I am an early childhood teacher in a school district in northwest Washington state. I chose the name One Sunflower for my blog because I love the image of standing tall with a bright sunny face, ready to shower seeds on fertile ground. That is the work I hope I am doing. I started blogging because I was feeling squelched in my efforts to grow as a professional. I had no idea this outlet would provide such a rich place for me to explore and grow, learn from others and share my learning.
There is a spotlight on early childhood education right now but we are a hodge-podge of providers. There are some of us that serve those children at high risk for failure, some serving working parents or students in colleges and universities. Some of us teach in private preschools, non-profit co-ops, churches and YMCA sites. Each site has its own requirements – health and safety standards, curriculum, teacher qualifications.
I am lucky to be serving in a school district that collaborates with community agencies to serve families of at-risk children. I am proud to say that these agencies set high standards for teacher qualifications as well as health and safety, curriculum, assessment and family services. But because I am working at a site that collaborates with Head Start, I am often asked to do work I didn’t become certified to do: I make home visits, I check on whether a family has a medical and dental provider, I monitor whether a family makes progress on their goals – at the same time providing an in-class curriculum that meets an academic standard. I have to do data entry in all of these categories for each student in my classroom. I love my time in the classroom and especially love developing and carrying out curriculum but am sometimes greatly challenged by the record keeping I am required to do.
I hope you will read through some of my essays, comment on the ones that resonate with you and question me about my process and practice. Your responses will become part of this story about teaching and learning with these little flowers of our future.