Moving to Madison in 2001 from a small town in northern Wisconsin felt like a breath of fresh air. I remember how amazing it felt to see other faces like mine. It gave me a sense of community and system of support. It was not easy living in a small town where the only faces that resembled your own are those in your household and on television.
From adolescence to adulthood it was very easy to acknowledge the significance of seeing faces that express a similarity. Now jump ahead 12 years later and becoming a mom to two beautiful girls. I wanted them to have that very same sense of community, belonging, support, and connectedness. It was highly important to us that our daughter attend a diverse daycare with genuine loving staff. We wanted our daughters to be in a positive environment that reflective of the community that they live in. I strongly believe that kids early on develop an appreciation of themselves and the differences that they see in others. There is something so beautiful in seeing all shades, abilities, and identities on a daily basis. If possible, all cultures should be presented at a daycare center through artwork, books, curriculum, and staffing.
We have visited countless daycare centers in Madison. I am thankful to have witnessed many of these entities at the daycare Angel’s Joy Learning Center, currently attended by my daughters and One City Learning. Our daughter’s daycare has become like an extension of family to them. It is pretty cool that the kids there get to refer to one of the staff members as Grammy. This provides a familial aspect for them when they are not with us during the work day. One of the things I love most is they are shown books and posters with children that look like them. I see that as a form of empowerment.
When all aspects of a child feels celebrated, I believe they extend that positive energy to the other children that they interact with. In the words of Angela Ferguson of Angels Joy Learning Center, “It fosters the ability to function harmoniously and productively in a multicultural society which is where loving who we are comes into practice.”
Coming from my birth city Miami, to Menomonie, WI, and now my home Madison, WI, I have seen a rainbow of beautiful shades of human being and experienced many amazing cultures. In each phase of life, my own culture has been both welcomed and questioned. Each one transitional period has pushed me to ensure that my daughters love themselves, embrace their heritage, and are in a space that appreciates their identity.
Olivia (6 months) Vanessa (3 yrs Old)
If you would like to learn more about Angels Joy Learning Center and One City Learning, feel free to check out their websites.