Advancing as a Profession: the Ambassadors

by Rachel Hunter

For three years now, I’ve led dozens of professional development sessions sharing the progress of our work to advance early childhood education as a recognized profession in Vermont. When early childhood educators learn about the project in these sessions, many ask me, “How can I help?”

So, earlier this year, we reimagined our workforce leadership as ambassadors: early childhood educators who are knowledgeable about the project, fluent in the Unifying Framework for the Early Childhood Education Profession, and helping share about the project as we make progress.

We started by inviting over 60 individuals who had attended multiple professional development sessions and were well-informed about this work. Over 20 of them accepted the invitation. Together with the ECEs at the core of this project — the Task Force — we have about 30 ECEs in leadership positions.

This outreach is especially important for two reasons:

1) With the tremendous turnover in the ECE workforce since the pandemic, there are many in the workforce who know little or nothing about the work to create a recognized profession.

2) It will take many, many Vermont early childhood educators’ voices rising in unison to build the political will to move forward the policies and funding we’ll need to establish the profession we envision.

Together, we created a “toolbox” of resources each ambassador can use to engage their peers. Once nice thing about the toolbox: it’s no secret. Anyone can explore it. Here’s what’s in there so far:

Recently, a number of ambassadors have volunteered to present “Getting Up to Speed” informational sessions in their regions, in-person or via Zoom: Sherry Boudro, Kristen Dunne, Kim Freeman, Christina Goodwin, Amaryah Pendlebury, Holly Rheaume, and Ariel Rose.

They are actively reaching out to programs and networks to spread the word and build shared information among the ECE workforce. Their dedication and excitement are inspiring!

If Advancing ECE as a Profession is new to you, or to any among your staff or your peers, I encourage you to say “yes!” if one of these folks reaches out to offer a session. Or, contact me with a request. I’ll either connect you or send you a link to the statewide Zoom sessions we continue to provide.

Everyone is welcome; everyone is included!

Rachel Hunter, Outreach Coordinator

Rachel Hunter is Outreach Coordinator for Advancing as a Profession. Contact her at rachel@letsgrowkids.org