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Archive for the ‘Higher Education’ Category

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: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Child care can be expensive for working parents, but it’s even more of a financial burden for parents who are in college. To ease this burden, the U.S. Department of Education awards grants to help low-income college students.

It’s a vivid example of how helping parents manage the high cost of child care also helps them — and their children — succeed in school and in life.

Among the challenges that parent/students face is “time poverty,” according to an Inside Higher Ed article, which cites a study that says: “Students with preschool-age children had only about 10 hours per day to dedicate to schoolwork, sleeping, eating and leisure activities, compared to the 21 hours that childless students had.”

The article adds:

“Congress increased federal investment in financial aid for student parents in 2016 by upping the funding for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program (CCAMPIS), a federal aid program for student parents, from $15 million to $50 million annually.” (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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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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Mary Frances Kroyak and her sons.

 

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

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My name is Mary Frances Kroyak. The children call me Miss Fran. I work for Cape Cod Child Development in West Yarmouth, Mass. I have been teaching for three years.

As a teacher, I know that children’s brains develop at the fastest rate from birth to age five. Because of this, children not only need to learn ABC’s and 1-2-3’s, but also what their feelings are and how to deal with them. Children need to learn how to socialize and react when working and playing with their peers in a group. Learning these lessons early will help them throughout their lives.

Professionally, I am most proud of the relationships I develop with the children. I love when they come up to me and tell me about their day or something they found amazing that they have learned. One of my favorite things to do is sit at circle time and ask them what they learned this week. For instance, I was doing a unit on crabs. This one little boy drew a blue crab. I told him it looked like an Atlantic blue crab. I showed him pictures of them online. I also asked him if he knew where the Atlantic Ocean is. He said “No.” I asked hm if he knew where the beach he went to with mommy was (we live on Cape Cod). He told me, Yes, he remembered. I told him that was the Atlantic Ocean. He smiled with an expression of surprise and exclaimed “No Way! I swam with the blue crabs? Cool!!” (more…)

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Shamica Dade

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

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My name is Shamica Dade. I am the lead teacher/director at Square One in the Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) Program on Main Street in Springfield, Mass. I have been in this field for almost 20 years.

Early education and care is the foundation for all future learning. At this stage in life children learn to trust their educators and make connections with peers in a safe and secure setting. It is very important for me to make the children and families in my classroom feel that we are a family, and that we support and lean on each other. That connection and bond allows the parents to feel empowered, which is a skill they will need throughout the education of their child. Children feel loved and important and that they matter. These feelings will help to shape how they see themselves and their role in their education.

For me, every child should feel in charge of their learning, and every parent should feel that they are in a partnership with their children’s teachers. These are the skills and feelings I try to develop in every family that I work with. I learn just as much from each family as they learn from me. (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 Sheri Rios and I am the Preschool Director for the Elizabeth Peabody House (EPH) preschool in Somerville, Mass. I have worked for EPH for 18 years.

I have always felt a connection with children, “I get them and they get me.” My very first job, when I was 14, was babysitting, and I have been on that path ever since. I did two years of early childhood education at Somerville High School, and I worked as an assistant at EPH’s Peabody Ames Preschool. I returned to EPH a few years later after I had my first child. I worked my way up from preschool teacher, to lead teacher, and then director.

My childhood was tumultuous, and I lived in foster homes for two years as a teenager because of abuse and neglect. I feel that time in my life has molded me into the parent, educator and director I am today. I was blessed to have my Nana in my life becasue for every horrible thing that would happen, she would make up for it with love and affirmation. I realized that every child needs at least one person in their life who loves them unconditionally. (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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Stacey Reese

My name is Stacey Reese and I am currently a lead teacher for Cape Cod Child Development. I have been a preschool teacher for a little over 5 ½ years but have had my hand in educating young children for over 18 years.

So many people spend their whole lives trying to figure out who they are and what they want to do, but I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to be a teacher. Being a Head Start teacher is no easy feat. It requires patience, diligence, heart and dedication.

My primary goal as the lead teacher is not only to implement daily curriculums and activities, but to provide a safe, fun, caring learning environment for all my students. Head Start provides comprehensive early education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low income families. The program is inclusive and helps those who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunities to succeed. Being part of such a wonderful program helps me to be more focused on my own goals.

I learned that being a good teacher means connecting with children on their own level. I have learned to recognize exactly what motivates a child, how to hold their interest, and most importantly, how to make learning fun, which is so important in a Head Start classroom. This takes perseverance, determination, and a huge commitment to my passion.  (more…)

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Rebecca Ruiz

 

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

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I run my own childcare service directly from my home. In September, I will have been in the education and care field for eight years.

I support children by creating an academically and emotionally supportive environment. I do this by scaffolding lessons that educate the whole child, by giving my daycare children the tools they need to be socially and emotionally successful, and by creating a welcoming environment for all families.

I’ve had many Yes! I know you can do it moments in my career, and every single one of them can be considered my most proud moment. Most of these moments occur when I see the skills that my daycare children have acquired through hard work and persistence, such as when a child learns how to walk, say their first word, trace their name, and read their first word. (more…)

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