The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) would like to take a collective pause to thank the tireless efforts of those working in the education field, particularly the early care and education workforce before another pandemic school year starts. During the past 18 months of incredible challenge, there have been essential educators and caregivers in every corner of the state who have shown up for Wisconsin’s children and families. This is and will forever be one of the most important roles a person can play in shaping the future. Our communities could not function, nor families prosper, nor children thrive without the effort our educators and caregivers bring to their profession each and every day. Educators and caregivers of Wisconsin – we see you; we appreciate you; and we are fighting for you. Our friends here at WECA wanted to share their love letters to you below. Put your feet up and bask in the admiration we have for you.

We appreciate all the caregivers/providers throughout Wisconsin know that we see your hard work on a daily basis making sure you provide exceptional quality care, mentorship to families, and continue to stay open during a pandemic that has not ended. WECA is here for you through it all. We continue to advocate for early childhood on your behalf. Thanks for all your hard work! -Tashawna Green, member of the WECA Grassroots Co-hort

Do you know that you are doing THE most important work there is?  Since 90% of brain development happens in the first 5 years, what you do is changing the trajectory of our children’s lives.  Thank you for the extra hours you work, the dedication you show, for reading all the books, for doing all the planning, for caring for our children.  We see you, we appreciate you, we thank you! -Amy Fewel, Tiered Services Coach

The care and energy that you give to children and families daily is so appreciated by us onlookers. The world continues to grow better because you are in it, doing this work in the early childhood field, helping teach children compassion, kindness, and empathy at a time when these things are needed most. We see your fortitude and determination; we look up to you and your example. -Mary Niec, Dane County Coach

Thank you for all that you do to support children and families in your programs.  As early childhood educators, you play such a vital role in the development of children and setting the stage for their continued success.  Your compassion, dedication, and resiliency have never been more evident than now given the many challenges faced in each of our communities. Thank you! -Dan Eckhardt, WEESSN Financial Coordinator

Thank you seems insufficient to express the gratitude that is felt for the work you do in supporting children and their families every day. In a time of upheaval and constant change, you are providing a source of consistency and dependability that all children and families need. I am in deep awe of all that you have done and continue to do! -Amanda Burns, WEESSN Project Manager

There is nothing more valuable than an educated, dedicated, thoughtful, and passionate Early Childhood provider. I’m so thankful for the compassion shared with children and families within this community, especially in these most trying times. Thank you for all you have done in the past 18 months and all that you will continue to do. You are so appreciated! -Chanel Clark, WEESSN Team Coordinator

To every person working in early care and education in our state, know that I am amazed by the grit and love, and compassion you have brought to your work during perhaps the hardest days any of us could have imagined during this pandemic.  Know that I tell your story at every opportunity I get and lift you up as some of the most important people working in WI.  You have been magic makers keeping our children safe and creating the best spaces for them to play and develop during these challenging times.  You deserve so very much appreciation.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart. -Ruth Schmidt, WECA Executive Director

ECE professionals everywhere – – T H A N K  Y O U ! ! As a former care provider, I’ve been in your shoes. As a parent, I’ve depended on you to help raise my daughters. As a Wisconsin Early Education Shared Service Network staff member, I see the triumphs and the struggles you face every day. The energy, expertise, and heart you bring to your role each day are our state’s most precious resources. We are forever grateful for your service. XO -Paula Drew, Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Co-Director, WECA

Thank you to all of you for your dedication to caring for our children, the children of Wisconsin.  I’ve been an early childhood educator and know that even when you love what you do, it can still be difficult in the best of times.  And the last two years have fallen short of the best.  I’m in awe of your tenacity and so grateful for your willingness to persist and care and love our children.  There are not enough “Thank You!”s in the world to express the gratitude of parents everywhere.  Thank you!  You are amazing! -Crestalee Meyer, WECA REWARD Stipend

Thank you to each and every one of you for working hard to love and support children in your community.  Our children know how important you are and look to you as family.  Parents trust you to care and teach their children while they cannot be with them.  Our world is a better place because of professional caregivers like yourself.  Thank you for persevering, we so appreciate you. -Janine Wipperfurth, WEESSN Southwest Coach, and Tiered Member Specialist

