The Bible speaks of this parable, which is so reflective of my experience that led my work with Aspire to Inspire, “…Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher..” (Luke 6:39-40)
How appropriate this is as I reflect on my experience with Aspire to Inspire and the Early Childhood Educational (ECE) support I received. I have a Masters Degree in Human Services and found that the service needs of the clients had shifted to a place where structured learning experiences was needed to additionally support the children who used the Crisis Nursery childcare program. I realized that the staff were obtaining their Child Development Certification (CDA) and as their director they had more hands on knowledge and expertise in this field than I. My knowledge as a social worker, love for children, and impulsive creativity used to support children in crisis was not meeting the educational and development needs the kids deserved, while in care.
So, finding myself in this unique academic crossroads of life, led me to the supportive mentoring relationship with the coaching team members of Aspire to Inspire. I was now able to sit at the table with experience colleagues, who were passionate about their work in ECE, policy and practice reviewers and developers, excellently trained and skilled professional development specialist, and seasoned family childcare business owners, and active demonstrators of advocacy and change agents for children and programs. I was overly impressed by the wealth of knowledge and expertise just a conversation away from me. Knowing how broad the field of ECE remains, I was impressed to see the gathering of such professionals meeting to help support my program concerns. I felt as if I was having my very own personal ECE Conference, that’s what I call serious mentorship support. I had rubbed elbows with the best of the best.
In this working relationship I was encouraged and supported to attend the Child Development Associate Certification training to give me foundational learning in this field. I build relationships with multiple Family Childcare business owners, that share knowledge and wisdom to support this learning journey. I witnessed the work of the members at the First Up Conference and in my CDA training classes. I build reliable, supportive, innovative, connections that continue to walk along side of me, as I execute this newly acquired knowledge.
I am eternally grateful for the work and support extended to me by the Aspire to Inspire team. The knowledge, wisdom, and mentoring support to ECE programs are immeasurable. I moved from hiring new staff to our team based on warm friendly personalities, that on paper, appear to meet the needed childcare experience requirements; to creating new interview questions that support the ECE experience noted on the resume. Also our program requires a second interview for leadership roles, so candidates can demonstrate the skills and abilities needed in the pairing relationship with our children. I have also participating in nationwide group webinars related to supportive coaching and mentoring skills, which help to guide, support, and mentor the staff, as well as, building my skills as an ECE provider and director. I, as a late learner tried to set an example for my staff and classmates by training along side of them, while demonstrating that education is a life long journey.
I see this field with new vision and insight and credit Aspire to Inspire for the awesome work they invested in me as a new member to the ECE field of expertise. Now I am living my best ECE life thanks to the Aspire to Inspire team.