When There Are Gaps in Your Knowledge, Work to Fill Them In!

Bennie Cooper, Florida

A man working in the field of child care? How did that happen?

I earned a BA degree in criminology in 1994, but I became interested in early childhood education (ECE) when my daughter was born five years ago. It buttonwas a challenge to find a good child care center for my daughter — not one seemed good enough.

I researched acceptable standards in the ECE industry, and then embarked on the CDA process myself. My CDA fee was paid for by the Florida TEACH program.

The required 480 hours of experience allowed me to work with children and discover how rewarding the ECE profession is. There were many challenges. I was the only man in the class and, at first, parents looked funny at me, but I did not get discouraged.

I took CDA classes through the Florida Community College of Jacksonville. My wife also went through CDA training, and now we are planning to open our own child care center.

Currently, I work as campus director for a private 1-12 grade school. The reason why I am not working in ECE is that I wanted to see the whole continuum of human development, and serve all ages in order to understand human development better.

I plan to go back to school to get a degree in Special Education, because I believe special needs children do not get their fair share of quality education and positive reinforcement in the classroom.

I want to encourage all people who are interested in how human beings develop to join the ECE workforce, get some ECE training, and practice in the field. The ECE field is not only for women, and advertising for ECE openings should not be geared only toward women.

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