“I am an Early Childhood Professional, not a babysitter. I NEVER once sat on a baby!” (NCaeyc)
Hello to each and every Early Childhood Teacher in Larimer County, in Colorado!! It is such an amazing opportunity to walk along side of you, to work with many of you personally and be part of a movement for the recognition of Early Childhood Education. Early Childhood Educators are fighting to be recognized for the incredibly important work that occurs every day in classrooms, programs, and personal home living rooms across the county, the state, and the nation. You are caring for our youngest population; the population who will one day be caring for us as we age and lead our communities to great places. You are laying the foundation for the future generation. You are amazing, wonderful and so incredibly important, especially during these unprecedented times.
“Our task is to help children communicate with the world using all of their potential, strengths, and languages and to overcome any obstacle presented by our culture.” (Loris Malaguzzi) During this unsettling time, the youngest members of our community need the love and support from each of you to help them make some sense of what is going in their world. They can feel and sense that life is different but cannot yet fully communicate their questions, thoughts, and fears in verbal ways. This is where your responsive and sensitive care is so critical for young children to be able overcome these obstacles they are faced with today and every day. In addition, your love and support for their parents and caregivers is even more important during this time as they too try to understand, cope, care for, and survive during this time. This does not sound much different from what you do on a “normal” day. You already do this every day. Building relationships between children, families, and coworkers is what you do! This is what makes the call to early childhood essential during this time.
“I am a Preschool Teacher. What’s your superpower?” (Author Unknown) Essential personnel is phrase that we continue to hear during this time. There are people with specific skill sets that are called into action to help. They are called into action to put their best foot forward and give all they can give. You are a part of that call. It is not always evident in postings, news conferences, and other reports but YOU are a part of that call to action. It is your “superpower” to be called to care for the children that you have grown to love. It is your “superpower” to go into the trenches and invite families into your programs and homes during a time when you yourself have so many questions, thoughts, and fears. It is within your superpower to care and love children who are not your own and to give them a place where they feel safe, loved, and cared for every day. This sense of security for children provides the sense of peace for their parents so they can go do what they do every day!! This SUPERPOWER is what you do EVERY DAY!!
Wow, what an honor it is to be an Early Childhood Teacher!!
“They may forget what you said. But they will not forget how you made them feel.” (Carl W. Buechner) The children that are in your care today most likely will not remember all that took place during the spring of 2020. They may remember bits and pieces of conversations, remember seeing the news on (a lot!), and have memories that they do not quite understand. I can assure you that they will never forget how you made them feel. They will never forget how you helped them each day to have a routine, a familiar place to play, a nutritious meal, a quiet place to rest, countless hugs (they do not understand the 6ft rule), time to play outside, and a home away from home. They will remember your familiar face, your smile, your laugh, and how you danced and sang with them. Their memories of time with you will be of warmth and personal touch as you held and comforted them when they were scared, happy, sad and mad. It will become a part of the fabric that builds their character. Your actions today (and every day) will always have an impact on who there are today and who they will become tomorrow. Again, what an honor it is to be a part of their world.
“While we try to teach our children about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” (Author Unknown) You are critical part of their world. You are brain builders. You want to give children all the opportunities and experiences you can in this life. It can sometimes feel daunting and overwhelming to have this level or responsibility. It is a big responsibility but you have help. They teach us just as much as you teach them, maybe more. They are amazing when it comes what is truly important in life. For a moment, I want you think about what the children in your care teach you about life. In the loud moments of play, what do you learn about joy and happiness? During quiet times of the day, what do they teach you about reflection and rest? In those sweet moments, what do they teach you about relationships and love? When they struggle, what do they teach you about emotions and expression? As they play outside, what do they teach you about the little things in nature? It is astounding to think about. It puts life into perspective.
“The first five years have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out.” (Bill Gates) In closing, I want to remind you that what you do MATTERS! Not just today but every day that you choose to care for young children. You are essential personnel. You are a critical player. You are called to use your superpower every day. Others in field know your value in the grand scheme of life. The world is starting to notice even more the valuable role you play in the success of our future. Do you know your value? I hope you do. “A true hero isn’t measure by the size of their strength, but the strength of their heart.” (Author Unknown)
You are an Early Childhood Educator. Wear this badge of honor proudly for all to see.
-Heather Soderberg, Early Childhood Coach, ECCLC