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Ashley Abrams is a lead teacher at Bright Horizons in Virginia. Here we have a brief talk with her about her work and education.

Greetings Ashley. Would you care to share your background with us? What are your educational strengths and areas of expertise?

I have worked in Early Childhood Education for about 14 years. I have taught every age from 6 weeks to 6 years old. I currently work with infants. My strengths are that I am patient, nurturing, and a lot of fun! My areas of expertise are forming parent partnerships, treating children with respect, and being knowledgeable about NAEYC, state policies for both Virginia and Ohio, and CPR/First aid.

Would you be willing to share with us a little about your personal educational journey? What led you to seek the education and vocation you chose? What advice would you like to offer to those students who wish to go into the same field as you?

In high school, I took a class called Students in Action, in which we met for class 3 days a week and 2 days a week we would go out into the community to volunteer. We could choose from childcare, the SPCA, or Meals on Wheels. I had always liked kids, so I chose childcare. I had a lot of fun and had already considered being a teacher, so after I graduated I got a job as an Early Preschool Teacher at my first center, and as they say, the rest is history!

I did take classes in Early Childhood Ed along with working with children. I also obtained my CDA for preschool, which is a certificate that takes about a year to get.

If you are interested in entering the Early Childhood field, I implore you to find out if it's the right career for you. It takes a special kind of person to work with kids ALL DAY. You should also figure out what age group you prefer to work with. Getting a job as an infant, toddler, or twos teacher is generally easy, but to work with preschoolers or pre-k kids usually takes some sort of education.

What is it about preschool education that appeals to you? How would you describe the importance of this area of education?

I like working with children because, frankly, I get along better with them than adults. I love hearing a child tell a story. It can tell you so much about them and their imagination. I also love hugs and cuddles from them and helping them learn through teachable moments. I especially like seeing children show how they've learned something I taught them! It makes me feel great to know I'm helping children on their journey through life.

Studies have proven how important Early Childhood Education is to development. This jump-start can make all the difference in a child who begins kindergarten knowing how to write their name and a few sight words, versus a kid who begins kindergarten not knowing how to even hold a pencil properly. Children also learn early socialization and conflict resolution, which prepares them to form relationships for the rest of their life.

Last question: What is one thing you want to change about the educational system?

If I could change one thing, I would make it a requirement for all teachers to take a class on guiding children's behavior. This is one of the classes I have taken and it spun my whole outlook around. Instead of looking at what the child is doing to misbehave, this class teaches you to look at why the behavior is occurring. It also teaches you the correlation between treating children with respect and having a classroom that listens and follows directions better. I believe there are some Early Childhood issues that stem from not being treated with respect, which reveal themselves in the ways children behave.

Thank you for talking with us today Ashley.

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