Council Letter

April 24, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

Have you ever tried to help a young child cope when a loved one is away from home? This can be tricky, according to Megan, an educator who worked at an Army installation in the Midwest. One day, she noticed that Kayla, normally a social child, was keeping her head down, staying quiet and refusing to play. She wasn’t sick, as the school nurse confirmed. Still Kayla remained silent, even when Megan took her aside for a comforting chat. Finally, Kayla was ready to share while waiting for her ride home. Looking up with a sad face, she told Megan, “I don’t like the Army. It’s going to take my dad away.”

Kayla is one of thousands of children who contend with the trials of life in the service. And it’s time to honor their struggles and resilience as we mark Month of the Military Child. When a parent is in the service, the whole family is in the service, as an Army wife explained in a 2016 action thriller, The Accountant, which portrays a young boy on the autism spectrum. And some military children have behavioral issues due to a lifestyle that can make it hard to develop and learn. Military children may be apart from a deployed parent, like Kayla was, or even lose one to combat. They face constant moves, losing friends and fitting in at a new school. So, military kids may need added support, and this month we feature two educators who know how to help the children be all they can be.

Samantha Meyer’s dad was in the Army, and her background as a military child has assisted her as a preschool teacher at an Air Force base in Alaska. Samantha’s CDA® training has also equipped her with tips on how to help children adjust to a new place. “Some of the kids are shy,” she says, “so I ask parents if there is a comfort item, like a stuffed animal or family photo, that the children can bring from home. And we work with the children one-on-one until they feel more comfortable in the classroom. Fortunately, preschool children are resilient.” In time, they prove the truth of an Army saying, “Military children are like dandelions because they can grow wherever they’re planted.”

It’s easier for military children to bloom if they have qualified teachers like those with a CDA, says Gerri-Lynn Ballard, president and CEO of FOCUS ON CHILDREN, a nonprofit that trains educators around Washington, DC. Decades ago, Gerri-Lynn was an educator at Andrews Air Force Base, where she saw the impact of military life on young learners “Children had to make big transitions when their families went overseas,” she recalls. “Then, when the children returned to the states, they needed teachers who could help them adapt to a new learning environment. And CDA holders had the skills to help the children overcome their roadblocks. That’s why I’ve always been such a big believer in the CDA.”

And no one believes more in the CDA than Dr. Calvin E. Moore, Jr., as he tells us in Loving and Embracing the Differences in Our Youngest Learners. He speaks as a former teacher and CDA holder when he recalls that “my CDA training gave me the skills to develop strategies for children who had learning challenges,” as many military children do. And Dr. Moore also saw the challenges that military parents face since he’s an Air Force veteran. The experience showed him how much service members value child care, he recalls in his new blog. And the military can meet parents’ needs because it has built a child care system based on comprehensive standards, credentialed staff and subsidies for child care.

These requirements make the military child care system a model for the civilian sector. And we should keep its high standards in mind this month as we also mark Week of the Young Child, a time to focus on the needs of young learners. Efforts are underway, like the Advancing Early Education Collaborative in DC, to provide our nation’s children with the qualified early childhood teachers they need. Read about the Collaborative to understand why our educators and children need more initiatives like this. Teachers who are classroom ready can help children combat—and overcome—any trials that they may face.

Happy Month of the Military Child,

The Council for Professional Recognition


Recently Posted:

Blog - Text Search
Blog - Category Search
Blog - Search by Tags
Blog - Publish Date