Council Letter

May 27, 2021

Appreciating ECE Teachers Today and Every Day

Dear Colleagues,

Early childhood providers faced exceptional challenges this year. They’ve watched dwindling enrollment hurt the businesses that they have worked so hard to build. Some have taken onerous safety measures to keep their doors open amid the pandemic. Other educators have stepped up to give parents resources and guidance so children can keep on learning at home.

Still, they don’t tend to get the public kudos they deserve, as we show in our blog, Caring Across Generations. So, this month stood out as we marked a special week and day. May 3rd was the start of Teacher Appreciation Week, a timely recognition of those who helped get us all through the crisis, as Dr. Calvin Moore points out. May 7th was Child Care Provider Appreciation Day, an occasion to highlight the committed folks who serve America’s working parents.

Our early childhood teachers have the competence to take on this role, thanks to people like Linda Davis, CEO of Justus ECE Professional Development and longtime owner of a family child care home in Atlanta. Linda knows that success in ECE depends on keeping up with the field and caring about the people you serve. “You have to love the families,” she says, “and give them the support they need”—though it might mean sacrifices on your part.

Keshia Jenkins takes this lesson to heart in Tallahassee by working as a family child care provider on weekends and at night. “I provide care to a lot of parents who work in hospitals, law enforcement or Walmart and don’t have traditional hours. There aren’t a lot of providers who offer that kind of care in my area, so I provide it to parents who need it,” as Keshia explains.

Educators like her fill an essential role, yet the sacrifices they make have largely gone unnoticed. So, it’s good to see that their work has come to the silver screen in the documentary Through the Night. This month, Dr. Moore gives his thoughts on this real-life portrait of a 24-hour day care in New Rochelle, just north of Manhattan. The film stars Deloris and Patrick Hogan, who run Dee’s Tots Childcare seven days a week out of their home. It also features some of the families who rely on them, including a nurse and a woman who holds down three jobs just to make ends meet.

Serving families like these has taken a toll on Deloris, whose back aches from picking up babies and whose heart aches from hearing families’ woes. Though providers like her have long toiled in the shadows, the Council is striving to shine a spotlight on their work. Soon we’ll also be putting a lens on home visiting programs, and we urge you to join us on June 25th for a special home visitor session. It will feature a panel of experts from the Children’s Equity Coalition, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start and Parents as Teachers.

These days, parents are often their kids’ only teachers, leading to angst about learning loss among children. Now our early childhood teachers have a critical role to play in combatting the COVID slide. Sure, the celebration of their achievements is over, but our teachers’ work is just beginning. As the country revives, we should appreciate our providers every day. Their competence and their commitment will be the keys to getting young learners back on track.

With daily thanks for all you do,
The Council for Professional Recognition

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