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The End of the Beginning

Yesterday was the last day of teacher training, the celebration of the opening of the preschool, and my last day at Camp Goz Amer.  What a day!!!

It was bitter-sweet.  I wanted to stay, and I wanted to leave.  Actually, I wanted to bring all of the young women back to the US with me.

We trained 21 women for 3.5 hours a day, for 4 days, to be preschool teachers.  There is so much more we wanted to tell them.  Things like, make sure that you have fun with the children, play is the most important lesson, parents are the children’s first teacher and they will get on your nerves sometimes, talk to the children always, be patient with yourself, etc….

The teachers voted on who should be the lead teacher.  Haleyma received 11 of 22 votes.  Good choice!  A quiet, soft-spoken 21-year-old, whose eyes shine bright with a passion and motivation for learning and teaching.  Is she ready to lead?  I don’t know.  Her second in command is Rashida.  Less soft-spoken, but fire in her eyes, too.  She will be a good support person for Haleyma.  I call her the “regulator.”


I thought about how we prepare preschool teachers in the US.  There are classes  to take, units to earn, degrees to get, workshops to attend, and still some teachers don’t have the passion and motivation for the job.  I have been wondering for the past few months as I work on a professional development plan for preschool teachers, what it would take to get them to a high quality performance level.  I’m convinced that the key includes a passion for early learning and a self motivation to continue to improve.  I’m also convinced that these things cannot be taught.  You either have it, or you don’t.

The teachers in the Little Ripples preschool have no access to degrees, workshops or ECE classes.  But what they lack in formal education, they make up for that in passion and motivation.  I believe this will be the key to their success.


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Jocelyn has been in the Early Care and Education field for over 45 years. Her first “job” was as an assistant in her mother’s Family Child Care program. Her professional career began over 15 years ago as a teacher’s aide in an infant care center and prior to her current position, served as the Director of Program Operations of a Head Start Program that served over 800 children and families. In between, she has held such positions as pre-school teacher, teacher trainer, workshop facilitator, program specialist, CARES Advocate, parent educator, and college instructor.


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