Geania is a long-time ECE advocate and immediate past chair of the AECA Public Policy Committee. Geania works part-time at A-State Childhood Services and is the Principal of dot2dot consulting, LLC. Where she works with various organizations in support of strengthening early childhood program quality and improved access by building healthy professional and educational environments.

I hope your 2024 has gotten off to a GREAT Start! I think the new year, in combination with some recent viewings of Ted Lasso, has got me thinking about some things 😊 and I wanted to share.

My work has provided me with an amazing opportunity to get to know so many wonderful ECE professionals. Without fail, each encounter has Inspired me. Leaving me in awe of my colleagues’ unwavering commitment, their ingenuity, and just plain grit.

What I have also noticed is how often folks are perusing what they know to be the best option in that moment. They know because their focus and attention are on the people or work, they do in service of the children entrusted to their care. And SO MANY times it is clear to me that my colleagues have absolutely no idea how special that makes them.

I have also not known these amazing people to do that work for recognition. However, that does not mean that being seen and acknowledged for that work is not important. We know the best motivation is intrinsic. But I also have a folder labeled “notes” with a smiley face beside it. Over the years, I have placed emails and handwritten notes from colleagues in there. I didn’t do the work for the recognition but it is lovely when you get feedback sharing what you did was helpful to someone. Because, isn’t that why we did it?

So, here is the task I request of you…

First. make it an assignment to notice. Notice those moments that may be so common to your colleague, that they forget to appreciate their own brilliance.

Sparking a new idea in someone

Helping someone tackle a challenge

Bringing light to an otherwise gloomy situation

… the things others do, that in that moment, make things better.

And when you do notice, take the time to tell them. We needn’t make a big deal of it. Remembering, that recognition is not why they did it.

And lastly, if you have had the honor of working with folks that go above and beyond routinely, I HOPE you will take the time to nominate them for the Arkansas Outstanding Early Childhood Professional. This award honors providers who continuously go above and beyond for the children in their care. Nominate a provider you know who works to create a high-quality learning environment and helps young children reach for the stars.

To be considered for the award, nominees must:

  • Meet minimum licensing requirements for child care staff.
  • Be employed by a facility that is Better Beginnings level 2 or above.
  • Be employed in early childhood education for a minimum of 3 years.
  • Plan on remaining in early childhood education for 2024.
  • Be willing to serve as an early childhood ambassador.

Find more information about the award and the nomination packet on the Better Beginnings website. Nominations are due no later than 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31.

I feel certain that even if they are not the finalist, they will still feel like they won.

It is valuable to me, to be acknowledged for doing the thing that was in my heart to do. It helps me know I am on the right track and keeps me going ♥ and among us, couldn’t we all use a bit more of that?

One of the things I love most about my work, is the opportunity to point out organizations and individual’s strengths = SO FUN. I think you may just get more out of this assignment than the person that gets your feedback. Please trust me on this, and give it a go 😊

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