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2023 Week of the Young Child

By Xiara Quinn, Lead Teacher at Learning Grove, and member of the 2022 Class of the Early Childhood Leadership Fellowship.


While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in many ways, it hasn’t changed the need to celebrate and support children and the adults who love, care for, and educate them. A qualified early educator—one who knows how to create a dynamic learning environment—is at the center of every high-quality early learning experience. Dedicated early childhood professionals ensure that all children in their care have the early experiences they need to succeed in school, graduate on time, and thrive later in life.

This Week of the Young Child, we celebrate Xiara Quinn, a Lead Teacher at Learning Grove in Southwest Ohio and a 2022 Early Childhood Leadership Fellow. Xiara is newly elected to the governing board for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

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Xiara Quinn

Hi! My name is Xiara Quinn. I've been an early childhood teacher for 8 years and a Lead Toddler Teacher almost 3 years. I've worked with children of all ages over the past 12 years, but the toddler age has a special place in my heart. Their boundless curiosity, their humor, their empathy, their artistic creativity, their big feelings remind me how to be truly human. There are glorious and not-so glorious aspects of this work. I am thriving most when I am collaborating with my teaching team and the children's families to create better learning experiences for each child. 

Collaboration, all things social-emotional, and family engagement are the best parts of my job (and nap times ☺️). The thing that grounds me is my connection to and participation with the larger early childhood field through advocacy work. I am so honored that I have been elected to the governing board for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization whose research and unifying framework has helped me become a better educator over the past 5 years. I can't wait to bring my own voice as a classroom teacher, and the perspectives of every amazing classroom teacher that I get to work alongside, into one of the biggest decision-making spaces for this field! 

I would be remiss not to mention the ways that Groundwork Ohio has elevated my teaching practice. Their advocacy work for children, families, and educators has given me hope and a vision for a better future for early childhood in Ohio. And I would not have had the confidence and tenacity to go for the position on the NAEYC Governing Board without joining the Groundwork Ohio Early Childhood Leadership Fellowship. 

I love this field so much! I hope I can add value to it in whatever way I can. If you're a teacher, caregiver, or parent to a young child reading, you do profoundly good work. Happy 2023 Week of the Young Child! 

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Ohio can continue to honor and invest in Xiara, and all early childhood educators, to improve outcomes for children by supporting new investments that increase accessibility and affordability of child care and support the child care workforce. This includes the following measures proposed by Governor DeWine:

  • Child Care Capacity: An investment of $150 million of state ARPA funds to provide child care scholarships to direct care professionals including early childhood professionals and to increase infant and toddler child care capacity in communities throughout the state.

  • Child Care Eligibility: An expansion of the state’s publicly-funded child care program from 142% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 160%, which would result in more than 15,000 children and families gaining access to care.

  • Preschool: An additional $46 million per year in Early Childhood Education grants, estimated to expand preschool to an additional 11,525 children under 200% FPL as proposed by Governor DeWine and another $46 million over the biennium to serve more three and four-year olds and pilot full day preschool. For every $1 million added to this program, 250 more low-income 3- and 4-year-olds gain access to preschool.

  • The Department of Child & Youth: Our families have complex problems that require complex solutions. While new investments are critical, we must also work smarter. We are thrilled that the Governor is proposing a department that will be accountable to kids every single day. Bringing together the diverse staff that serves families across multiple agencies to work together under one mission in a cost-neutral effort will bring wisdom, efficiency and, most importantly, accelerated solutions and results for children and families.

We are also asking our state legislature to build upon the Governor’s strong proposals and support the following measures:

  • Targeted Infant & Toddler Child Care Capacity Building in Child Care Deserts: A new investment of $30 million in state funds to increase capacity of local communities, specifically Appalachian and communities with high infant mortality rates, to provide safe and developmentally appropriate child care for infants and toddlers.

  • Preschool: $23 million per year, in addition the Governor’s proposed expansion, in Early Childhood Education grants. These additional funds can support providing additional half-day preschool slots or for the piloting of full day preschool slots.

Want to lend your Big Voice for Little Kids? Please consider signing your name to a digital letter in support of the early childhood education workforce and the above investments.



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