The Week of the Young Child is being celebrated April 10-16 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The purpose of this week is to focus the spotlight on the needs of young children and their families, and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs. This year marks the 50th anniversary of this event.
During this special week, we want to acknowledge the outstanding early childhood educators across UW-Madison. The Office of Campus Child Care and Family Resources (OCCFR), which is administratively housed in the School of Education, supports three campus child care centers — which have been open since July. OCCFR and Campus Child Care Center staff have been working very hard to support UW-Madison families during the pandemic.
Kelsie Krawczyk is one of our outstanding early childhood educators who has been working every day to care and educate the youngest Badgers on our campus. She works at the SoHE Child Development Lab.
Following is a Q&A with Krawczyk:
- How did you get interested in the field of child care and early education? I got interested in this field when I was looking for a job on campus as a sophomore. What began as a job, quickly turned into cultivating close relationships with the children in my classroom. They never stop amazing me!
- What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment in the classroom? The greatest sense of accomplishment is when the confidence I have in children and their abilities shines through for them. I had a child who was working hard on putting puzzle pieces into place. When frustration arose, she turned to me and said, “You not helping me.” I replied that I didn’t need to help; she could do it herself. As she tried again, instead of frustration, I saw growing confidence as she repeated, “Can do it, can do it.” It’s a memory that brings me joy and a deep sense of accomplishment.
- What is the one thing you wish that the general public understood about your profession? I wish the general public understood how rigorous the work really is. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard, “I wish I could just play with babies all day.” As early childhood educators, we do so much more than just playing with the kids. We create a nurturing, loving, and safe environment to best facilitate their learning. There are eight children in my mixed-age classroom whom we change every two hours and as needed. We also potty train them in developmentally appropriate ways. We bottle feed, spoon feed, and assist with their nutrition. Most of all, we are instrumental in developing their young minds as we help them learn to self-regulate emotions, interact with other beings and elements in their environments, and understand the world around them.