Stacey Pierce owns and operates A+ Academy, a licensed child care home in New Albany, and is one of 21 child care homes and centers benefitting from the Indiana Association of United Way’s “Work2Gether” grant that Metro United Way received this year.
Recently, representatives from all 21 grant recipients attended the Indiana Early Childhood Conference in Indianapolis. Upon their return, the conference attendees gathered and Stacey was the first to stand up and say, “That conference changed my life!” She explained that the workshop she attended, conducted by the “Ooey Gooey Lady,” had made so much sense and was an easy connection to her work.
Stacey shared that her classroom was always set up with perfect bulletin boards; she didn’t want the children to get messy and she always followed a schedule and never changed course, even if the children wanted to.
As soon as she returned from the conference, she took down all her bulletin boards and replaced them with the children’s artwork. She adjusted her lesson plans to allow the children to have more input. She also changed her disciplinary style from sitting a child in timeout to getting on the child’s level, and having a conversation with them about how they could handle the situation next time.
“In a week’s time it was like a weight had been lifted. The children were happier and behavior had improved. I was happier, less uptight and I was ready to learn more.”
Stacey already had her Child Development Associate license (CDA) but with the help of funding through the TEACH (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) program, she is now attending Ivy Tech and working toward her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.
By strengthening the skills of teachers like Stacey, we are helping more children in our community arrive prepared for their first day of kindergarten!