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Archive for the ‘Early educators’ Category

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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Melissa Perry

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

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My name is Melissa Perry. I currently reside in Salem, Mass., and I am newly employed at the Salem YMCA. I’ve been in early childcare education for just a little over 12 years.

To ensure any level of job satisfaction, this field requires a love of children. The most important benefit of being a childcare worker is the satisfaction of knowing I am providing quality care in the preschool setting where children can learn and practice the language and skills they will need to develop and grow.

I am proud to be a part of a group of individuals who do what they do because they love the job and the students, not because of the desire for a dollar. I am proud to be in a position where I am a mentor for those who need it, or a much-needed, positive authority figure to help guide the way. I like being part of something that people can’t possibly understand until they set foot in a classroom and teach. (more…)

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Screenshot of “Ideas and Innovations in Early Childhood Education” website

 

There’s a new early education organization in town called, “Ideas and Innovations In Early Childhood Education.”

Founded by early educator Theodore Kokoros, it’s a local think tank that’s funneling the voices of early educators and parents of young children into the public debate.

“While early childhood education and care is getting more attention from politicians and the media,” the organization’s website explains, “too often those shaping policy and discussions related to early childhood education and care are not the people who are more directly involved with the work. This think tank’s goal is to share the research and perspectives of people who work directly with young children.”

The think tank’s website features articles on a range of topics, including teaching practices, proposed legislation, research trends, literature reviews, brain science, and other early education-related news. (more…)

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Shelby Holt

 

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

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My name is Shelby Holt and I work as a K2 Teacher & Grade Level Leader at Match Community Day Public Charter School in Hyde Park, Mass. I studied early childhood education at university; however, I’ve been in the field since I was 16!

After my father’s encouragement to discover a fitting career path during high school (maybe so I’d remain a bit more focused on my studies!!), I found my first internship at a Head Start program in Framingham, Mass. Since then I’ve remained passionate about early childhood education: I’ve been teaching and leading in Massachusetts, New York, and London since 2008. (And being a big sister — I’d like to think that I’ve been an early childhood educator since 1990.)

I feel an adrenaline rush each morning when my alarm goes off. As I drive to school I make a myriad of decisions for how the classroom will feel and look that day. Every job is important, but being an early childhood educator means that I get to help all the children in my class prepare to be successful in the future. I’m sure anyone reading this can recall a particular moment from their time in kindergarten. So much of it is magically formative. I remind myself that each day I could cause a breakthrough memory in a little heart. (more…)

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