A simple thank you seems so inadequate to express my gratitude for the Early Childhood Professionals. They have endured more than a year of disrupted teaching and never gave up. They found the strength to continue because they care and they love the children in their community. If the pandemic made one thing clear this past year, it’s that those in the Early Childhood Profession are more than just teachers and providers. They are advocates, artists, counselors, and leaders. They have shown the future leaders of our communities what it takes to pull together and persevere. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. -Mary Mahl, Monitoring and Compliance Coordinator-WECA Food Program

My favorite Dr. Suess quote is, “Why blend in when you were born to stand out?”  This is all Early Care Educators during the last 18 months…all of you have stood out and have been noticed, especially by us.  We think of you every day! We know you work hard; we know you are tired; we know you are stressed, but you still show your dedication by showing up every day and making a difference in the lives of our children in Wisconsin.  You are impressive, you shine, you are loved!  Better days are coming.  Wisconsin is a better place because of all of you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you. -Mari Beth Valley, Lead Program Coach, WEESSN

In a year full of difficulty and uncertainty, we thank you for your perseverance and hard work to care for our littlest children. You play such an important role in the lives of these children and you have been there for them when they most needed a place to keep them safe and loved. Please know that we recognize the incredible dedication you bring to the early childhood community! If I could give a hug to each and every one of you, I would! As a professional in ECE and as a parent of a young child, I truly know the value of your hard work! -Jen Dittrich, WECA Membership and Training Coordinator

I so admire the things all you have done for Wisconsin’s children and families during this pandemic.  You committed yourself to what was already some of the hardest work and persevered under challenging circumstances.  You truly are the workforce that is holding up the rest of Wisconsin’s workforce, and for that you deserve recognition.  Thank you so much! -Amy Schuster, Director of the REWARD Stipend Program

Thank you for ALL that you do for our children! Although it may sometimes feel like a thankless job.  The children DO appreciate the caring, compassion, instruction, security that you provide for them.  You are one of their biggest advocates and children truly appreciate that.  Parents appreciate the knowledge and experience you share with them and all of the wonderful things that you provide for their children.  The community appreciates the time that you spend preparing, teaching, and caring for each of our youngest citizens.  I appreciate ALL the hats you wear and the services you provide for our treasures, our children! You truly do have the most important job!  Thank you! -Angie Albert, WEESSN, Family Child Care Coach, Jackson County

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every early care and education professional across Wisconsin. You are the lifeline for so many working parents and an extension of family for the children enrolled in your care. You are the backbone to thriving communities and the workforce that holds up all others. Your passion for this work is inspiring and your commitment to ensuring young children have a safe, engaging, and enriching learning environment is commendable. Know that your tireless and unwavering efforts do not go unnoticed. We appreciate you, honor you, and celebrate you today and every day. -Kelly Hook, Director – Donor & Partner Engagement

Early childhood educators have one of the most important, essential jobs there is – providing education to children during the most crucial times in their development!  You wear many hats, you never know what to expect, but you continue to show up for children and families every day while giving your heart and soul.  Early childhood educators are some of the most passionate people I know!  Words cannot express my gratitude for what you do and the resilience you have shown during this challenging time.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your commitment, drive, and energy.  You are appreciated! -Nicole Schabow, WEESSN West Program Coach

As someone who taught middle school for a decade, I can appreciate the work you do.  You are underpaid, under-resourced, you have incredible expectations placed on you and not enough hours in the day.  Despite that, you continue to make a difference in the lives of children in the noblest of professions.  What greater honor and contribution to our society is there than passing on the knowledge of both academic and social learning to multiple generations?  You do the good work, and my hat is off to you. -Jared Schwert, WEESSN Financial Specialist

As an early childhood professional, we know that you aren’t in the business to make money. You are in the business because you want to change lives for the better and for that a simple THANK YOU doesn’t seem like enough. This past year has challenged you all in ways never imagined and you continued to come to work despite everything seems to be against you. The strength, determination, and care that you’ve brought to the children you work with, their families, your co-workers, and the community has not gone unnoticed. You are doing amazing work. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. -Jackie Anderson, Wisconsin Infant Toddler Policy Project Manager

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