LGK Awards Scholarships for Aspiring Early Educators
Let’s Grow Kids is pleased to announce the recipients of our first annual Scholarship for Aspiring Early Educators. The scholarship program was created to increase access to education and training for those looking to begin or advance careers in the field of early childhood education.
“Having a well-trained early childhood education workforce is crucial to creating equitable access to high-quality early learning communities to ensure all Vermont children get a strong start. Early educators also play an essential role in supporting Vermont’s overall workforce and economy which we are seeing and feeling now more than ever as we continue COVID-19 recovery work,” said Let’s Grow Kids CEO Aly Richards.
This year’s scholarship recipients include both graduating high school seniors and current members of the early childhood education field working to increase their qualifications.
Tatianna LeBlanc, of Milton, a 2020 graduate of South Burlington High School, has worked in her mother’s child care programs, Georgia’s Next Generation and Next Generation Northern Campus. She will be pursuing a bachelor's degree in early childhood education at Northern Vermont University. "I am eager to continue my education and to make an impact in the early childhood field,” Tatianna said.
Riley Gamache, of Swanton, a 2020 graduate of Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, wants to open her own infant and toddler program one day. Riley plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in early childhood education with a minor in business. "I am very proud to call myself an aspiring first-generation female entrepreneur,” Riley said.
Megan Dow, of Washington, a 2020 graduate of Williamstown Middle High School, made a decision to pursue early childhood education instead of nursing after taking an Education Training program at Randolph Technical Career Center and doing an internship at Robin's Nest, a child care program in Randolph.
In addition to the four $1,500 scholarships, Let’s Grow Kids is offering free memberships Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children to the top 20 scholarship applicants.
“Decades of research have shown us that educator qualifications are the strongest predictor of program quality and child outcomes. In order to support children’s healthy development, we need to support the current and next generation of early childhood educators by helping them get the education they need and making a livable wage once they do so,” said Sonja Raymond, executive director of the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children.
If you’re interested in learning more about the types of careers available in early childhood education and related training opportunities, visit http://vaeyc.org/careers-in-early-education/.
Let’s Grow Kids released a report in January 2020 that found Vermont needed an additional 2,000 early childhood educators to meet child care demand.
“Let’s Grow Kids is thrilled to support aspiring early educators with these scholarships but we also know it’s going to take sustained, increased investments from the state to attract and retain the qualified early childhood education workforce Vermont needs to support our children, families and economy,” Richards said.
Let’s Grow Kids is calling on legislators to invest additional federal Coronavirus Relief Funds into Vermont child care programs, including supplemental pay for early educators and funding for their preparation and training. Learn more here: https://letsgrowkids.org/build-stronger
by Let's Grow Kids