Behind the Window: Juliana and Brandon’s ECE Experience
Photos provided by Juliana. In the early hours of a typical weekday morning at the Florence Crittenton Services, teen moms like Juliana make their way over to the Early Childhood Education Center (ECE) with their…
In the early hours of a typical weekday morning at the Florence Crittenton Services, teen moms like Juliana make their way over to the Early Childhood Education Center (ECE) with their little ones in tow. By the time their child is one year old (like Brandon), they eagerly toddle toward their ECE teachers, brimming with anticipation for a healthy breakfast and a day filled with exciting activities. After singing a cheerful welcome song and moving their child’s picture to a board proudly proclaiming, ‘I’m here!,’ FloCrit teen moms can walk right next door to their first class of the day.
However, for new teen moms, dropping their child off can be a difficult experience. “I was so nervous to bring him here because I didn’t know how they were going to treat him,” Juliana explains. “ I kept coming back to look through the window to check on him because I didn’t know anybody here.”
Many FloCrit teen moms find themselves in front of the exact same window, peering into the ECE infant classroom as they witness their child’s joy and comfort, a reassuring sign that their precious treasure is in capable hands. Juliana recalls that she “ended up trusting them after a couple of weeks because my son was always happy when he saw his teachers. That brought a lot of joy to me, and that made me understand that they have to be treating him well if he’s that excited to see them.”
As trust blossoms, visits to the window become less frequent, replaced by a growing sense of security in the quality of care provided by the ECE staff. “My favorite part about the ECE is the teachers and how they treat all the babies. They really build a relationship with the babies and that’s really special; I love to see it.”
FloCrit ECE teachers are more than babysitters; they are educators who undergo rigorous training and engage in continuous education. They meticulously craft lesson plans, tailored to meet the unique developmental needs of each child. For example, Brandon’s teachers Ms. Sherry and Ms. Analysia just completed a lesson where children practiced fine motor skills and spatial reasoning using sticky contact paper and felt jack-o-lanterns! They also measure the growth of each student using assessments like GOLD by Teaching Strategies, an authentic, observation-based way for monitoring a child’s developmental skills.
Through Brandon’s eyes, every day is an exciting blend of play and learning. What he doesn’t know is that even at one year old, this early experience is paving the way for his success in kindergarten (see page 5). The two-generation approach at Florence Crittenton Services is not only shaping Brandon’s educational foundation but also providing the essential support he and his mother need to embrace a future filled with promise and opportunity.