Resilience in the ECE Profession

Posted By: Jenny Mensch Professional Development,

Join EveryChild CA at our biggest annual event, the Fall Technical Assistance. You’ll enjoy 3 days packed with insights, inspiration, professional growth, and support. We’re starting this year’s conference with a session on resilience. Keynote speaker, Dee Hankins, will encourage you to not only think of building resilience in the children and families you care for but also in yourself.

Meet Dee Hankins

Inspirational speaker, Dee Hankins, is on a mission to share one powerful message: Resilience is Everything! Resilience: The ability to bounce back is what enables students to come out of challenging experiences with a positive attitude about themselves and their futures. 

After spending 18 years in foster care and watching his daughter battle brain cancer, Dee knows that life is full of unexpected events but our resilience can turn those experiences into an incredible life lesson. 

Learn more about Dee Hankins

Resilience for ECE Professionals

A Conversation with Valerie Denero, EveryChild California’s Director of Public Policy & Education

It’s no secret that ECE professionals face challenges, setbacks, and an ever-evolving regulatory landscape. I chatted with Val to learn more about the resilience of early childhood educators and the importance of showing up every day on behalf of children and families in California. 

Jenny: Can you tell me a little bit about why resilience is so essential for our ECE professionals?

Val: I think that our field is probably the most resilient industry next to the medical field. Our early childhood educators have had to be resilient as a workforce, just as this continually undervalued, underappreciated, and unrecognized cornerstone of what keeps California working. To show up every day on behalf of children and children’s families is just absolutely remarkable. 

J: What inspired the selection of Dee Hankins as the keynote speaker for the Fall TA?

V: To have someone like Dee Hankins come to our event and remind our community of their ability to constantly show up and be present for our children is just so important. Dee will remind them of their inner spirit and their ability to keep going in spite of everything that they’re going through personally, in spite of the fact that they are underpaid or might feel undervalued.

Our community is doing great work on behalf of children and families, and they deserve to be reminded that they are important, that they are valued, and that what they do is critically important to California’s infrastructure and community. I think Dee will be a pretty rad addition, mainly because he emulates what our folks have to do every day.

J: When you were directing a center prior to joining the EveryChild CA team, what were some of the strategies you used to foster resilience in your team?

V: I was very much a goofball. I would hand out ridiculous scratch-and-sniff stickers and kindness bracelets when I caught them in the act of doing great things. I was famous for going into a classroom and giving my staff a stamp on their hand, a sticker, or a little affirmation bracelet I made out of construction paper. 

I also just remembered that my staff was human. It was about giving them the opportunity to share, letting them bring their personal self to their job, and valuing their own unique way of doing things. I also took the time to have one-on-ones, which was a lot with 480 staff. But I took the time to check in with them personally and professionally. We did everything from a strengths-based, positive approach. 

I think that those elements help your staff maintain their passion and their why. “Why do you choose to work with children?” And then let that why drive you on a daily basis when it gets hard.

J: How can attending the Fall TA support resilience in our community?

V: The Fall TA is your master toolkit for the year. It’s an over-arching glimpse of what you are charged with in terms of your program and compliance. You will also find that you are supported. You are not alone. You have a network of peers that do what you do so that when you get stuck, you have individuals to go to that you’ve met at the Fall TA. You come back from Fall TA with your cup very full.

Build your Toolkit at the Fall TA