Maria walked calmly to the lectern with her tassel swinging as she walked. A quick adjustment of the microphone and she spoke – as a graduate of a rigorous program and as a “first.”
She shared that early childhood educators are often overlooked and placed on the back burner when it comes to recognition of their role educating children. That many think of them as babysitters, but by teaching children at their most crucial years of learning, they are in fact playing one of the most important roles in shaping the development and future success of these young minds.
When Maria started her journey to higher education with the Camp Fire Early Education Apprenticeship program it empowered her to relate to children on a deeper level and assume the role of mentor to her peers. She was excited to see there was a pathway to expand and build her formal education through the new program.
She has been in the business a long time and has attended many training sessions, but this new program went beyond that to build on the formal education she had already earned, taking her to the next level as a professional.
By going through this apprenticeship, Maria learned how to strengthen weaknesses and fine-tune her teaching skills. “I believe having these programs offered to us gives us a unique opportunity to make a difference in educating children and raise the bar in our worth as early childhood educators,” she shared.
In Winter 2022, Maria and her three graduating classmates will each continue their journey attending community college to pursue an associate degree. Together, these teachers are making history being a part of the first-ever apprenticeship program.
They are helping write the next chapter in the story of early education quality in our state. Read Maria’s full graduations speech. Your contributions help start this story for a new class of apprentices. Take a moment today to donate to Camp Fire First Texas and help us keep telling this story, not only for the teachers who benefit, but the children in their care and classrooms.