“Being in the classroom showed me that I had an interest in being an educator.”
“My son, Adyn, started kindergarten this year after two years at New St. Paul Head Start’s St. John’s Center. He’s reading, writing his name and he knows his sounds, shapes and colors.
I volunteered in his classroom almost every day last year. I even won an award for being a parent volunteer. I’m a hands-on parent, so I was curious about what my child was doing and how he was learning in the classroom. After I became a volunteer, the kids started to recognize me, give me hugs, wanted to talk with me and called me by name. It encouraged me to want to stay and help.
Volunteering showed me that I was interested being an educator, and that had a natural talent for working with kids. I’ve always taken care of kids - my nieces and nephews and of course my own kids. I never put it together though until I got into the classroom.
One of the teachers encouraged me to enroll in New St. Paul’s six-month Child Development Associate (CDA) program. Now, I’m working as a temporary employee, and it’s amazing. I’m taking classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and when I complete the training, I’ll have the certification I need to be an assistant teacher in a Head Start classroom.
Of course, as a mom you know a lot, but educators are more structured in how they work with kids. The CDA program is going to teach me the best techniques to use in a classroom with different types of little learners.
I’m excited to see how much further this can take me. I was a parent volunteer and now I’m building a career.”
“Even though WIC is a new program for New St. Paul, I trust them to help us.”
“I’m pregnant now with my fifth daughter. My girls are 10, 6, 4, 2 and this little one. We started coming to New St. Paul Head Start when my 6-year-old was enrolled in preschool. She’s in kindergarten now and doing well.
I’ve been in WIC since I was expecting with my 6-year-old daughter. When New St. Paul opened their new office this fall, they asked me if I’d like to come there. Even though it’s a new program for New St. Paul, I trust them to help us. The New St. Paul WIC office (7800 West Outer Drive, Detroit) is open only one day a week (Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), but I can always call if I need something. Working with the same agency for Head Start and WIC is convenient.
I’ve always nursed my daughters, and WIC’s breastfeeding support is the main reason I keep coming back to the program. The food assistance gives us healthier food options, which is a big help. We can get more fresh fruits and vegetables, which are so expensive. Another benefit is my daughter is already on the waitlist for an Early Head Start spot with New St. Paul. I’m always nervous to send my baby to school, but I trust that it’s a good choice.
It’s a good experience for all of us. I’ve served on parent committees and policy council. I feel really connected to New St. Paul because of it. I get a lot of information about how the agency and centers are doing and have a voice in solutions. I get to take trips for conferences. I know in years to come, I’ll look back on this time with fond memories.”
“I am in school full time and it gives me time to study and go to class without worrying about where to take my kids.”
“I have an older set of kids and two young kids and all of my children have gone to Head Start. Right now, my youngest go to New St. Paul Head Start.
Head Start gives me a lot ‘me’ time. I am in school full-time and it gives me time to study and go to class without worrying about where to take my kids. Other parents should take advantage of the opportunity, even if it just to take some time for yourself. When the kids are at Head Start, it is one less problem you have to worry about.
I send my kids to Head Start over just daycare because it is free and it is more structured. I like that my kids can be somewhere during the day and learn something instead of just being at home doing nothing. They are developing quickly, learning new things and get along with other kids.”
“It’s planting that seed of learning. That's my thing, I want to help plant that seed.”
“I’ve been working in early childhood for more than 20 years. This is my third year working for New St. Paul Head Start.
I had earned my Child Development Associate (CDA) years ago when I was working in Florida, but it had expired. I took the opportunity to be recertified when New St. Paul offered the CDA training program.
It turned out to be a big change for me. New St. Paul uses the HighScope curriculum and that was a challenge for me. Going through the CDA training helped me with learning the curriculum and the transition of working in a different state.
I was used to doing a different teaching style, but the atmosphere and support from New St. Paul has been great.
My biggest challenge was how to present the message board to the children. It’s an activity that helps children’s literacy and language skills, but I struggled with how to teach it. We use pictures to get the kids to use their imagination and tell us what they see. Teachers prompt discussion with the kids to get them to use, and learn, more words. If the kids don’t have the words, then how do I share the words with them and help them learn?
Early childhood has always been a passion of mine. One of my children struggles with reading comprehension. As a parent, I didn't know where the break down was with my child’s learning. As a teacher, if I can give back to someone else's child so they don’t struggle when they get older, I want to be that solid foundation.
I encourage parents to get their children involved in Head Start. Be consistent with bringing them. If the kids are here, the more knowledge they will have, and they'll be able to take that information and grow and grow and grow. It’s planting that seed of learning. That's my thing, I want to help plant that seed.”
“My son is already writing his name and knows his numbers. It’s been surprising to see how much he’s learned in just two months.”
“My daughter Malayah (2 years old) is enrolled in Early Head Start at New St. Paul Head Start and my son Malachi (4 years old) is in Head Start at a nearby location. They’ve been going for a couple of months now.
