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PCC employees complete childcare training


Photo submitted by Brandi Heppe

Rocky Peller, left, and Theressa Phillips show off their newly acquired training certificates.

Two employees at Petersburg Children's Center (PCC) recently received their child development associate credential. For Rocky Peeler and Theressa Phillips, both mothers of two, the

achievement means looking toward the future with fresh training and knowledge to put into practice.

"You see them bringing all that training and information into their classroom," says PCC director Brandi Heppe.

The certificate included 120 hours of training, taking an exam in Juneau and

being observed in a classroom setting. Beyond the training Peeler and Phillips received, the reward is a small hourly raise, which always helps out, and the fact PCC picked up the bill for the program. Heppe says the certificate is a positive step in the right direction and opens the door for the women to continue their higher education.

For Peeler, it took her a year to complete the five required modules and professional portfolio. Before she started the process the idea of taking on such a commitment was intimidating, mainly because she hadn't sought any type of schooling after graduating high school.

"The most difficult part, I'd say, was the professional portfolio," Peeler says. "It was a lot of your own thoughts, your own take on learning and teaching."

For instance, a question Peeler faced was how she maintained health and safety of children in her classroom. Peeler spends her days in the PCC nursery with children ranging from six weeks to 19 months. The room can be challenging at times, with some youngsters refusing to sleep and infants teething presents a huge hurdle. But ultimately the days are very rewarding, Peeler says.

"I love it," she says. "Every day is different and you get to make relationships with all the kids and they take from that."

Peeler is in her fourth year with PCC, and says, "We're like a family." The fact she has kids she's known since they were toddlers coming up to her as four-year-olds to talk with her and give her hugs is simply a perk of the job. It's no wonder she likes the idea of, maybe one day, operating a home daycare.

"Unfortunately, I would have to leave here at some point, but it would be nice to help give back to the community," Peeler says.

The achievement took Phillips a year and a half to complete which she admits is much longer than normal. The certificate usually takes about five or six months, she says.

"I was working full-time, I had a part-time janitorial job and I had no working internet at home," she says. "But I did it."

Phillips would work on her

training little by little, during downtime at PCC, usually while the kids had nap time. But she wouldn't change a thing, and she says the experience really opened her eyes to new ways of approaching her job. Phillips learned a lot about early childhood development, including what she can do to support kids emotionally and socially.

People are encouraging her to continue her education and chase college credits, but for now, Phillips is content with her achievement. Although she isn't closing the door on the idea of possibly pursuing her associates or bachelors degree.

"I could go onto college, I don't think I'm going to do that anytime soon," she says. "But that is something I'm thinking about for the future."


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