Seeds of Change

This project had many circumstances that led to it’s creation.

sb seedling

I have been working with preschool aged children for twenty-one years.

In the beginning I was probably like a lot of other people.  I genuinely liked little children and felt compelled to spend my time with them.  As an eighth grader at Dakota Middle School in Rapid City, I chose to use an elective hour in our English as a second language preschool.

My learning curve has been bigger than I would like to admit.  Interacting with children was not something I was hatched knowing how to do.  I knew that I was being pulled toward them from somewhere that I didn’t understand, and I wanted to learn and improve.

For those willing to look, there is a lot of information out there regarding teacher education.  College courses, CDA programs, numerous books, etc have been created to prepare one for the process involved in providing quality education and care.

What I have found as a challenge is the chasm that exists between the standards for school  and child care.  Centers open and close every year, employees wander aimlessly from one center to the next, families are displaced again and again.  Maybe worst of all is I see highly innovative, creative, intelligent people who do not view themselves as professionals in the world of early childhood education.  Professionalism and ambition are four letter words in this industry.  Professionalism and ambition must become part of your bag of tricks, or your centers and your teaching teams may fail from the inside out. It is possible to be student focused and still professionally ambitious.

Early Education Plantation is a blog community providing resources, dialogue, and connectivity for those interested and invested in the Early Childhood Education environment in South Dakota.  This includes general community members, parents, staff  and owners of childcare centers, in-home daycares, and anyone with an opinion to share.  When you become a subscriber, you will receive weekly blog updates, email content, free Ebooks, and access to exclusive podcasts with interviews you want to hear!

Please take a moment to post in the comment box below:

What have been some of your experiences and observations with professionalism in early childhood education?

What are some tips you have for those starting out in the profession?

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14 thoughts on “Seeds of Change

  1. I am very proud to know you. Your are the advocate the early childhood profession has needed for a long time. Every early childhood educator needs to be respected for the professionals they are. Thank you for taking the lead on this and letting the educators know how important we are.


  2. Early childhood educators need to see themselves and this career as being professional. We need to dress, communicate and advocate the part. To be a professional we need to surround ourselves with positive people with professional attitudes, people that will support your decision to advocate for yourself and other early childhood professionals. Look to owners, directors and managers for professional role models. Remember you can learn a lot from a negative role model also learning what not to do can be just as important as learning what to do. Take leadership class on-line or in your communities. What we do is important we are the first teacher of the future, what a child learns from us stays with them for life wither they consciously remember or not. We plant seeds that will grow with the child.


    • Everything about your comment is spot on! Strong leaders like you provide a great role model to others starting out in the field. It is a great point also that we can learn from our negative experiences as well. I love your phrase of surrounding ourselves with professional people with positive attitudes!


  3. In all the different areas of child care I have worked in I’ve noticed most teachers don’t think of it as a career. For example, they will come in dressed however they want. I have always had nice clothes on even working with infants. The parents see that and recognize how you dress. If you always come in sweat pants they will wonder if you there just to have a job or if you are making a career out of it.


    • Lori- I like that you point out “if you are there just to have a job or if you are making a career out of it.” Whether we want it or not, our appearance says a lot about the way we are perceived. People can’t help but judge a book by it’s cover. By dressing nicely, you are helping your families see you as a professional, and not get distracted by inappropriate clothing. Great idea!


  4. In my short time as an early childhood educator one thing I have noticed about professionalism in this field is that people’s negative opinions can reflect onto you. Even if you are the most professional person someone with a negative view on early childhood education can see you in a completely different light. This blog is a great way to start changing minds and help advocate for the professionals in the early childhood education field.


    • @morgankersey711- There is a lot of negativity surrounding the professionalism in our field, and you are spot on that people can ignore your professionalism based on their stereotype. I appreciate your response and I’m glad you see this blog as a tool for change! 🙂


  5. Professionalism in early childhood is not only to dress the part but to uphold a title of an early childhood teacher. I have been in the early childhood field for almost 2 years and I have picked up some positive mentorship from others and a lot of positive guidance. Not only has this made me a better teacher but it has made me learn more about myself.

    My tips are keep an open mind, stay positive and always be willing to learn and gain new skills that are out of our comfort zone.


    • @charlene713 I really like how you pointed out that dressing the part is only a portion of being a professional. Being open to receiving mentorship as well as seeing yourself as a mentor for others is HUGE in our field. We can learn so much from others around us, whether they are the seasoned professional or the newbie with the fresh perspective!


  6. Professionalism is where you dress as a teacher, so not wearing sweats to work. A tip for someone starting out is cut the kids some slack and keep your emotions in check.


    • cassondramarie- you have a couple of great tips here. It is important when your starting to remember that we work with young children, and have to have realistic expectations for them. New teachers can adjust to working with young students by adjusting the children’s routine, studying effective behavior management, and asking a mentor for help! It is also so important for early childhood educators to “keep emotions in check.” A calm adult redirecting behavior is important. Equally important is knowing yourself well enough to take a teacher time out to avoid reacting to any given situation. Great advice!


  7. I believe that being professional in early education starts with dressing properly, how you interact with the kids and the parents, as well as how you present yourself. If you have problems go to your supervisor for advice and if you have ideas always share them with your co workers. Keeping a positive attitude always helps, if you need a break ask someone to step in for a minute or two so you can calm yourself down. If your local early childhood educators are offering courses see what one you would like to attend and go. By going online and doing research or taking classes you only improve yourself as a professional.


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