With the criteria for kindergarten, I think Head Start is the best place for them to get the educational basis they need to do well. I don’t know exactly what they need to know going into kindergarten, and they get that here with Head Start.
These are my babies, so I was nervous of course. You can never be too careful with your children. It’s been surprising how well the kids have adjusted though. It’s helping at home too. After they’re done eating, they clean up their plates!
There were home visits with Early Head Start to ease my daughter’s transition. We knew who her teacher was going to be before school even started. That was great – to know who my child was going to be around.
Malayah can be a little shy, so it took her a bit to open up. Now, she loves it! She packs her bag. She knows she’s going to school in the morning.
Malachi is doing well in Head Start too. He’s already writing his name and knows his numbers. It’s been surprising to see how much he’s learned in just two months. He’s doing even more than I thought he should be doing at this age.
I just think Head Start is the best way to go.”
“You can be part of creating a better future; you can help the community and these young people by being not just a teacher, but a male role model.”
“I wanted to get into education, and Michigan’s No Worker Left Behind program led me into early childhood education. I have my bachelor’s degree in child development and am working on my master’s degree. I want to be an advocate, to inspire more men to teach at this level. We need more male teachers to inspire our young boys and have a better understanding of their developmental needs, because they’re not the same as girls’. Boys are more active, a little more outgoing. We are at the forefront of preparing them for school.
I’m a lead teacher at New St. Paul Head Start. I’ve been with Head Start for about seven years. I constantly advocate for Head Start. You can be part of creating a better future; you can help the community and these young people by being not just a teacher, but a male role model.
I enjoy working for New St. Paul because they have a lot of incentives to move up in the agency. They provide training. They try to meet the needs of the students and the teachers by providing materials, like these new magnetic STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) squares. New St. Paul is not afraid to step out into the new technology and deal with what’s coming up for future.
The most rewarding part of my job is watching these guys learn, have fun and be themselves. This is a place where they can have refuge, where they can really open up while they learn. It’s good to work with my boys, where they can move around and jump up and down and be boys.”
“Not only can you move up, but they encourage you to move.”
“I always had a vision of being a teacher; I used to play teacher. I have an associate degree and I’m working on my bachelor’s degree in early childhood development at Oakland Community College. I’ll be done in December.
I love twos. They start to do all this problem-solving. You see them grow from 18 to 24 months, that’s when they learn the most. I read the book We’re Going on a Lion Hunt, and we go through the classroom and “go through the grass” and “go through the water.” Today, one of my kids was like “Miko! Elephant in water!” and made the sound we make in class. I’m like, wow, you’re really learning, just by me modeling the book.
In July, I will have been with Head Start two years. It’s a career choice I recommend. I have a parent right now that I’m encouraging her to get her CDA (Child Development Associate credential). Teaching at this age isn’t just about books, but it’s about the fundamentals of living.
Everyone is great here at New St. Paul Head Start, I love them—and they love me! Everyone is so happy, smiling, loving on each other. Not only can you move up, but they encourage you to move.
Not only do I love teaching toddlers, but I love their parents. I have one parent, every day he’ll write, ‘thank you, ladies,’ as he signs out. He said, ‘I just love you guys so much, and you guys are always happy and smiling.’ This is what we do, you know? And we love what we do.”
“How can we better serve the community, particularly the west side of Detroit?”
“I’m the nutrition manager for New St. Paul Head Start and registered dietitian and WIC coordinator for New St. Paul’s new WIC office at 7800 West Outer Drive, Suite 200, open on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
We asked ourselves, how can we better serve the community, particularly the west side of Detroit? Head Start and WIC serve similar families, and both programs offer great support for pregnant mothers and families with young children. As we spoke with WIC administrators about how New St. Paul Head Start might be able to partner, it worked for New St. Paul to open a clinic.
Families who meet Early Head Start and Head Start guidelines automatically meet income guidelines for WIC. The new location offers not only a convenient location for our families, but for the community with another much-needed WIC clinic on the west side.
Mothers complete a questionnaire and establish a baseline at their initial visit. We identify any nutritional risk factors - under/over-weight for the pregnant mother, infant or young child, diabetes, high blood pressure, exposure to smoking, iron or lead - and provide nutrition education, counseling and/or support. We provide breastfeeding support, and offer referrals for dental, medical and much more. In addition to nutrition education, families receive EBT cards for purchasing healthy foods, such as whole grain rice, pasta, breads and cereal, beans, dairy and fresh fruits and vegetables (with a cash incentive). We want to give mom and baby everything they need to grow and thrive.
I’ve been with New St. Paul for almost 20 years now. I wasn’t planning on being here that long, but I can honestly say it’s always been challenging and fulfilling. The new WIC clinic is just the latest example of rewarding work.”
“If someone has a gift to work with children, then I suggest this as a place for them to make their home and their career. It’s just a world of endless possibilities.”
