Recently one of the teachers at our Excellence Academy early learning centers, Sarah Bonifer, realized the similarity of our preschool teacher program to the classic children’s book, The Little Engine that Could.
Reading to her class at The Children’s Learning Center at Goodwill of Southern Indiana, Sarah connected her own growth in skill and confidence through the Excellence Academy to that little engine that kept going to ultimately reach its desired destination.
“Before the Excellence Academy came along we were broken,” she said, passionately describing how the Academy has made her a better educator. “We all knew that educating children and families is important and we were working hard to achieve that goal, but we needed support. We needed help and a fresh set of eyes to help guide us. The Excellence Academy was able to give us all of that and more through our network of teachers who collaborate to share ideas and best practices,” she said.
As Sarah’s skill set grew, so did her confidence. “Many times it is an early childhood educator that recognizes the early signs of a speech delay, autism, defiance disorders or other special needs; informing families of these things is a difficult task without confidence and support,” she said. With her new confidence grew, now Sarah knows she can talk to caregivers about their children in any situation.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to explain to others all that Metro United Way has done for us through the Excellence Academy, because it’s hard to understand unless you are a part of it!, “ she adds. Comparing her experience as an early childhood educator to the Little Engine, Sarah explains, “Metro United Way came along with the Excellence Academy and lifted us up and became the support and guidance that we needed.”
Metro United Way’s Excellence Academy empowers teachers and provides them with an environment where they can thrive. The teachers, in turn, do the same for the children in their class. Together, this is how we are ensuring that all children in our community enter kindergarten ready to learn.