This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.
My name is Efrain Ponce and I work at the Lowell Collaborative Preschool Academy. I have been in the field of early education for 10 years.
The job that I do is important because we are teaching the foundations of education. Not only are we teaching academics, but we also teach children how to be respectful, good citizens. We help parents by coaching them on what advocating for their child means and how to do it. Personally, I want to make sure that when children and their families leave my classroom, they are prepared for the public school system and know what resources are available to them.
One of my proudest moments was working with a child who was in my care a few years back. He was 4 years old when he came into the program, and I worked with him and his mom for the next year. By the end of the program when it was time for him to graduate, mom thanked me for being a strong male role model for him because he didn’t have one. The child even came back for two more years for after-school care and only wanted to come into my room. This experience made me realize how much of an impact an educator can have on children and their families.
I graduated from Salem State College with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. When I started out in early education, I took courses in the field while working a 40-hour schedule. Now I am certified in Infants, Toddlers, and Preschool through the Department of Early Education and Care. Currently I am working on becoming Lead Teacher and Director I certified while still working as a teacher.
Policymakers should know how important our work is and how much of an impact we have in the lives of the children we care for. We are not only teaching ABC’s to these children, we are teaching them how to be good, respectful human beings.
My favorite children’s book is “The Little Mouse, The Big Bear, and The Ripe Red Strawberry,” by Don and Audrey Wood.
It’s my favorite book because it covers the topic of conflict resolution in a fun way for the children. At first the mouse is afraid because the bear is coming for the strawberry, and the mouse doesn’t know what to do. By the end of the story the mouse shares the strawberry with the bear and all ends well.