Last December I reached a major milestone in my family child care career – I completed the Family Child Care Certificate from Fox Valley Technical College, and was awarded a Family Child Care Credential by the Registry.
Because I teach the first two classes in the Credential – Curriculum for Family Child Care and Special Topics for Family Child Care – I just had to take the other two classes: Managing Finances/Financial Planning and the Capstone course. “Piece of cake!” I thought.
Silly me, I should know better.
I took the Finances in the summer of 2015, and it was just as challenging as I thought it would be! The instructor, Kelly, and I have been friends and colleagues for several years so I knew I’d get lots of support from her, but I also knew that she sets high standards and there would be a lot to do. I was right on both counts! I’ve always said that one of the things I like least about family child care is the finances, and I haven’t changed my mind but I do feel like I’ve got a better handle on the financial end of things. I wish I could’ve taken the class before I opened my first family child care business.
Then fall 2016 I took the Capstone course while teaching Curriculum for the third time and taking Guiding Child Behavior. I’m either an idiot, a glutton for punishment, or both! For me the hardest part of the Capstone course was picking a topic to work on. Since we were the first class to do the Capstone there weren’t many examples to look at for ideas, and being an over-achiever I wanted to pick something “big” but not too big. Once I picked a topic I knew I’d be able to get it done, but making decisions has never been my strong suit.
Finally I decided to work on the NAFCC Accreditation Self-Study as my Final Project. Since I’d already started the Accreditation process I had to do the self-study anyway, so I figured that doing it for class would kill two birds with one stone, I’d have support from Kelly and my classmates, and I’d get a lot more done if there was a deadline.
To make a super-long story super-short, I worked my butt off all semester and gathered documentation showing how 116 of the 289 accreditation standards are met in my child care program. Geek that I am, I did an electronic portfolio using LiveBinders instead of a traditional paper and ink one so I was relieved that our portfolio presentations would occur in the classroom where I’d taught in-person classes, so I was familiar with the technology.
On December 9, 2015, my classmates and I presented our portfolios to the Registry Commissioner. I was fortunate that our Registry Commissioner was someone I’d known and worked with for years – a super-nice person with has a positive attitude who I knew would find something good to say about every presentation.
Despite that, I was still really nervous. I’ve been “in the spotlight” teaching, presenting workshops, directing band etc. for years, but I still dread public speaking. After I got past the talk-about-myself part and into the talk-about-my-work part I was a little more relaxed. You can tell by the expression on my face, right? Or not so much…
Everyone said they were nervous but all of the presentations went really well. Then another nerve-wracking time while we waited for our individual meetings with the Commissioner to discuss our presentations and find out if we’d “passed” the Commissioning or not.
I did, and so did everyone else! Hooray for us!
Here’s the first class to complete the Family Child Care Credential at FVTC (with Kelly in the middle).
And all the successful Commissioning candidates with Commissioner Michelle (seated). The girl with the gorgeous blonde/purple hair was presenting a portfolio for the Administrator’s Credential. She did a great job, and it was nice to hear a different credential’s presentation.
The hard work is done – time to celebrate!