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Archive for the ‘Early educators’ Category

A Montessori student and Janet Begin

 

“Leading the Way,” is a series featuring the next generation of leaders in the field of early education and care.

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Janet Begin was a computer engineer for ten years. She worked at AT&T Bell Labs.

“I always knew I wanted to go into education,” Begin, a Haverhill resident, says. “But I knew I liked computers, and I was good at that, so I started there because it was more profitable than education. That’s the sad reality.”

Eventually her company offered a buyout — and tuition benefits. Begin took both and went back to school. She earned a master’s degree in education from Lesley University. She became a substitute teacher in Haverhill where she lived. And she started looking for a preschool program for her daughter.

“In my search, I found a Montessori school, and basically it changed my world,” Begin said. (more…)

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Last week, New America, a Washington, D.C., think tank, hosted a policy event called, “At the Breaking Point: How to Better Compensate and Support Teachers of Our Youngest Learners.”

It was a panel discussion on workforce challenges that you can watch by clicking on the video above or by clicking here. (The event starts at the 7:38 time mark.)

“Teaching and caring for young children is skilled and challenging work. Yet current conditions cause many early childhood educators to come to work each morning exhausted, worried about how to pay their bills, and even clinically depressed,” New America says. (more…)

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Amanda Medeiros

My name is Amanda Medeiros, and I work at the Lowell Collaborative Preschool Academy.

I have worked in the field of early education and care for eight years, and I love what I do. I help children learn to express their feelings and learn that it is okay to feel different emotions. I help them grow and become independent. I always support families as well. I am here for the parents just as much as I am for children. It can be hard when parents see their children growing, so I help them adjust and understand that it is all normal.

What I’m most proud of as an early educator is seeing children make progress. I love when I hear a child express themselves, especially when I know that is difficult for them. I see children go from not being able to hold a crayon to writing their name in full. It is very rewarding. (more…)

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Early educator Kayla Pinto. (This photograph was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.)

 

It can be challenging for early educators to go to college. They often have to squeeze in classes, keep up with homework, keep working, and pay tuition.

But as writer and developmental psychologist Suzanne Bouffard explains in a Hechinger Report article, innovative public policies and programs can help — and Massachusetts is one example of how.

Bouffard’s article — “To boost preschool quality, Massachusetts invests in college degrees for teachers” — starts by telling the story of Kayla Pinto, who “knew she had found her calling from the first day she taught preschool at the YMCA in Somerville, Massachusetts.”

Pinto had “grown up attending programs at the Y in this small city just north of Boston, and she started working there when she was 14. But it wasn’t until her early 20s, when she was asked to fill in for an absent preschool teacher, that she realized how much she connected with young children.” (more…)

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Efrain Ponce

This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Efrain Ponce and I work at the Lowell Collaborative Preschool Academy. I have been in the field of early education for 10 years.

The job that I do is important because we are teaching the foundations of education. Not only are we teaching academics, but we also teach children how to be respectful, good citizens. We help parents by coaching them on what advocating for their child means and how to do it. Personally, I want to make sure that when children and their families leave my classroom, they are prepared for the public school system and know what resources are available to them.

One of my proudest moments was working with a child who was in my care a few years back. He was 4 years old when he came into the program, and I worked with him and his mom for the next year. By the end of the program when it was time for him to graduate, mom thanked me for being a strong male role model for him because he didn’t have one. The child even came back for two more years for after-school care and only wanted to come into my room. This experience made me realize how much of an impact an educator can have on children and their families. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Last week Boston hosted HUBweek, an annual festival of ideas that attracts “innovators from all around the world” who come together to talk about art, education, science, and technology. And this year, early education was on the agenda.

A session titled “Build Baby Build! Finding Solutions for Affordable Childcare,” was a hackathon – a brainstorming session — about how to change negative perceptions of early education and of early educators.

“I opened the session by talking about widespread views of early educators that aren’t necessarily flattering such as thinking of them as babysitters and how this devalues the field overall,” Anne Douglass says. “We then invited participants to break up into smaller groups and think of ways to change this prevailing mindset.” (more…)

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This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Lesley Byrne, and I work as a pre-K teacher in the Lowell Public Schools. I had worked in early childhood education for seven years when, in 1993, the Lowell initiated the first pre-K programs in its schools. I knew this was where I wanted to be, as I have always believed that providing a positive, first-school experience for families can lead to future school success. I was excited to work toward offering these experiences for children and families. 

For a few years, I was involved in The Family Literacy Program, a collaboration between the Lowell Adult Education program and the Early Childhood Education program. Imagine you’re a parent who is new to this country. You don’t understand English or American culture. Now imagine sending your child to a “foreign” school! The Family Literacy Program aimed to support these families. The program offered classes in English as a Second Language to parents of pre-K children. As one of the pre-K teachers at this time, I got to use my skills not only to educate and support the children in my class, but also to work with parents on how to support their child’s learning at home. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career.  (more…)

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