Council Letter: “I am a Woman Phenomenally.”

March 22, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” We all know what Neil Armstrong said when he set foot on the moon in 1968. But we should also remember the words of the women who have explored the reaches of space. “A bird cannot fly with one wing only,” said Valentina Tereshkova, who entered the history books in 1963 as the first woman to orbit the earth. “Human space flight cannot develop any further without the active participation of women,” she warned. And Tereshkova was right, according to Sally Ride, who spent seven days in space during 1983. “If we want scientists and engineers in the future,” Ride said, “we should be cultivating the girls as much as the boys.” And “we should recognize how important it is to explore for all and by all,” said Kristina Koch who joined in the first female spacewalk during the last week of Women’s History Month in 2019.

“I think the historical nature of what we’re doing is important,” Koch said, “because in the past, women haven’t always been at the table.” And as we mark Women’s History Month this year, we want to recognize two women who have claimed a seat at the table to help all young people learn and have the skills to explore their promise. They’re both immigrant teachers, and it’s especially fitting that we feature them as we also honor International Women’s Day this March.

It’s a time for inspiring women to step into leadership roles, like Marjorie Silvestrini has in Massachusetts. After studying early childhood education in Brazil, she went on to open her own family child care home in this country, became a PD Specialist for Portuguese-speaking teachers and formed a support group that convinced the state to offer free trainings for Brazilians in their native language. “This was a huge step for our community,” Marjorie says. And she’s helping it make added strides by serving on the Mass Bay Community College Education Program Advisory Board, where she pushes for needed changes in family child care policies and regulations.

Marjorie is convinced we need to increase the pool of bilingual early childhood teachers, and so is Carime Ruvalcaba, a native of Mexico who runs the only bilingual early childhood program in Grand Island, Nebraska. “I want to show other bilingual providers that they can succeed, too,” Carime says. So, she works to boost the ranks of bilingual teachers by serving as a member of the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Leadership Cadre and by joining the campaign Por Todos los Niños, a collaboration between state and community groups to give all Nebraska families the access they need to high-quality child care. Carime also leads a support group to help Hispanic providers earn their CDA® because she knows that “having a CDA is a guarantee to parents that a teacher can provide good services for their children.”

Teachers who have a CDA also know how to make learning fun, and we hope you’ll have some fun reading our blog Messages from the Movies. See how films about literate spiders, lonely, little pigs and not-so-lovely nannies can entertain children while giving them lessons about life, love and loss. Children can learn the power of language from Charlotte’s Web and the importance of family from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They’ll realize there are no limits to what they can do from Babe. And they’ll see how good behavior makes the world more beautiful for all when they watch Nanny McPhee.

Nanny McPhee uses magic to get her message across, but good teachers know more down-to-earth ways to impart prosocial behavior to children. That’s just one of the ways teachers can make a mark since you don’t know where teaching can take you, as Dr. Moore tells us this month. It could lead you to become CEO of a nonprofit, as he did, or it could help you become an astronaut, like Christa McAuliffe, who took a giant leap for womankind as NASA’s “first Teacher in Space.” And while preparing to reach the stars, she expressed the value of her profession. “I touch the future,” as McAuliffe told the world. “I teach.”


With our kindest regards,
The Council for Professional Recognition


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