Committed to Our Youngest Learners
This month, our educators took special steps to make learning playful and fun. From April 2 to 8, early childhood programs nationwide came up with new ways for children to enjoy music, explore food and cooking, build together and create art. It was all part of Week of the Young Child, a celebration of our youngest learners.
It was also an occasion to honor the educators who serve them. So, on April 6, Maine educators joined Governor Janet Mills at the State House in Augusta to be recognized for their work and mark the passing of a new law that provides more funding for their field. Then on April 7, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper visited Nana’s Learning Center in Charlotte to mark Week of the Young Child and highlight the North Carolina Child Stabilization Grants. “This week, we celebrate our early childhood educators who teach, nurture and support our children,” Cooper said. “Child care and learning programs lay the foundation for future success, and it’s great to see how these grants not only help educators care for our children but help parents get and keep jobs.”
Our educators deserve the praise they received during Week of the Young Child. They should also get it all year long, and this month we profile two folks who help teachers advance with purpose and passion. Jessica Moore is a Head Start director who tells her teachers that “I don’t exist without you,” as she explains. “Everything we do goes back to the frontline staff in the field.” And those teachers can share both their triumphs and trials during Early Childhood Educators Circle Time, hosted by Melody McGuire. “Over 6,400 people join my online group,” Melody says, “to chat about everything from problems talking to parents to marketing programs, from behavioral issues to the benefits of earning a CDA®.”
The CDA has always been a strong basis for careers. And now the Council is taking bold steps to make the CDA process even better, Dr. Calvin Moore explains in his blog. “We’re reimagining the CDA process as a strong step toward rebuilding the ECE field. And I’m committed to this effort because I believe that an investment in our teachers is an investment in our students.” Qualified, caring teachers promote equity by opening doors for underserved young learners, including the rising number of homeless children.
It’s hard to know who these children are, as we discuss in a new white paper, The Invisible Children in Our Midst. This is because homeless parents are reluctant to reveal their family’s trials for fear of losing their children. So, educators might not understand why the children are fatigued, appear underfed or act out in challenging ways. Yet the children’s tears and trying behavior betray the traumas they’ve often been through—and should lead to concern for what’s going on in their lives outside school. These children need teachers with the empathy and the insight to bring their hidden problems into plain view.
With the right skills, you can help even the most troubled youngsters. So, get the training you need at the Early Educators Leadership Conference. You’ll also learn ways to help yourself since this year’s conference will take a close look at building systems, policies and career paths that place our field on the fast track to equity in the classroom and workplace. Take advantage of this chance to speak with industry experts about roadblocks that stop our profession from getting the pay and recognition it deserves.
We also urge our educators to join us at a special event designed just for you. ECE Practitioner Day will feature sessions on professional development, health and self-care that should guide you in months to come. We know you deserve support all year long and not just during Week of the Young Child. When that special week has passed, children may forget the art they made, the music they heard or the dishes they cooked. But they will remember the special way you’ve always made them feel safe and loved.
With all our support,
The Council for Professional Recognition