Director of a Large Child Care Center
In the next phase in my evolution towards writing curriculum, I worked for two years as a director of a large child care center. This experience truly opened my eyes to the world of child care. In this setting, I worked with top quality staff: they were child-centered, well-trained and truly cared about the children in their care.
I realized that we had children who spent almost every waking moment in our care. How different from the preschool world!
This realization also made me painfully aware of the challenges these little children faced, even in quality settings, and with challenges neither of which the children or the center had much control over.
No matter how good this program was, there were obstacles we would have tremendous difficulty trying to change about their care. Obstacles such as not being able to eat or sleep when they wanted or needed (Honey, its not quite time for lunch. Or Wake up dear, naptime is over.). These children did not have space or toys they could call their own (He is allowed to sit there too! or Sweetie, we have to share those with everyone.) and could not choose inside or outside playtime on demand (I know you are having fun, but its time to go in now.). Although even children at home cannot always make these choices all of the time, I knew that, from Monday to Friday, these were not options for our children.
I recognized what a gift I had given my own children by allowing them to choose many of these things on a daily basis as I worked from home or on a part-time basis.
This realization of the powerlessness children in child care experience hit me hard. I knew that what we as early childhood professionals do to create a warm, loving, engaging and responsive environment is not just important, it is critical!
Now, it became my mission to do what I could to improve the lives and choices of these precious children and I began formulating my curriculum system.