The Conversation Has Changed

The Conversation Has Changed

by Rachel Hunter, Outreach Coordinator

Its January 2020 and we are dispatching our newly trained group Facilitators into the field. Theyre charged with delivering updates and gaining feedback and your perspective on the work happening as part of Chapter Two. 

We have already learned so much in the past few months. I recall hosting my first Chapter Two conversation in October 2019 at the Statewide Starting Points meeting in Randolph. This was where we launched Chapter One, and it seemed symbolic to kick off the second phase of this work with the same group of highly engaged leaders.

My opening sentence was to ask who had participated in a previous conversation.  I saw only about a quarter of the hands in the room raise and knew immediately I had to be nimble on my feet and quickly change gears to make sure the information I presented provided the foundation for the work. This told me – dont make assumptions.

As the Facilitators have prepared for our conversations this month, weve heard people say things like: 

Ive already been in a conversation.”

Someone already came to our group.”

 Immediately, we realized –  the field doesnt know the conversation has changed.  

At the close of Chapter One, after engaging more than 700 members of the workforce in 58 conversations statewide, 72% of our survey respondents indicating they wanted to advance as a full fledged profession.  That leads us to where we are today.

Here we are in Chapter Two. We have mobilized a Resource Team, a Task Force and 14 Facilitators. 

“So, how has the conversation changed?”

The Task Force is made up of folks on the ground who provide direct care to our youngest children.  They met in December and grappled with the recommendations made nationally from the Power to the Profession work for Decision Cycle 1.

“Wow, ok, so, what is Decision Cycle 1?”

The answer to that is in the new conversations. Its about: Identity, Roles & Responsibilities and the ECE Profession in relationship to the EC Field and how those national decisions can relate to the culture and work here in Vermont. 

“Huh – I dont know what that means.”

As part of these new conversations youll learn exactly what that means. Power to the Profession and Vermonts Task Force set forth recommendations on the following: 

  • How we identify as providers – meaning, what we will call ourselves.  
  • We’ll also talk about what we ‘do’ in a written statement. A Task Force member stated, “This is exactly what I do every day, I’ve just never seen it written out.”  
  • Lastly – detangling who should be in the Profession, and who should be in the Field of ECE.  

This is your chance for your voice is heard. The conversation HAS changed. As we move through each of the Decision Cycles it will continue to change.  

Be sure you are at the table – dont fall prey to thinking youve “already done this.”  

Advancing as a Profession – YOU are building a movement here and it is all about you – we cant do it without you.  

Well see you at the conversations!!!

And to learn more about those conversations, and to get connected with one happening near you, contact me: rachel@letsgrowkids.org.

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