Voices from the Village
“It takes a village to raise a child.” I have heard this phrase many times over the years, and while I certainly agreed with the sentiment behind it, I never gave it much thought. I began to think more deeply about the meaning behind the phrase in the spring of 2019 as I transitioned from my teaching position at the University of Wyoming to directing the Wyoming Early Childhood Outreach Network. This outreach position, funded through the College of Education Trustees Education Initiative, thrust me out of my office in Laramie and into the early childhood community in our state. It was a change I welcomed because it meant returning home. I spent most of my career teaching and directing early childood programs in southwest Wyoming and developed relationships with incredible early childhood professionals over the years. I was thrilled to get back out into the state that I love! I had the exciting opportunity, thanks to a partnership with Becca Steinhoff at Wyoming Kids first, to meet professionals at every level in our early childhood system. My view broadened from teacher preparation to looking at the whole “village” of educators, caregivers, and leaders that support our young children and their families.
That spring I had the opportunity to join in conversations about creating a new system to support early childhood educators’ professional development, and was thrilled when these conversations blossomed into a real commitment to change. The Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative was the result. As we designed our approach to professional learning and developed the identity of our organization, we knew that elevating the voices of early childhood educators was an essential part of our mission. Inspired by a colleague, we embraced the mantra, "We are the village", which helped us keep early childhood educators at the center of our work. As the Professional Learning Collaborative has grown into our role in the state we have committed to remain true to our mission and have seen the influence of early childhood educators in Wyoming grow. We also know there is more work to do.
That is why I’m so excited to share our new podcast, Voices from the Village, with the Wyoming early childhood community. This podcast highlights voices of nationally recognized early childhood experts alongside the voices of our local experts, Wyoming early childhood educators. Our first season, released today, introduces four prominent early childhood authors and presenters who discuss topics including finding and maintaining your passion for teaching, teaching infants and toddlers, program leadership, anti-bias education and collaboration. We also include voices of Wyoming early childhood professionals who are putting the advice and strategies offered into practice every day. I think of it as a conversation between the big ideas in the field and the educators who are doing the work. And, it is a way to accomplish one of my most important professional goals, which has always been to link theory to practice.
We invite Wyoming early childhood educators to listen and join in the conversation with us. You can access Voices from the Village on your podcast app, or right here on our website.
Season 1 is just the beginning of the conversation. We plan to grow the podcast and invite in many more of your voices as we begin production of Season 2!