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Children sit next to each other on a classroom carpet. One child has her hand extended, thumb raised.


Amanda Gooch

Amanda Gooch

November 1, 2023

It was such an incredible and interactive time at our most recent professional development day. We welcomed Tammy Pawloski as she presented “Why Poverty Matters - How WE Can Matter More.” Together we gained a deeper understanding of the potential negative impact of financial poverty on brain development and school and life success. We redefined poverty as the absence of any resource (financial, socio-emotional, physical, cognitive, or spiritual) that creates barriers to school and life success. We also took away authentic strategies for removing barriers that emerge when resources are absent. Finally, we explored how much we matter as educators within our families, schools, and community partnerships as we pour into the next generation through early childhood education. To learn more about Francis Marion University’s Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty and their Online Learning Institute, click on the following link below:

Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty

For those of you that attended the workshop, we have enjoyed visiting your school sites with our technical assistance. We are already seeing the evidence that you are pouring into your student’s “buckets” as you encourage positive behavior. It is incredibly rewarding as we witness your classrooms express daily kindness, appreciation and love. “Bucket filling” and “dipping” are effective metaphors for understanding the effects of our actions and words on the well-being of others and ourselves.

As we explore further how much we matter as educators, we can probably relate to helping and supporting a student or fellow teacher in need, someone who may have been struggling with something. When we help another person, in a way, we become a “portable source of energy” for them; we serve as a personal battery. Sometimes we may need to provide the power for them until they can handle things on their own. Other times, all we need to do is help them change their own batteries as the following story suggests:

When a flashlight grows dim or quits working, you don’t throw it away, you change the batteries. When a person messes up and finds themselves in a dark place, do you cast them aside? Of course not. You help them change their batteries.

  • Some need AA batteries for attention and affection.

  • Some need AAA batteries for attention, affection, and acceptance.

  • Some need C batteries for compassion.

  • Some need D batteries for direction.

  • And if they still don’t seem to shine, simply sit with them quietly and share your light.

Anything we do when helping someone change or recharge their personal batteries must be done with empathy; with the ability to understand and share the feelings of the other person. This means we have a patient heart that listens, pay attention to body language and other non-verbal cues, reach with open arms that accept and watch our word choice; the more positive, respectful, and supportive, the more we are operating from a perspective of understanding.

We thank you for your dedication and willingness to pour into the next generation through education as we elevate and promote the highest quality early childhood development and education in Indian River County.

Wishing you the best,

Amanda & Todd

Children lay in the grass, forming a circle.
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