We usually blog about the policy side of preschool. So, we were struck by “The Preschool Podcast: For Leaders in Early Childhood Education,” which strikes a powerful personal note in its recent podcast, “Impact of High-Quality Pre-K Programs.”
Don’t be fooled by the plain name. In this episode, lawyer Liz Huntley recalls her own harrowing history and her very personal reasons for supporting early education.
“I’m passionate about it because I’m actually a product of it. I grew up in a situation that no child should have ever survived. And if it hadn’t been for early childhood I certainly would not be a successful lawyer today.”
“Both my parents were drug dealers,” Huntley says. She lived with her mother, father, and four siblings in a housing project in Huntsville, Alabama. Huntley and her siblings were the product of her mother’s relationships with four different men.
“A kid doesn’t realize that they’re in dysfunction,” Huntley says. “But when I was five, my mother ended up committing suicide after my Dad went to prison for dealing drugs.” Huntley lived with a grandparent in another housing project and dealt with sexual abuse in that household. She became withdrawn and introverted.
Her grandmother sent her to a preschool program with a pretty room and licensed teachers — and that changed her life. “In that program, I thrived,” she says. “I was just really responding to the love I received from the teachers, the nurturing, the ways they got excited about how I learned.”
It was free, funded by a local community action grant. And “it was so catering to little kids.”
School was a haven.
“I actually felt relevant. I felt like someone cared… Someone was excited when I learned new things… That was a game changer for my life.”
It was the start of an education that helped her “break the cycle of poverty in my family.”
Other early educators talk about their lives and professional challenges in other episodes. Lori Buxton, Executive Associate of PROEEA, Professional Early Education Associates, an organization in Houston, Texas, talks about recruiting preschool staff members.
Another episode features Rob Young, the host and creator of Preschool Prodigies, talking about how to teach music to very young children.
The Preschool Podcast is sponsored by HiMama, a child care software company. Its goal is to “provide knowledge and inspiration to the future leaders of early childhood education by speaking with experienced and insightful leaders in the world of preschool and early learning today.”
Mission accomplished. Check it out.