I think back to when I was teaching in DC. All of my kids were “high risk” which is how the children were labeled back then. I remember how The Growing Brain training talked about being respectful, responsive, and in relationship with children. As a new teacher, I hadn’t realized how important my presence was in children’s lives. Even something as simple as me reading a book could open up their world and allow the children to connect to something bigger.
They could say to themselves, ‘My teacher reads. My teacher teaches. And she looks like me. She looks like my mom. And she is connected to the bigger world.’
Through their relationships and experiences in my classroom, the children had opportunities to participate in the wider world in ways that society said would not be possible given their “at risk” circumstances. Every child deserves to have a teacher who can do that for them.
When we are doing what is in the best interests of children and what is developmentally appropriate, we have realistic expectations of children and that is critical to children’s development. A strengths-based, play-based approach to joyful, engaged learning helps educators show up and be who we need to be to shift what can be done in our programs, shift what happens for children, and shift others’ ideas of who our profession is and can be.
With over 20 years’ experience, Lauren Bond has served in many roles such as teacher, program administrator, regional director, coach, and currently works as a consultant and trainer. As President of Bond Education Services & Training she is committed to equipping early childhood professionals to be their absolute best by providing knowledge and tools needed to provide excellence in early education and to lead with passion. Lauren is a curriculum coach, CLASS observer, a MD Accreditation validator, an MSDE and OSSE certified Trainer. She also works as an Expert Faculty trainer for Zero to Three.