I’d like to share a little bit about my experiences in early childhood and how this blog came about.
Truth be told, I wanted to be a spy. I took French and Russian classes in college, hoping to one day get tapped on the shoulder by the CIA. Then, when I was a sophomore, my mother drove to my college to tell me that outgoing, chubby girls with curly hair are rarely picked to be operatives. She suggested I take education courses in case I needed something to fall back on, and voila! I became an educator!
In the 30 years since, I have been fortunate enough to work in virtually every aspect of this field. I ran a family home daycare, worked as a kindergarten teacher, curriculum specialist, preschool director, regional director and national trainer.
On my very first day as a preschool director (many years ago) I spilled a cup of coffee all over myself just as a new parent came into my office, anxious about starting her two-year-old. I was soaking wet and mortified. You should have seen my brand new blouse! Being my mother's daughter and covered in hot coffee, a stream of inappropriate and colorful words came flying out of my mouth.
On the second day, I had unscheduled visits from both childcare licensing and the health department. It appeared that the same mother, horrified by something she heard from her son’s teacher, called in two complaints. The visit from licensing yielded three pages of changes that had to be made within 30 days.
On the evening of that second day, I called the owner of the school, and begged him to let me quit. He told me no. He did, however, offer me an additional 50 cents an hour if I stayed.
Thanks, Mr. Ron. Smart move.
Fast forward to today. I’ve been doing capacity building with preschools across the United States for more than two decades. I love helping directors and teachers, but my heart will always be in a classroom, watching four-year-old princesses and pirates negotiate the dragon in the block corner or the thunderous waves near housekeeping. I think that’s one of the reasons I am also a face painter, and why I can make pretty cool princess and pirate faces!
When working with caregivers I am often asked, "Can you just write down what you say to parents (or teachers)? It makes so much sense when you say it, but I can never remember it when I need it." (If they only knew the words I spewed on my very first day!)
I wrote my first book, Monday Memo: Creating Change in Early Childhood Education as a way to give teachers and directors those ‘words’ they asked about. Published last fall, it has developed quite a following by staff book clubs and parent/teacher learning nights.
My friends say that I am a connector. I’d love to connect with teachers and parents of young children to share our varied interests, experiences, skills and to network and learn from each other. I hope this blog becomes a regular place for us to share stories about working with young children. I invite you to tell me a little about yourself, your experiences or ask a question. Let’s get started building a community of learners!
So, about you: What’s your name? Where do you live? Are you a teacher? A parent? A director? All three? What’s your favorite part about working with young children? Or, did you ever want to be a spy?