Section Three
Imagine a World

"Imagine a world big enough for all of us."
-Mary Dispenza, Researcher

Imagine a World

Imagine a world of child care big enough for all children and families. What would it look like? This was the question that challenged the Community Summit and WAEYC Conference participants. Out of these questions emerged possibility statements, or in Appreciative Inquiry terms, provocative propositions.

Provocative propositions are one of the final steps in the Appreciative Inquiry process. They are the most exciting, bold and daring propositions that bridge the best of what is (what we have found in our stories) with our intuition of what might be. They are provocative because they stretch our imagination and vision far beyond where we have been. Aristotle said, "A vivid imagination compels the whole body to obey it."

Provocative propositions answer the question: what would happen if we gave expression to our imagination about quality child care and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender parents/guardians and their children? They pave the way for recommendations for 'Next Step' initiatives to enhance the quality of child care.

To arrive at provocative propositions, we gave our Community Summit and WAEYC Conference participants the following assignment:

Imagine a world of child care where these core themes or compelling forces are present even more, or more of the time. What would that look like? What would be in place in the world of child care that encouraged these forces to flourish?

The statements that follow are in the actual words of the participants. Note they are cast in the present tense to express our vision as a reality, in the positive spirit of Appreciative Inquiry.

Provocative Propositions

Personal Steps

A research project can be of immediate and direct benefit to the community. Time to allow the participants to imagine a world of enhanced quality of child care for LGBT parents and children opened their minds to new possibilities in their own lives. Participants were reminded of the power they have as individuals to make a difference and initiate change, and they made some on-the-spot commitments to taking individual action. Here are just a few examples of the participants' personal steps:
Next Step Initiatives

The following Next Step Initiatives are synthesized from the Community Summit. The Community Summit included stakeholders with representatives from child care providers, directors and teachers; LGBT parents, guardians and friends; Child Care Resources; Safe Schools Coalition; Seattle/King County Public Health Department; Seattle Comprehensive Child Care Program; Seattle Human Services Department; ECEAP (Early Childhood Education Assistance Program); Office of Child Care Policy; S.T.A.R.S. (Washington State Training and Registry System) and the King County Child Care Program.

The purpose of the Community Summit was to provide opportunity and a forum for stakeholders to interact with the data in order to arrive at Next Step Initiatives. This was done by reading the selected stories, identifying themes, imagining the best possible early childhood environment for LGBT parents and children, planning personal steps for change and visioning future possibilities. The following 10 Next Step Initiatives are recommended by our stakeholders as specific steps, in addition to the others identified in Core Themes and Provocative Propositions to enhance the quality of child care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents and children.

1. The Seattle City Council:
2. Early Childhood and School Age Organizations and Agencies:
3. The State Training and Registry System (S.T.A.R.S.):
4. School Age and Early Childhood Trainers:
5. Office of Child Care Policy:
6. Child Care and Community Centers:
7. Child Care Providers, Preschools and Centers:
8. Early Childhood and School Age Employers:
9. The Lesbian and Gay Child Care Task Force:
10. LGBT Families and Friends:
Conclusion - A Call to Action

"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die,
Life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly -
Hold fast to dreams, for when dreams go,
Life is a barren field, frozen with snow."
- Langston Hughes

Our Families Our Children is both a catalyst and an invitation. As a catalyst it gives us snapshots of the future - snapshots which inspire us to develop more stories of success for providers and LGBT families. Initially the study was an invitation to child care providers, LGBT parents and guardians, community leaders and child care professionals to come together, think strategically and imaginatively about the future quality of child care for LGBT parents and children.

Now the invitation calls to all of us who care about children to act upon the Core Themes, the Provocative Propositions and the Next Step Initiatives included in this study. The information reveals the many strengths of child care when it is working at its best.

The Lesbian and Gay Child Care Task Force is committed to the call to action and the on-going challenge of giving life and spirit to the 10 Next Step Initiatives. We invite you to join us in this exciting moment in our history. Please help us keep the dreams and stories alive by sharing this report with your co-workers, colleagues, families and friends.

For further information regarding Our Families Our Children, the on-going work of the Lesbian and Gay Child Care Task Force and how you may get involved, please contact us at Child Care Resources-(253) 852-1908 ext. 201 or email:

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