“I’m an assistant teacher at New St. Paul Head Start. I have my CDA (Child Development Associate credential) and I’m finishing my associate’s at Oakland Community College. My ultimate goal is to get my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in early childhood development. And I’m gonna get that.
One of my teachers introduced me to the HighScope curriculum. I worked in elementary schools and taught at learning centers. Then I met some interesting [Head Start] teachers and I liked what I saw: how they engaged in the fun and learning with the children, how they were teaching the children, guiding them. That was very interesting to me.
In May, I will have been at New St. Paul for two years. I’m so glad that I came here. I like the togetherness and support we give each other. The training is phenomenal. We have lots of opportunities to attend different trainings. I love that, because we should love to be educated on what we like to do. I have passed the word along to several of my friends, and they’re interested early childhood as a career. They’re getting their credentials together. If someone has a gift to work with children, and I hear this in their voice, then I suggest this as a place for them to make their home and their career. It’s just a world of endless possibilities.
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the children smile as they learn. Some of the parents have brought their kids back to see me (after they’ve moved on to kindergarten), and I’m just so elated about that. It makes me smile when I know that a child felt the love I poured out, to see their smile and know that they received something from Miss Loretta. That makes me so happy.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I come from a long line of teachers.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I come from a long line of teachers.
I’ve worked in early childhood for seven years. I worked as a temp for New St. Paul Head Start the last two years. Then, I was hired on as an assistant Head Start teacher this year after I earned my Child Development Associate (CDA).
I started my bachelor’s degree, but I ran out of money. That was disappointing. I worked at several private child care providers, a nonprofit parent group and the temp service. When I found out New St. Paul was going to offer the CDA training program, it was such a blessing.
I went through the training program from November 2016 through March 2017. I completed my classroom observation hours and took the exam to receive my national CDA. With that, I can teach anywhere in the United States.
I’d worked in early childhood for several years before I went through the CDA training, so it was all pretty familiar to me. The CDA gave me concrete knowledge and reinforced what I was doing in the classroom. I got strong reviews from my observation, which felt great.
I’m grateful to New St. Paul for the opportunity to complete this accreditation. I hope to keep going and finish up my bachelor’s degree.
Teaching is a passion of mine, so it's not really work for me. I don’t have children of my own, but the 18 children in class are my children. I like working in Head Start specifically. The other centers that I worked with just targeted the child. Head Start targets the whole family. For example, I had a child who lost a sister at the beginning of the school year, and Head Start provided counseling services for that child's family. When the family is affected it affects how the child is going to perform in school. I think if people realized that they'll probably gravitate more toward Head Start.”
“We strive to make our parents feel like they’re part of a family by supporting their children.”
“Head Start has done wonders for me. I started working with Head Start when I was 18 years old. I’ve always been passionate about working with young children. Being bilingual allowed me to help parents and staff. Over 25+ years, I’ve worked as a home visitor, classroom teacher, lead classroom teacher and eventually a site director.
In addition to working with Head Start, my family has owned A&W Day Care for the last 20 years. Last year, we were able to bring Early Head Start to the center through an Early Head Start Child Care Partnership with New St. Paul Head Start. We have four Early Head Start classrooms in our center, Bright Beginning Head Start.
The Child Care Partnerships are a new, innovative way to bring Early Head Start to the community. With support from New St. Paul Head Start, our Early Head Start classrooms have the same requirements for teacher credentials, curriculum and safety. Through Early Head Start, we’re able to provide resources to our families, such as free diapers and wipes, job training, health care and so much more. Our families have the benefit of longer hours since the classrooms are located within our day care center.
It’s such an important program for young children. It connects them to learning outside of the home and helps the whole family. We try to help parents with whatever support they need in becoming more self-sufficient.
I want parents to know that Head Start helps families prepare for today, tomorrow and beyond. We strive to make our parents feel like they’re part of a family by supporting their children. Head Start helps families make goals and reach them. These are skills that follow you the rest of your life.”
“What the kids learn is going to stick with them for life.”
“My fiancé and I enrolled Tyanna in Head Start two years ago. We went to the New St. Paul Head Start’s Metropolitan location because it is close to home.
We liked it right away — the teachers are friendly, and they have a good relationship with the children. They have good communication with the parents too. They’re so friendly that you want to come in and spend some time in the classroom. So, I started volunteering.
I help around the class, do different things. They might need somebody to help with breakfast or an activity. I have learned ways to approach different problems or personalities in the classroom. It is flexible, and I can volunteer whenever I have time. The teachers gave me the Father of the Year award for helping out so much.
My daughter Tyanna learned a lot. She really bonded with her teachers. She learned everyday things like colors and shapes and how to be courteous. They taught her safety issues, too, like what to do if a stranger approaches you or if you see a gun.
What the kids learn in Head Start is going to stick with them for life. They learn how to interact with other children and how to communicate. Tyanna is ready to start kindergarten, and she has an advantage.”