TowerLight Child Care | St. Louis Park, MN
HiMama is improving learning outcomes for children zero to five. We support early childhood education because the sector is the most challenging teaching environment. Low wages, lack of professional development and long days; HiMama’s aim is to ease childcare management and support early childhood professionals.
The HiMama team firmly believes that early childhood professionals deserve to be celebrated and that recognition is important. Our Educator Spotlight is one way we are shining a light on the important and undervalued work of childcare professionals.
ELLIE’S EXPLORATION IN EARLY EDUCATION
Ellie began her teaching career working for a public high school in Brazil, but she quickly realized that working with younger children would be more satisfying long term. “I wanted to have an impact with a younger age group, so by the time they get to teenagers I’ve prevented some of that attitude and carelessness right from the start. You have to ‘cut from the root’.” Ellie received the most community votes in our Early Childhood Educator of the Year Award in 2017.
CHALLENGES IN EARLY EDUCATION
“Time management is my top challenge – because I’m so passionate about what I do, I have a strong desire to do more and constantly improve my own deliverables. Admittedly I bring work home with me. I’m always thinking about activities in the evening, ways I can do my work better and new things that I could try each day. How to turn off after work is a challenge for me”.
Stressing About Safety
“I love seeing children take risks, but I don’t like to see them get hurt. It pains me when we give them risks, and then the child faces the consequences of those risks. While learning is important for all of us, it’s so difficult to watch the children I adore face consequences that upset them”.
Ellie acknowledges that the work of early childhood professionals is undervalued in many ways. “First and foremost, I wish for appreciation. Being acknowledged in your work and being financially compensated for that hard work is something that’s so very important to me. We work really hard and having that effort be recognized is critical”. That appreciation extends to parents, who at times may not understand that the role of an early childhood professional is in shaping the minds and learning outcomes of children – not child minding. Working collaboratively with parents has been an approach Ellie uses to showcase her efforts and build strong teamwork with parents at her center.
FINDING JOY AND SELF-LOVE
Ellie is a child at heart and her energy for working with children is infectious. “You know it’s the attitude of the children that brings me the most joy – one night I didn’t sleep very well… and I came in to work to a child who said “oh you look great today!”. They don’t see us the way we see ourselves. I love all the ways we see their happy moments – the holidays, costumes, and PJ day is so fun. It’s important to stop our busy routines and enjoy the children for who they are”.
Ellie envisions a long and happy career in early education, something that, while challenging, is also genuinely rewarding. “I believe I found the career that truly fulfills me – I see myself doing this work for a very long time”. Ellie’s aim is to reflect that positive energy to her colleagues. “If I keep doing this work that makes me happy, I think that attitude will be reflected in other teachers over time”. Her other career plans include self-care, a critical priority when working days that can be physically and emotionally draining. Ellie intends to continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that she brings love and peace into the classroom instead of stress and exhaustion.
“Above all else, I would tell other teachers to focus on the positive and offer our best selves to children. Bringing a happy healthy self to work will have the greatest impact on the children”.
Ellie recommends podcasts for professional development “I listen to podcasts a lot – I love The Preschool Podcast! I also like to read a lot in my personal life – comedy, health and wellness, each different material makes me a well-rounded teacher.”
Do you have an educator you think should be in our Educator Spotlight? Contact us today and let us know!