Making the World Better, One Child at a Time
We constantly think about children here at the Council. And many people thought more about them this month. On June 12th, we marked National Children’s Day, a time to realize just how precious children are and raise awareness of the roadblocks many of them face. The goal of this yearly event—and one we embrace—is to invest in our children’s future, improve their welfare and make the world better for them.
That was the mission of Dwayne Crompton, a great champion of children who recently passed away. His many achievements included serving as president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and a longtime member of the Council’s board. He also gained renown during the three decades he directed KMC Child Development Corporation, an agency set up in 1970 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society program to end poverty, inequality and crime. Under Crompton’s helm, KMC administered model Head Start programs that improved life for thousands of Missouri families.
Lisa Burke is also lifting families up as executive director at Friends of Children and Families, a Boise, Idaho, Head Start center. Read her profile this month to learn how she helps parents get ahead by urging them to volunteer in her classrooms and then consider working for her as teachers. If they do, FOCAF pays for them to earn a CDA® so they can ensure the best outcomes for children. The parents go on to gain confidence, build careers and become strong advocates for children, Lisa says. “And it’s great to help people surmount challenges and succeed. I feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself.”
So do the many parents who serve as volunteers for Community Organizing and Family Issues in Chicago. COFI builds parent power, as you’ll see when you read about Jesse Rojo, COFI’s early learning policy organizer, and Susana Salgado, co-chair of its early learning campaign and a COFI ambassador who recruits parent leaders. Together, Jesse and Susana have harnessed parent power to ban suspensions of children below second-grade age, raise wages for early childhood teachers and recruit a more diverse early childhood workforce, issues that came up at a recent CDA® Advisory Committee meeting. The parent leaders also go door to door talking about the value of early learning, as Susana explains. “Some moms insist that it’s their job to take care of the kids. But the moms do need support from teachers. So, I tell them that you, as a parent, are your child’s first teacher, but you shouldn’t be their only teacher.”
Still, it can feel that way around this time of year as parents wonder what to do with their children during the long summer break. Many parents feel stressed out as they worry about whether they’ve planned enough activities and how to stop the summer brain drain when children lose much of what they’ve learned over the school year—concerns that Dr. Moore addresses this month in his blog. As a dad of two, he enriched his daughters’ lives by singing, dancing and reading with them, he recalls. And he also describes other ways to combine education with entertainment in summer: road trips that sneak in geography lessons en route, weekly library visits and using educational apps, games and shows to make screen time more productive.
It can be tough to fit quality time with children in our busy schedules these days, so the long summer break can be a challenge, especially for working parents. Still, National Children’s Day reminds us of the need to slow down and have some fun with the little folks, whether that means planning a picnic or singing, dancing and playing together at home. National Children’s Day is also a reminder that children are the future, the conviction that led LBJ to set up Head Start. The Council shares this belief, and that drives our work to enhance early learning for every young child. We know that investing in our children—and those who teach them—is the best way to build a great society for all.
With constant thoughts of you,
The Council for Professional Recognition