To help prevent and mitigate childhood adversity, many on-the-ground community partners are hard at work providing needed resources and support to Kentucky kids and families. The Bloom Community Spotlight blog series highlights the important work being done by Bloom Kentucky community partners throughout the Commonwealth. This month, Bloom Kentucky reached out to child advocate, Phoenix Peeler, to share their insight of years working with youth.
Phoenix Peeler, Care and Education Coach
For over 25 years, I have dedicated my professional career to serving young children and their families. I have served my community as a childcare professional, early childhood educator, and an early education and care coach. Although my roles have changed over the years, the dedication to serve young children and their families has not.
I started my journey in the child care profession as a volunteer in a local child care center while in high school. I did not know much about child development, early childhood education, or childhood trauma at that time. I just knew that I loved kids and wanted a chance to get work experience in the childcare field.
Many of the children attending the child care center where I volunteered came from working family homes. Overtime, I began learning more about the children and their families. I realized that many of them were navigating difficult life circumstances that were stressful and oftentimes traumatic. When difficult circumstances happened to occur, I could see that the parents were stressed which, in turn, often caused the children to internalize that stress, as well. The stress of these difficult life circumstances was obvious based on how some parents interacted with their children and how their children interacted with their peers and caregivers while at the child care center.
Unbeknownst to me, I was witnessing some of the negative impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Domestic violence, hunger, and neglect are just a few of the issues that many of these children I worked with were exposed to. I would later learn that for some of those children, the child care center was their haven – a place where they felt most loved, appreciated, and seen.
Here in Kentucky, we have the opportunity to make the future brighter for many of our young children by investing in early childhood education. Child care programs throughout the Commonwealth provide a vital service for parents/guardians that need a safe place to entrust their children when they are unable to provide care for them. Families that place their children in high-quality early childcare programs benefit from the social and emotional support systems and resources they provide, not only for the children, but for the parents/guardians, as well.
To mitigate the negative impact of adverse childhood experiences, families need to have support systems that foster trust, respect, empathy, and accountability. One way to achieve this is through family engagement opportunities offered by the child care centers. Family engagement is a critical component of building relationships that bridge the gap between home and childcare.
To find out more about some of the benefits of family engagement check out information from Child Care Aware and the CDC. To learn more about adverse childhood experiences in Kentucky, check out the resources at BloomKentucky.org, including the ACEs in Kentucky data profile.
This post is part of the Bloom Community Spotlight blog series. Contact Melissa Collins at email@example.com to learn how to get involved and spotlight your organization.
Photo by Segun Osunyomi on Unsplash
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