Happy Women’s History Month! 🥳️

The theme for AECA this year is Linking Hearts and Minds: Early Childhood Connections

This month we will be celebrating stories from our past presidents about women who who helped shape their experience as early childhood professionals. They were able to help grow our early childhood field here in Arkansas and I hope that continues to happen today with the women in YOUR life.

Today’s share comes from Debbie Mays, a family child care provider in Siloam Springs and founder/co-owner of Early Childhood Solutions.

‘As an educator, I am deeply thankful for the remarkable individuals who have influenced my career. Their unwavering support, thought-provoking questions, and shared beliefs have shaped my growth and touched my heart.

Throughout my career, there were those who pushed me beyond my limits, propelling me to strive for excellence. Their belief in my abilities and high expectations fueled my determination to continuously improve as an educator, making me better than I thought possible.

Among these influencers, some possessed the ability to ignite curiosity and encourage deep thinking. Instead of providing answers, they posed questions that sparked exploration and discovery. This approach not only instilled wonder in me but also shaped my teaching practices, inspiring curiosity in the children I teach.

I owe much of my growth to the leaders in the Arkansas early childhood community and the support of associations like AECA, NAFCC and AFCCA. It’s hard to choose one person. I genuinely feel like I was part of a tribe that was committed to my growth. Their commitment to elevating the field, providing professional development, and fostering a sense of community has been instrumental in my journey. Through their initiatives, I gained knowledge, connected with fellow educators, and found a sense of belonging among passionate professionals.’

Who are the women in your circles who have inspired you to become a better early childhood professional? Email president@arkansasearlychildhood.org with your stories.

Be sure to keep coming back to our socials to find more stories throughout this month and I look forward to reading yours.

Looking forward to connecting!

Natasha Kile
AECA President

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