Editor’s Note: Matrix Head Start participated in Mayor Duggan’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) program this summer. Fourteen youth received 120 hours of formal early childhood education training toward attaining their Child Development Associate (CDA), while earning wages for their time. Head Start requires a CDA, at minimum, to be an assistant teacher in an Early Head Start classroom.
“When I interviewed with Matrix Head Start for the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent CDA program, I was thinking about going into social work. The interviewer pointed out that because I wanted to be a social worker for children and families that this would be a good experience. As the class progressed over the summer though, I started to want to be Head Start teacher. What I learned made me excited to help children learn and grow and watch that.
I was actually in Early Head Start. My mom still has the portfolio of my work. I look at it every now and then.
I’ve seen some pretty tough situations for children because of their living environments and the way their parents are raising them. I want to be a positive influence in their life, so that they’ll know the difference between right and wrong and how things should be done.
At first, the CDA program was a bit overwhelming. Every week we had to write competency statements and learn about the different functional areas and resources. It really just changed my perspective on things that I thought I knew. As caregivers, we need to be there for the child. Little ones can come across as being too hyper, but really they need to be active in order to learn and develop. We learned how to support that.
We talked about how Head Start is inclusive of all types of families, and how as teachers we can support families through different situations. We learned how to be more open and professional.
As a teacher, I feel like there are more opportunities for me to help children and their families. I can be a mentor and help them get a good start at an early age.
After this coursework, we have to complete 480 hours of volunteer or paid classroom time before we can take the test to earn a CDA. I don’t know if I’ll have time to complete the classroom hours during my senior year at Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies, but I do hope to earn my CDA.”