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Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of A Great Decade!

I'm Back! Sorry for the week-long absence. We were out of town for Christmas. And not just out of town. Out of town with a SICK child. Ugh! Needless to say, our Christmas was a bit a lacking in the "Merry" department.

We're all pretty much healthy now though. Yay!

And with it being New Year's Eve and all, I feeling a bit nostalgic about the past decade and all that has happened to bring Literacy Launchpad about.

First off, some of you may not know exactly what Literacy Launchpad is. Literacy Launchpad is an enrichment program that I created and run. I work with small groups of children (2-5 yrs), in child care facilities, on their emergent literacy skills. If you're want to know more specifics about what we do in class, just read - and check out the photos of - any of my previous posts. :-)

Back at the start of 2000, I was just beginning college. I had dreams of being an early childhood educator, and so I chose Early Childhood Education as my major. The 4 year college I chose to attend had a somewhat stringent application process for getting into their Early Childhood program. I worked hard to be accepted into one of the limited openings they had in the program.

BUT... shortly after being accepted, I discovered that I would be moving. See, my husband and I got married while I was midway through college. An unexpected job loss (the week before our wedding) led to an unexpected move (a couple months after our wedding). We ended up in Nashville Tennessee. I had to take a semester off, because we moved right at the start of the fall semester.

I worked at a child care facility while I waited to begin school again. A totally new, and pretty shocking, experience for me. I had worked in preschools, but never in a day care. It was so different. I didn't like it for a long time.

The spring semester was gearing up to begin and at orientation I made the shocking discovery that my credits all transferred as electives!! I would have to be in school for another 4 years in order to finish my Early Childhood degree. WHAT?? My salary potential in this field certainly did not justify spending as much time in school as a doctor. What was I going to do?

My husband and I thought and prayed on it quite a bit (as much as we could before the semester would begin and I had to choose my classes). In the meantime I was still working at the child care place. I was feeling sad about the lack of good books in the classrooms, and I was fascinated by these enrichment programs that came into the centers once a week (music, computers, gymnastics). Man, I thought, a literacy program at a place like this would be perfect!

I learned of a degree option (Bachelor's of Science, majoring in Liberal Arts) that basically let me customize my own degree. My wheels began turning, and I wondered if there would be a way to combine my passion for Early Childhood Education with my love of children's books. I thought about those enrichment programs and wondered if I could pull off a literacy program somehow.

So I sat down and talked with my advisor about it. She told me I could do a Liberal Arts degree and have my emphasis be in Elementary Education (due to the credit hours I already had specific to this area), and Children's Literacy/Literature. And I could finish in two years (with some summer classes)!! I was SO excited.

My last couple years of school were so fun! The classes I got to take were awesome: Library Media, Storytelling, Children's Literature in Film, Folktales, etc. It was so cool! All my classes fueled my desire to create this literacy program, and filled me tons of killer ideas for it. AND for my senior project I got to do a trial run of Literacy Launchpad at the child care center! Heaven!

Upon graduating, I took some time off from working at the child care center with all the teachers and students I had become so attached to. I focused on launching Literacy Launchpad for a few months, and then worked doing both!

For the first few years of Literacy Launchpad I was teaching in 5 child care centers. After having my son, I have cut down to only one center so I can be at home with him. But I have big plans in the works for my little Literacy Launchpad. Thank you all for being a part of it! I feel like God planted a seed and helped it bud. I'm so excited to see Literacy Launchpad grow and flourish in the next ten years!

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