Day Early Learning teachers awarded scholarships

 In In Our Classrooms, News

Thirteen Day Early Learning teachers will have the opportunity to further their knowledge about mental health supports and services available for young children. They recently received Mental Health Educational scholarships from Infancy Onward, Indiana’s Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Association.

The teachers will use the scholarships to attain the Infant Mental Health Endorsement®.

We recently talked with two teachers from the Day Early Learning Center for Infants & Toddlers — Kirsten Wray, Lead Teacher in the Toddler 1 classroom, and Angela Lenk, Lead Teacher in the Infant 1 classroom — about why they applied for the scholarship and how the endorsement will impact their work.

“I heard about the scholarship and endorsement from our center director, Emily Jarboe,” Lenk said of discovering the opportunity. “She thought it was something I would be interested in, and she was right.” 

In order to complete their endorsements, the teachers will participate in specialized in-service trainings, work with guidance from mentors or supervisors and learn about promoting the delivery of high-quality, relationship-focused services to young children and their caregivers.

“The best part is that we will get to do reflective practice where we speak with individuals across other professions and learn from each other,” Wray said.

“Individuals are tiered based on the amount of experience they have,” Lenk said of the specific training she will receive. “It starts with in-service training hours based on social-emotional development. That is followed by reflective supervision with a licensed mental health consultant, which helps you understand what children and parents are going through and how to reach out to them if they need extra support.”

In partnership with Infancy Onward, Early Learning Indiana is supporting 300 early childhood education and early intervention providers statewide in earning either the Infant Mental Health Endorsement® or the Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement®. The training educates Indiana’s network of child care professionals about mental health supports and services available, as well as the signs displayed by young children in need of such services.

Wray said she was motivated to pursue the specialized training because Early Learning Indiana works with many children who have experienced trauma.

“This endorsement will allow me to better serve the children in our centers,” she said. “Social-emotional learning and the understanding of mental health is vital when you are working with children. It truly sets the foundation for learning later in life.”

Congratulations to the following Day Early Learning teachers!

  • Katherine Christian, State Government Center
  • April Despuig, Lilly Family Center
  • Emily Jarboe, Center for Infants and Toddlers
  • Danika Johnson, Lilly Family Center
  • Lee Ann Kidwell, IU Health
  • Angela Lenk, Center for Infants and Toddlers
  • Savannah Luppino, IU Health
  • Alethia Minzlaff, Lilly Family Center
  • Heather Mitchell, State Government Center
  • Alichia St. Myer, Center for Infants and Toddlers
  • Juli VanKley, Park 100
  • Shanice Woodson, Federal Building
  • Kirsten Wray, Center for Infants and Toddlers
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