Tatianna LeBlanc, of Milton, is one of four recipients of a scholarship from Let's Grow Kids.
Let’s Grow Kids, a nonprofit organization working to ensure all Vermont families have access to affordable, high-quality child care, created the scholarship this year to increase access to education and training for those looking to begin or advance careers in the field of early childhood education.
LeBlanc was one of four aspiring early childhood educators to receive the scholarship.
“Having a well-trained early childhood education workforce is crucial to creating equitable access to high-quality early learning communities to ensure all Vermont children get a strong start," Let’s Grow Kids CEO Aly Richards, said. "Early educators also play an essential role in supporting Vermont’s overall workforce and economy which we are seeing and feeling now more than ever as we continue COVID-19 recovery work."
LeBlanc graduated earlier this summer from South Burlington High School, and will be pursuing a bachelor's degree in early childhood education at Northern Vermont University.
For the last several years, she has worked in her mother’s child care programs, Georgia’s Next Generation and Next Generation Northern Campus.
"I am eager to continue my education and to make an impact in the early childhood field,” she said.
LeBlanc will receive $1,500 as well as a free membership to the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children.
“Decades of research have shown us that educator qualifications are the strongest predictor of program quality and child outcomes," Sonja Raymond, Executive Director of the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children, said. "In order to support children’s healthy development, we need to support the current and next generation of early childhood educators by helping them get the education they need and making a livable wage once they do so."
The other recipients of this year’s scholarship include both graduating high school seniors and current members of the early childhood education field working to increase their qualifications:
- Riley Gamache, of Swanton, a 2020 graduate of Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, wants to open her own infant and toddler program one day. Riley plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in early childhood education with a minor in business. "I am very proud to call myself an aspiring first-generation female entrepreneur,” Riley said.
- Megan Dow, of Washington, a 2020 graduate of Williamstown Middle High School, made a decision to pursue early childhood education instead of nursing after taking an Education Training program at Randolph Technical Career Center and doing an internship at Robin's Nest, a child care program in Randolph.
- Tammy Gosley, of Bennington, is a continuing student at Northern Vermont University who has been working for Bennington County Head Start for 20 years after initially bringing her own children to the program. Tammy hasn't been able to afford pursuing her bachelor's degree and teaching license before now even though it’s something she’s wanted to do for a long time.