Council Letter

March 27, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

We’ve all likely wondered what we were made for at some point in our lives. Billie Eilish also poses the question, “What was I made for?” in the theme song of the box-office smash, Barbie. The answer for girls used to be that you were made to be a mom. But now “a woman has choices,” said Ruth Handler, the co-founder of Mattel who invented the Barbie doll in 1959. And the little girls in the opening sequence of Barbie showed how determined they were to go down a different road in life.

They stand in a bleak, primeval landscape, as a narrator explains that little girls had nothing to play with but baby dolls since the beginning of time. This left them no way to imagine their future except as moms. Then came Barbie, a line of dolls whose appearance has become more diverse and inclusive with the passage of time. At the sight of her, the girls smash their baby dolls to pieces and imagine themselves as astronauts, judges, doctors and heads of state.

Barbie empowered girls, as Handler intended. “My whole philosophy of Barbie,” she said, “was that, through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be”—a message to remember as we marked National Barbie Day on March 8. This year, the event coincided with International Women’s Day, a time to honor diverse cultures and races, many of which have their own Barbie doll. “Barbie’s story has never been just about her,” said Krista Berger, senior vice president, Barbie, and global head of dolls, Mattel. “It’s about the countless kids she has inspired”—like our educators worldwide—and the way she “continues to give everyone the opportunity to dream.”

And one way to dream big is by reading books, as we point out this National Reading Month. It’s a chance to encourage reading each day and foster a love of books in children across the country. March is also the time when we mark the birthday of Dr. Seuss, author of many great books for kids, including Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Tierra James reads it to children every year, as you’ll see when we feature her this month. “I like the way Dr. Seuss explains the role that both trials and tribulations play in finding your way in life,” Tierra says. “You may start on one road and then realize you’re meant to go on another road,” as Tierra did. While studying theater in college, she worked part-time at Growing Room Child Development Center in Georgia, where she fell in love with the children and decided to switch fields. Now Tierra is working on her Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential™, mentoring new colleagues and on the road to being a lead teacher. Tierra is going places she never imagined with her CDA®.

So are students at Northeast Community College in Nebraska, where Lisa Guenther serves as an instructor. Lisa puts a focus on reading to provide her state with qualified early childhood teachers, as you’ll see in this edition. She holds special book-related events for students and community members, including a family reading program and a read-aloud pajama party to honor Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Reading aloud is also part of her routine for college students, as Lisa points out. “I read a story at the end of every class to show students how to read books to kids and help them pick up a crucial habit. Reading aloud daily to a child will change the world and the world for that child,” as Lisa firmly maintains.

And teachers see the value of reading aloud if they earn a CDA. They also produce better outcomes for children, as Dr. Moore tells us in his white paper, Practice and Performance. He shows us why the Council’s competency-based approach has proved to be the most effective way for educators to gain confidence and concrete skills. Now our sterling record has led us to dream even bigger in our bold new mission and vision statements, Dr. Moore says in his blog, Endless Prospects for the CDA. We’re now striving to empower early childhood teachers so they can help all little girls, and boys, have choices and be whatever they want to be. That’s what teachers are made for, and they know it after earning a CDA.

Our best wishes to Barbie lovers worldwide,

The Council for Professional Recognition



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