“More than anything, we all want to be seen,” said Rhonda J. Meyers, M Ed at a recent Childcare Resources professional development workshop. “It takes time to truly feel like we’re heard.”
Meyers, who serves on the governing board of the Michigan Assocation for the Education of Young Children and is owner of Heartfelt Impressions Learning Center in Lake Orion, Michigan, came to Vero Beach to discuss how to implement family engagement and staff appreciation practices to help those that support children connect and thrive.
On the evening before the workshop, more than a dozen local center directors met with Meyers to discuss their core values and how to build a workplace culture that supports all employees.
In Saturday’s workshop, funded by Indian River County Children’s Services Advisory Committee and PNC, Meyers explored family and community engagement with approximately 75 educators from twenty-five local centers including Head Start and the School District of Indian River County.
“Involvement is when we make efforts to get parents to participate,” explained Meyers. “It changes to engagement when we start building that relationship with families. It has to be meaningful.”
Later in the day, Meyers explained the five languages of appreciation, a concept developed by Gary Chapman and Paul White that enables authentic and thoughtful appreciation in the workplace. Two of Meyers’ staff members joined the workshop in an interactive virtual appearance.
“I enjoyed learning the value of intentional, meaningful appreciation for staff, children, parents and the surrounding community's role in the program,” said one educator in attendance. “Coming together as a community is a great thing, and we should do it more often.”