Like so many others in the early childhood education field, I’ve taken the nontraditional route to get to where I am today. In high school, I completed the Human Services course at the vocational center and two weeks after graduation, I became a child care provider. While raising my kids and working fulltime, I obtained my associates degree from the Community College of Vermont and then my bachelor’s degree from Johnson State College.
In March, with support from the Northern Lights Professional Development Center, I earned my early childhood teaching license from the Vermont Department of Education, which had been one of my goals for many years. One requirement for the license was that I document all of my experiences from 30 years in the field, which allowed me an opportunity to reflect on my career. I’ve worked with every age group—in the school system as a special educator assistant; in centers as lead preschool teacher, lead infant teacher, early childhood program coordinator; and now as a registered family child care provider in my own home.
I love being in my own home, not just because it’s a smaller environment, but because it feels more personal. I’m here at 7 AM when kids come in so that I get to touch base with the parents to see how the children are doing. And I’m here at 5 PM when kids go home, which allows me a chance to talk with parents about how each child’s day went. This frequent communication helps me establish a mutual trust with families, allowing for a deeper understanding of the child’s needs and interests and an opportunity to design my curriculum and space to nurture them.