BCC Spotlight: Ashley Hunt, Early Learning Program Teacher

ashley-hunt-board-of-child-careHunt is a born and raised Washington, D.C. native with a passion for working with young children. She received her associate’s degree in child development from Southeastern University. Hunt became a teacher in 2006 at BCC’s Early Learning Program (Washington, D.C.).

Q. Have you always known you wanted to work with young children?
A. Absolutely. In high school, I was a tutor in an aftercare program, and from them on always had a passion to work with young children. When I graduated from Southeastern, I went to work at a childcare center right away. Four years later, I joined BCC and have been here ever since.

Q. DC uses a mixed income model in its classrooms. How does that work?
A. A little over half of the children at the DC ELP are utilizing a voucher from the District of Columbia to cover tuition. The remainder of the families pay privately. I really like this model because it encourages an exchange of culture. Traditions such as clothing, language, and observed holidays all shine through in the classroom. It is a special moment when you see that the kids are learning from each other.

Q. You mentioned you had a “shadow” with you from day one. Who was following you around?
A. My first day at BCC was also the first day for an adorable little one-year-old toddler. I just so happened to be the first person she met when she came to the center. She must have seen my “I’m new here too” glow because she followed me around all the time after that!

Q. Leaving their parents is tough for some children. What do you do to help them adjust?
A. You absolutely need to be compassionate and remember that every child will adjust differently. The DC program serves kids from six weeks up through five year olds, but all of them need a lot of nurturing at this stage in their lives.

ashley-hunt-in-her-classroomQ. How have early learning programs changed since you graduated from school?
A. I think the whole industry of childcare is changing and I am glad to be at a place where an actual curriculum is used. [Ed. Note: the curriculum the DC ELP uses is called the Creative Curriculum]. I learn a lot from it. I like all the ideas it gives me for how to manage my classroom and the actual resource cards, books, and learning tools are great. I also recently attended Quality Improvement Network’s (QIN) almost yearlong training in early childhood development and really took a lot away from that.

[Ed. Note: The Quality Improvement network is a consortium of early learning providers in DC working to improve access to quality early childhood education. Ashely completed eight, 3-hour sessions over the past year that were offered by QIN. Some of the modules covered included classroom management strategies and student-teacher interaction techniques.]

Q. We heard you took away more than a certificate of completion after the QIN training. What was it?
A. I was honored to be selected by my fellow classmates as the winner of the “QIN Spirit” award!

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DC ELP earns NAEYC accreditation through 2021

Five perfect marks and three more above 90 percent highlight scores

NAEYC Cropped 2016-6-14The Board of Child Care’s Early Learning Program (ELP) has earned its first time accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals.

Conferred June 6, the NAEYC certificate is valid through July 1, 2021. To earn NAEYC accreditation, the Board of Child Care went through an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against 10 NAEYC early childhood program standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria.

Additionally, NAEYC assessors conducted an on-site visit. NAEYC-accredited programs are also subject to unannounced visits during their five-year accreditation.

“NAEYC is the gold standard and recognized nationally for quality early learning programs like ours,” said Cora Jackson, Assistant Program Director of the DC ELP. “It says that our program is a place where all children can learn, grow and thrive, because of our exciting and rich learning environments, nurturing, engaging, and knowledgeable teaching staff, and committed families.”

BCC REPORT CARD W MEAN SCORE NAEYCBCC earned outstanding scores within the 10 NAEYC program standards the ELP was judged and evaluated upon. NAEYC awarded BCC 100 percent marks in five categories, 96 percent or better in two other standards, giving BCC a mean score of 95.8!

“What these numbers tell me is we’re very successful at what we do and justifies why we have a waiting list to get into the program,” said Laurie Anne Spagnola, BCC’s President & CEO. “It also means we have some outstanding programming in place to enrich the children and families we serve, and that is most important.”

In the 25 years since NAEYC Accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. NAEYC validates 7,000 programs, or just approximately eight percent of all preschools and other early childhood programs.

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