My name is Christina, and I am the new Policy Fellow at All Our Kin (to read Rachel’s goodbye post, click here). I am writing this post to say a formal “hello” and tell you a little bit about myself. I’m looking forward to sharing All Our Kin’s great work with readers for the next twelve months.
I was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN, but I came out east to attend Smith College in Northampton, MA, where I majored in Sociology and minored in Spanish. At Smith, I studied racial and economic inequality and how it impacts people in the United States, even — and perhaps especially — young children. I became passionate about reducing the educational achievement gap and removing the barriers to learning that so many students face before they even enter a classroom.
After graduating, I discovered how All Our Kin is addressing the cycle of poverty and inequality by supporting family child care providers and making sure that all children get educational opportunities early on in their lives. Family child care offers unique benefits to communities: flexibility for working parents, culturally and linguistically relevant options for all families, and low costs, to name a few. Providers — who work long hours but still go above and beyond for the children in their care — create safe, nurturing spaces for children to thrive and grow. Study after study emphasizes that early childhood experiences are the base on which all lifelong learning rests. In the right environment, children develop motor control, expand their verbal ability, improve their emotional health, and build on school readiness skills. All Our Kin actually puts this research into practice in its model. At the same time, All Our Kin’s work allows providers to create successful businesses of their own and achieve financial sustainability.
I am coming to All Our Kin at an incredibly exciting time. The coming expansion to the Stamford-Norwalk area will allow us to work with even more providers and bring the benefits of family child care to new communities. The newly established Office of Early Childhood — dedicated to supporting all of Connecticut’s young children as they develop by coordinating and improving the delivery of early childhood services — will be invaluable as we work to enhance the lives and opportunities for families and children. I hope that in the next year I will see even more wonderful new developments as All Our Kin continues in its commitment to training and supporting community child care providers.
In the past few days, I have already begun to see why All Our Kin is such an incredible resource for providers. All Our Kin programs — from Read, Count, Grow, which helps providers incorporate literacy and numeracy into all aspects of their work with children, to the Organic Garden Project, which gives providers the opportunity to find mentors, gain child care qualifications, learn best practices, and grow their businesses. In the coming weeks, I am eager to meet more providers, listen to their experiences, and figure out what All Our Kin can do to support and advocate for them.
This year I’ll continue to update this blog with a mix of All Our Kin news, updates on early childhood policy and research, and snapshots into the lives of the family child care providers who are the key to All Our Kin’s success. If you ever have a suggestion for a blog post, I’ll always be happy to hear it — email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to send me your ideas.
Thank you for supporting All Our Kin’s mission, and for reading this post!