A Personal Story: Becoming an Advocate as a Mother and Early Childhood Educator

Megan Haymond
Student, Early Childhood Education, University of Utah
Mom of 2
UWSL Advocate

I have always had an interest in serving others and my community. As a mother I have wanted to provide the best opportunities available for my kids. Ever since I decided to be a teacher, I had been told that as an educator, it is my responsibility to support and provide every opportunity for learning possible for the children in my class. I have always known that my place was in the classroom, hands on with children, and making every effort as a mother. Successfully fulfilling these roles are my highest priorities. Recently, I have realized I can, need, and want to do more.

I felt so strongly that a positive, and worthwhile preschool experience would set “the stage” for my son’s future education. This task was consuming, I enthusiastically pursued the hunt for a high-quality preschool for my son. I talked to everyone I knew about it; I had dreams about it; I read everything I could get my hands on. I knew I wanted an National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited school and I wanted a preschool, not a daycare. I considered myself lucky to find 4 schools that meet these criteria and that they were within a 12 to 30 minute commute from my home.

After touring each of the schools I was painfully reminded that my child will be lucky to have a spot saved for him in the schools, as space is so limited and that to save him a place it would cost on average $250. Then it would cost at least $220 a month for a program that was just 3 days a week for 2 ½ hours. This experience and my experiences at the University of Utah as a student studying early childhood development and education, have illustrated the limited accessibility to high-quality preschool programs and the financial commitment they present to families. We need more high-quality preschools, with educated, knowledgeable teachers that implement developmentally appropriate individualized curriculum.

The programs that are available have very limited space and are quite expensive, if you are fortunate enough to have one conveniently located. Last year, HB96, the Utah School Readiness Initiative, addressed the issues I recognized; it was a huge step in a positive direction and this year, SB101, will make sure that even more kids start kindergarten ready to learn. I was so excited that people cared about what I care about and could see that children need a better start then they are getting. But the world of policy was very foreign to me, so I never found a way for my voice and enthusiasm to be heard. This time I was just lucky, the bill passed. I realized that if I am truly passionate about education and providing opportunities for children I couldn’t just recognize needs, agree with good ideas or like the idea of making things better, but I needed to make sure my voice is heard, there is a bigger way to serve my community and the children in it.

Perschool AdvocacySB101 will give more kids access to high-quality preschool. Great ideas like this need to be advocated. We need our representatives to know what we need, how we feel and what we think, so that positive, needed and valuable changes can be made.

AdvocacyThis exciting and overdue progress in education makes me realize that my investment in being a mother, educator, and contributing member of my community can be greatly enhanced and make the biggest difference if I am actively engaged in talking to my representatives so that they know what I feel strongly about and what I see children in my community need. My hands on experiences and opinions have weight, and are relevant.

megans boysTake action and let your representative know
that you support high-quality preschool (SB101)!

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