Council Letter

May 22, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

Child care providers and moms are partners, as you know from working in the early learning field. They work in tandem to help young children bloom. So, it’s nice that they both received well-deserved kudos this month nationwide. Provider Appreciation Day took place on May 10, shortly before Mother’s Day on May 12, when we honored all the effort and love that moms pour into their kids. And many working mothers depend on providers to help ensure that their children are happy, learning and secure. So, child care providers serve the public good and boost the economy for us all by letting more women hold jobs.

“Child care providers do the work that makes all other work possible. They keep our children safe, nurture their curiosity and prepare them for a lifetime of learning and growth,” said Michelle McCready, deputy CEO of Child Care Aware of America, a Virginia nonprofit and a leading voice for the child care workforce. “Together with our network of child care resource and referral agencies, and nonprofit and business partners, we invite you to join us in thanking and celebrating providers across the nation.”

And in the spirit of the season, special thanks should go to those who are both providers and moms. So, this month, we feature two early childhood professionals who have fulfilled this dual role. They have something else in common because they both began their careers by earning a Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential™ and have close ties to Head Start.

Danielle Evans is a mom of seven and a home visitor for Early Head Start in Sandusky, MI, where she serves families in a very rural part of the state. Danielle’s reason for earning a CDA® was to advance her professional life. Then she found that it also had an impact on her personal life. “The behavior classes I took as part of my CDA,” she says, “showed me what certain behaviors mean in the classroom. They also helped me understand my own children’s behavior better, so the CDA improved me as a mom.”

Dr. Kay Hamlin had a similar thought while earning her CDA in the early eighties. “Knowing the reasons why you do certain things with children makes you a better parent,” as Hamlin came to see as a Head Start mom in Booneville, NC. “The CDA also opened doors for me,” Hamlin says, “and I became a Head Start teacher supervisor and district education coordinator by the time my sons were ready to attend college.” She, too, began college at age 39 and earned her Ph.D. at the age of 50. Her dissertation was on Head Start parents who became teachers, and it reflected her own journey from mom with a high school diploma to a professor of education who has opened doors to many promising early childhood teachers.

Their work doesn’t just make a positive impact on individual children and families. Our educators contribute to communities and help build the future for us all, an idea that increasingly makes the news. Yet it isn’t new. Eleanor Roosevelt made the point in the 1940s as an advocate of government-sponsored child care and education. Roosevelt’s views reached millions since she wrote a popular column, My Day, from 1935 to 1962. And in 1953, she called on readers to give teachers more of the credit and compensation they were due. “Next to parents, they are the most important people in our communities,” Roosevelt declared. And she convinced Congress to set aside a special day for honoring teachers. Over time, that day has become Teacher Appreciation Week, as Dr. Calvin Moore relates in his blog.

This month, as usual, communities nationwide marked the week by bringing teachers flowers, muffins and mugs. But teachers need more, as Dr. Moore points out. They’re now fleeing the teaching field at record rates due to stagnant pay and few avenues for career advancement. So, it’s time to do more than give kudos and act on the belief that teachers serve the public good. We need to give our teachers what they really want: the respect, raises and room for professional growth that will really make their day.

With our appreciation for you,
The Council for Professional Recognition

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