April 2023 Council Letter: Committed to our Youngest Learners

April 26, 2023

“It Takes a Big Heart to Help Shape Little Minds!” Anonymous

Dear Colleagues,

Week of the Young Child kicked off at the start of this month in early learning programs across the country. They marked the week’s events in their own way, and Children’s Village Preschool of Orange, California, had a fun take on Work Together Wednesday. They proclaimed it to also be Sports Day. So, the preschool encouraged children and staff to dress for their favorite sport or show team spirit for their favorite team by wearing a team jersey, uniform or shirt.

And team spirit matters in the early childhood profession, so this is also a time for our early childhood teachers to speak out for the concerns of their field. And the National Association for the Education of Young Children suggested some ways for them to mark Music Monday, early in the month, by joining the chorus for change. Teachers could work with their state’s advocates to help lawmakers sign proclamations that honor and advance the ECE profession. Once they have secured a proclamation, teachers can share it on social media, tag the elected officials who signed it and thank them for being champions of the early childhood profession.

Educators deserve kudos for the way they support our nation’s diverse young learners. Our educators are also diverse, including a few we would like to acknowledge as we mark Arab American Heritage Month. Najwa Dahdah, Ines Ben Cheikh and Fatima Boubina come from a culture that holds our field in high esteem. “A teacher,” as the Koran points out, “is like a candle that consumes itself to light the way for others.”

And teachers also need someone to light the way for them so they can advance in their careers. So, this month we profile two early learning professionals who are making it possible for more people to take CDA® courses and have more access to the PD Specialists they need to earn the credential. They both live in Nebraska, a state where there is a large gap between supply and demand for the child care that working families need.

So, Linda Reddish supports the workforce behind the workforce as a liaison for Nebraska’s Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential™ Professional Development Specialist initiative. She looks at the big picture in ECE as she partners with the Council and Nebraska Department of Education to provide PD Specialists statewide. Together, they’ve mapped out a plan for areas where PD Specialists are scarce and waged a recruitment campaign that has raised their number. “And I also go out and do visits,” Linda says, “since I want to stay grounded in the day-to-day reality of our educators’ lives.”

Jené Chapman is also in touch with teachers statewide as a program specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education Office of Early Childhood Training Center. Providers, as she’s seen, are often too busy to be aware of their chances for growth as professionals in ECE. So, Jené gets the word out about opportunities for training, mentoring and assistance building a child care business. She has also formed a CDA Roundtable where she teams up with colleagues across Nebraska to break down the barriers that stop people from earning their CDA.

Teamwork also leads to success for children, as they learn when playing sports. Games like baseball, basketball and soccer give them great chances to pick up character traits like confidence, self-control and a sense of cooperation, as Dr. Calvin Moore relates this month in his blog. He also reveals the life lessons he’s picked up from playing tennis, and he’s using them to make a full court press for equity in early learning. It isn’t easy, but we have to persist, as the great Billie Jean King understood. “Champions do not quit,” she once said. “They keep playing until they are successful.” So, let’s all go to bat for young children every week of the year.

Cheering you on,
The Council for Professional Recognition


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