February 2023 Council Letter: Honoring the Past and Celebrating the Future with Kindness

February 22, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted,” as Aesop said many centuries ago. And his words remained true as we marked Random Acts of Kindness Day this month. There are a wide range of small but significant ways in which to make the world a little bit kinder. You can share your favorite book with someone and read it to a child. You can be a good listener and smile. You can sing an uplifting song and go above and beyond what’s expected of you. You can send an encouraging email, share a healthy habit and teach young children to be kind to each other—all things our early childhood teachers do every day.

Kindness is at the heart of equity in early learning, according to Berol Dewdney, Maryland Teacher of the Year. She works with children in an underserved part of Baltimore, MD, and she’s committed to bringing out the greatness she sees in every student. “I want to give people the unconditional love that lets them go out in the world, take risks and do all the things that need to be done,” Berol says “Feeling that kind of love makes people unstoppable, like the many amazing students who’ve inspired me to be a leader. I think the love I have for them is a superpower that makes everything possible,” Berol explains. And she’s now using her public platform to inspire other members of the early childhood profession. “I want to help teachers grow their brains and give their hearts,” she says, “to make the world a better place for children.”

This is also the goal of Janiecka Brown, who guides and mentors rising teachers as a PD Specialist, college instructor and child care center manager at the Community Action Council of Howard County, MD. Janiecka is committed to helping folks earn their CDA® and surmount any roadblocks they face along the way. As a PD Specialist, for instance, she makes a conscious effort to help candidates relax. “I know people are nervous when they go through observations,” she explains, “so I tell them I’m still in the field and I’m not sitting here trying to judge you. I’m simply here to help you. We’re equals because we’re both professionals in ECE.”

Maryland needs more people like this to carry out its ongoing plan to provide pre-K for all, and the Council believes all children have a civil right to high-quality early childhood education. There’s no one more convinced of this than Dr. Calvin Moore, who urges readers to mark Black History Month this year by taking their children to a museum. His blog explores the way museums depict the Black experience in this country, ranging from the tribulations of enslavement to the trials of the civil rights movement and the triumphs of accomplished Black figures in fields ranging from politics to poetry, education to economics.

The Black experience, as honored in museums, reveals scenes of both celebration and struggle, as Dr. Moore points out. And children may not grasp everything they’re seeing. Still, “children have a lot of instincts about what’s fair and unfair,” Dr. Moore says. And one way to show their sense of right and wrong is by doing random acts of kindness this month. Children can play with someone new, say thank you, give a hug and let someone go first—all small things that count, as Morgan Freeman explained. “How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.” And whatever your age, you can find ways to be caring, considerate and kind.

With our kindest regards,
The Council for Professional Recognition

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