How does a preschool teacher change public policy?
For Megina Baker, the process started with always having wanted to be a teacher. A college graduate of Cornell University, she studied abroad in Sweden and did a practicum in a Swedish preschool.
“I sort of fell for how creative teachers can be and how capable the children are,” Baker says of her career, which also includes earning a master’s degree in early childhood education at Tufts University and years of teaching in Sweden and in the Boston area.
No two days in a preschool classroom are ever the same, Baker said, adding what could be a motto for teachers and parents: “You have to be very flexible in order to figure out what is interesting to each child.”
Several years ago, Baker went to a MassAEYC conference and attended an advocacy session run by Strategies for Children. She’d been looking for a way to connect to the policy world.
At the end of this session, Baker says, participants were asked to commit to one action: write to a state senator, participate in the Rising Stars program, or testify at a State House hearing on a bill that was being proposed at the time, An Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency.
“And I thought, ‘I could do that,’” Baker said of testifying.
She packed up examples of children’s work, eager to explain to legislators what “embedded, authentic early literacy experiences” look like. (more…)