Can you remember a birthday party that did not have cake, cupcakes, or some kind of sweet treat? Food can be a great way to bring people together for fellowship and to celebrate the joys of life. Unfortunately, our society’s preference for sugary treats at celebrations could be one of the contributing factors to childhood obesity.
According to the North Carolina Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Association (NCIMHA), infant and early childhood mental health is the developing capacity of the child from birth to 5 years old to form close and secure adult and peer relationships; experience, manage, and express a full range of emotions; and explore the environment and learn all in the context of family, community, and culture (Brunton, 2023). Shaped by cultural expectations and community resources, these skills are built in the early years within relationships with nurturing, consistent and responsive caregivers.
Doris Lee is a Dare County Early Childhood Professional and onsite Administrator of a 4 star licensed facility. She is a strong advocate for Early Childhood and strives every day to be an influential resource to her fellow teachers, the children and their families as she serves in the field. She wants to raise awareness about how child care needs are not being met, including fair compensation for early educators, and the resources that are not available. Doris said, “AWARD$ Plus allows me to be able to take care of my financial obligations along with my living expenses. Our line of work deserves competitive wages for teachers and administrators to feel appreciated and respected as they fight the good fight. Early childhood educators shouldn’t be financially struggling to maintain the basics of everyday life all because they chose to work with children.”
First year? In many ways, yes! If you are familiar with Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$®, then you know this education-based salary supplement program actually began back in 2018. However, in FY23, the program transitioned to AWARD$ Plus with expanded eligibility. The primary differences in eligibility are shown below.
Veronica Pigford loves working with two-year-olds, but she didn’t start with this age group. “I came here for a summer job when I was working in the public school system and I just fell in love with infants and toddlers,” Veronica said. “I love all the children, but I am so happy working with the twos. They love you so much. They cling to you. They appreciate you and are eager to learn new things. I really like being part of that.”
In Planning with a Purpose, a cohort-based learning community, we have spent our first couple of sessions together discussing the purpose and process of lesson planning. As a result of these conversations with birth-to-three providers, we as a project want to share with you some planning-related issues that have come to light.