the young children they work with.
The first of its kind, Finding Your Way Through Conflict specifically focuses on conflict in early childhood education settings and gives concrete steps and strategies to help manage and resolve it productively.
Authors Chris Amirault, Ph.D., and Christine M. Snyder, M.A., have decades of experience in early childhood education programs and conflict resolution. Built on their expertise and their own experiences, the book’s conflict scenarios are engaging and authentic, empowering educators to get in and out of conflict in a variety of personal, organization, and cultural contexts.
Some of these scenarios include:
The Discombobulated Team: The children’s artwork you posted in the classroom yesterday is gone. Who took it down—and why?
The Intent/Impact Disagreement: You were only trying to help! So why is that parent offended?
The Unexpected Disaster: Your team planned every aspect of that difficult parent meeting for days. So why was it such a catastrophe?
A free PLC/Book Study Guide is available at freespirit.com/plc.
About the Author
Chris Amirault, Ph.D., is the school director of Tulsa Educare MacArthur in Oklahoma, and for more than three decades has dedicated himself to high-quality education, teaching courses and facilitating workshops on early childhood education, conflict, assessment and instruction, ethics and professionalism, challenging behavior, family engagement, anti-bias education, and equity. Prior to his arrival in Tulsa, he lived in Mexico, working as a consultant focusing on organizational culture, change management, and QRIS system design in Oregon, Rhode Island, and California.
For thirteen years prior to that, he served as executive director of the Brown/Fox Point Early Childhood Education Center affiliated with Brown University in Rhode Island. During that time, he also taught early childhood education and development courses for area colleges and universities and served as a mentor and coach for providers throughout the community.
Chris also has an active volunteer life at the local, state, and national level. He served as the president of the Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children for several years, served as the chair of the Council for NAEYC Accreditation, and was a founding facilitator of NAEYC’s Diversity & Equity Interest Forum. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Christine M. Snyder, M.A., has worked in the early childhood education field since 1999 as a teacher, center director, author, and trainer/coach. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education and a bachelor’s degree in child development. She is currently director of the University of Michigan Health System Children’s Center and assistant professor in the college of education at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan.
Previously, she was an early childhood specialist at the HighScope Educational Research Foundation in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where she focused on developing professional learning for teachers and curriculum for preschoolers and infants/toddlers. She facilitates training throughout the United States, internationally, and online, and has published several books, articles, training DVDs, and other classroom resources for teachers. She lives in Michigan.
“Brimming with practical advice and useful insights, this book will not only change how you approach relationships with coworkers, parents, and children, it’ll transform how you approach your life.” — Amy Gallo, contributing editor at Harvard Business Review and author of the HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict
“Far from a one-size-fits-all presentation of magic solutions, this book offers strategies and research that will guide the reader in developing skills for reflection, learning, and improvement. In the words of Chris and Christine, ‘If you do not learn these skills, conflict will erase and silence the very people you seek to serve.’ If you work to serve children and families, you’ll want to read this book.” — Vincent J. Costanza, Ed.D., advisor, Bright Start Foundation Advisory Council
“Finding Your Way Through Conflict is a timely and valuable manual in an era when conflict, often unrecognized, let alone openly acknowledged, divides us personally and politically, as well as professionally. The book offers readers the work and life skills we all need now. Once learned, and continually relearned, we can pass them on to the next generation.” — Ann S. Epstein, Ph.D., author of The Intentional Teacher
“For those in search of critical dialogues and healthy resolutions for countless conflicts teachers face at work, this book offers invaluable insights and innovative perspectives.” — Kyong-Ah Kwon, associate professor, University of Oklahoma
“Finding Your Way Through Conflict is a timely and timeless book for early childhood educators seeking to improve the early childhood experience for all children and adults. Conflict is a way of life and living, and we must go through it to become better human beings . . . Effectively embracing and addressing conflicts will strengthen relationships adults have with each other and with children. We must check our power, privilege, and biases at the door when resolving conflicts to ensure healthy and affirming relationships.” — Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., chief research innovation officer and director of the Center for Early Education Research & Evaluation, HighScope Educational Research Foundation
“A must-read and study guide for those interested in exemplary early childhood care and education. Walk into the fear, break the organizational silence, stay curious and courageous, and do this work!” — Cynthia D. Jackson, executive director, Educare Learning Network