by Staci Otis, Advancing ECE as a Recognized Profession Task Force
Being a Family Child Care Provider (FCCP) can sometimes feel very isolating. We work 10-12 hour days alone, with no “official” breaks. We don’t have staff to bounce ideas off of throughout the day or to cover us for a bathroom break, let alone to allow us to attend a meeting or join a committee that affects our job.
A lot of changes have occurred in the last few years that have greatly affected the way we do our work. During this time, many FCCPs have felt our voices were not heard or considered. As a member of the Advancing the Profession Task Force and a FCCP, I can tell you this is not what is happening now.
Over the past year, many early childhood educators around the state have participated in conversations about becoming a recognized profession. As a FCCP, I was originally worried about my voice being heard and whether we would be included in that profession. Then, I participated in two conversations and liked the possibilities of “what could be”. When I was asked to be a part of the Advancing the Profession Task Force, I didn’t hesitate in saying “Yes!”. That Task Force now consists of 16 members of the early education field from a variety of positions and settings, including three FCCPs.
During conversations around the state, facilitators are recording everyone’s thoughts about advancing as a profession. Summaries are shared with the Task Force to review and discuss. All perspectives are considered and listened to, as the Task Force seeks to understand what the consensus from the field may be. While many in the field don’t necessarily understand our work as FCCPs, the Task Force is listening to our voices throughout the conversations, both what excites and concerns us. Your thoughts are not pushed aside, they are given merit and included in all that we do.
If you have a chance to be a part of a conversation, do it! Listen, learn and share your input. Take the follow-up survey to ensure your voice is heard. If you have not had a chance to participate in a conversation, contact Rachel Hunter (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find one near you or to explore hosting. The conversation topics will change as the process continues, so plan to participate multiple times, if you can. Play an important role in shaping our future as professional early childhood educators in Vermont!
Staci Otis owns Little Allstars Childcare and Preschool in Springfield. She has operated her Family Child Care program for 15 years, including the last five as a Pre-K partner. Staci has an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Human Services and is the co-leader of her local Starting Points network.