This is the first in a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.
Today is also National Worthy Wage Day, a grassroots public awareness campaign that’s jointly coordinated by the Center for the Child Care Workforce and the American Federation of Teachers. The campaigns goal is to raise awareness of:
• the low wages earned by early childhood educators, and,
• the damaging effects on young children of instability from the on-going teacher-retention crisis and from chronic underfunding of early education.
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Susan LaCroix is an early educator and benefits from the Department of Early Education and Care’s (EEC) Educator and Provider Support Grant. This post is based on the public testimony she gave at an EEC Board meeting held on Tuesday, April 14, 2015.
What started out as a part-time job became my passion.
My Name is Susan LaCroix. I work as an early educator at the GLCAC Inc. Child Care Center located in Lawrence. I began my career in the field of early childhood education in June of 1987. I started working at this Center and have been here ever since.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my experiences with the Region 3 Educator and Provider Support (EPS) grant partnership.
Each day I wake up so overwhelmed with pride and appreciation for the opportunities I have been provided to further my education.
I have been fortunate enough to earn my bachelor’s degree with licensure through DESE and will soon be graduating with my MA degree in Education from Merrimack College, through the partnership with the Region 3 EPS grant.
I am a stronger, more knowledgeable, ethical educator. I have a solid foundation of child development.
I understand what children need for school readiness and know how to help them get there.
Every day I walk into the Center where I work in Lawrence and I know I am making a greater impact on the children’s and families’ lives.
With that being said, I want you to know what a huge impact going back to school has had on my personal life. I am the first in my family to graduate from college.
Years ago I would have never thought it was possible since I dropped out of high school. But with the help of the ECE Scholarship and region 3 EPS grant funds I have grown so much.
I am overwhelmed with pride when students I had in my preschool classroom come back and visit when they are older and I get to see how they have grown into such well-rounded young men and young women and I hear of their accomplishments. I know I made an impact on their lives enough for them to come and share their news with me.
When I began my journey in higher education I was a young single mother living in public housing. Today I am earning my master’s degree and own my home in Andover.
Policymakers should understand that the programs that support higher education not only affect the future of young children, but strongly impact the lives and professionalism of early childhood workers.