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Preschool Educators are STARS!

Preschool is NOT Daycare, and Preschool Teachers are NOT Babysitters!



As we celebrate Teachers across the globe this week, it is a perfect time to acknowledge the essential nature of ECE (Early Childhood Education) and our beloved preschool teachers. ECE, aka preschool, is critical in the lives of children and families, and the preschool years are considered a pivotal period for development (Hosokawa & Katsura, 2017; Wilson et al., 2009).


Far too often, even from other ECE professionals, I hear the words “daycare” and “glorified babysitters” when referring to preschool and preschool teachers. I am here to change the narrative! We are not “caring for days,” or “sitting on babies” after all. We are caring for and educating children, enriching brains, modeling social behaviors, supporting the regulation of emotions, and so, so much more!

High-quality ECE centers like LLA employ professional teachers, those passionate about and studying the field, and qualified support staff while providing continuing education and resources for their teams. As a fierce proponent of ECE professionals and our field, I am proud of the training initiatives and growth opportunities available in New Jersey. LLA closely aligns all enrichment and continuing education programs with NJ State and Grow NJ Kids Standards for excellence in ECE.


We are establishing and upholding high standards for preschool teachers! These standards are far and above what is expected or acceptable for daycare centers. The research and awareness of child brain development allows us to employ a curriculum that supports providing an optimal learning environment for children; we know how they learn and we are privileged to empower and encourage that learning! Our teachers at LLA are to be celebrated for love, compassion, guidance, patience, and energy every day, AND they are especially deserving of all appreciation during this Teacher Appreciation week as well!


Here is a bit about what we do at LLA that exemplifies our commitment to our teachers and the field of ECE:


My dissertation research findings were consistent with scholars' and ECE professionals' beliefs that preschool-aged children learn to develop social skills from observing, listening to, and engaging in conversations with adults and peers, and all agreed social and emotional successes are critical both now and, in the future, (Zupito, 2022; Connors-Burrow et al., 2017; Wilson et al., 2009). Therefore, we believe wholeheartedly that the adults and teachers must model the behaviors we teach and hold our team to a high standard when hiring, retaining, training and continually supporting their passion and expertise in our environment.

LLA focuses on the following four dimensions of professionalism when hiring and providing continuing education and enrichment for our teachers and support team:


Professional Knowledge


Knowledge is POWER!!!! Knowledge of and passion for child development, developmentally appropriate and best classroom practices, and state and quality initiatives are integral to the success of our teachers.


Competency


Knowledge breeds competency! Getting to know our littlest learners and their families is a collaborative effort vital in all things ECE. It takes a village, and we are part of yours! Observation, planning, systematic and natural assessments, respectful communication, relationship-building, critical thinking, and reflection skills are all key drivers in professional competency.


Commitment to Ethical Standards


Committing to ethical standards includes developing and respecting trust for handling sensitive family topics and situations and recognizing best practices and relevancy in how children best develop and succeed. This is part of honoring the teacher/parent relationship while actively supporting children. Respecting the dignity and worth of children, families, and colleagues and offering space and grace are key. Diversity, inclusion, and acceptance for all are also paramount.


Personal Characteristics


Let's face it, teachers should be the BEST of the BEST, and I believe most all teachers and those studying ECE genuinely want to be! Personal character, emotional stability, physical and mental health, and passion for ECE are critical. Teachers MUST possess the necessary and valuable traits of optimism, self-confidence, and self-respect.


In closing, we are so proud of our teachers and equally proud of what we do each day for our next generation of leaders! Shaping how children learn and thrive is no small feat; Teachers are to be celebrated for that commitment, and we are here to SHOUT LOUD and PROUD…Preschool is critical in the lives of children and families, and childcare providers are TEACHERS!


Let's change the narrative! And hey, maybe we normalize the term “mind-growers” while we are at it! Supporting teachers is absolutely an investment in our future. We celebrate and honor teachers, administrators, ambassadors, and proponents of high-quality ECE! We are so proud and excited to celebrate our amazing and dedicated ECE professionals and invite you to join us in doing just that.


With love for our amazing teachers!


Dr. Deb, aka Miss Debbie

Fans of Children, Families, and Early Childhood Education

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