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Ever hear that early education teachers are not well paid professionals?
Only half of that statement is true.
Yes, preschool teachers and early education workers are sorely underpaid. But they are professionals.
The Columbus Association of Private Preschools is an 11-school group consisting of early education professionals who meet monthly to network, advocate for children and provide professional development opportunities for both member and non-member preschool employees.
The group collaborates on community programs, advocates for children at the local and state levels and offers scholarships to children who otherwise could not attend preschool.
A recent survey found that the average number of college years among the staff members of CAPP preschools is 3.85.
These years of college come from universities all over the world and do not include the continuing education requirements to maintain degrees and licenses or the hours spent in CPR training, first aid and blood-borne pathogen training.
The Child Development Associates credential is a nationally recognized program that requires 120 hours of coursework, testing and a formal observation to obtain. It also requires 4.5 hours of continuing education units to renew. It is often the minimum education requirement for a preschool employee.
Early childhood educators wear many hats. Not only are they the people responsible for the health, safety and happiness of your children for up to 12 hours a day, but they are also the people who see your children as a part of a cohort.
Early childhood educators are always aware of developmental differences, health concerns, behavioral differences and social/emotional delays. They make recommendations to the parents, work with health professionals to complete assessments and implement the recommendations of the doctors and therapists.
Members of CAPP have attended workshops on the autism spectrum, positive discipline, family communications, healthy communities, diversity training and many other topics that affect the quality of care for children. They also individualize curriculum, look for creative solutions to problem behaviors, read journals, serve on boards and raise funds for their programs.
Many of the directors of the preschools also teach in a classroom, clean the facility, buy supplies, recruit, hire and train new employees and comply with state regulations for licenses.
Now, regarding the other half of the opening suggestion that early childhood educators are underpaid. No one disputes that. CAPP members are dedicated professionals who love your children, take excellent care of them, teach them the academics they need and make sure the children are socially and emotionally ready for school.
We don’t do it for the money. Early childhood educators do what they do because they know the importance of their work.
Denise Brown is the head of school at North Star Montessori School, 2320 Midway St.
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