“The early childhood education profession faces many critical issues, many that impact the health and well-being of children and families. My dream realized would include increased resources, investments and access to quality early care and education for all children. I also dream of a future that includes leadership in all areas of early childhood education that represents the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of children and families served.”
Jamilah R. Jor'dan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Early Childhood-Primary and Bilingual Education at Chicago State University. NAEYC member since 1999.
Tell us about your work with young children:
My work on behalf of children and families spans over 30 years. I've served as assistant executive director of a multi-site Head Start program, program specialist for the National Parent Teacher Association, interim executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Association for the Education of Young Children, and founder and president of the Partnership for Quality Child Care (an accreditation facilitation project-AFP). Last year, I had the opportunity to work in Ghana on Chicago State University's teaching and learning materials project funded by USAID.
Why did you become an NAEYC member?
I became a member of NAEYC to become part of a professional network and access the publications, books and other resources. The network has expanded to include lifetime friendships and my involvement has resulted in several professional opportunities.
What does your NAEYC membership mean to you? How has it impacted your career and influenced your work with young children?
Membership in NAEYC has provided an opportunity to serve in various positions within the association. I served as a NAEYC Board Member from 1999-2000 and as vice president of the Governing Board from 2006-2010. I have also served as an advisor and participant for a number of NAEYC workgroups, committees, and special projects. I had the opportunity to partner with NAEYC through accreditation facilitation to increase the quality of early care and education for Chicago children who reside in lower income communities. These opportunities increased my knowledge of the association, policy governance principles and strengthened my organizational and program development skills. I have also used the knowledge and skills in my teaching and community service as a local school council member and trustee for a children's organization. My membership in NAEYC supports my lifelong commitment to children and families.
What is your favorite NAEYC member benefit?
The journal, Young Children. I look forward to receiving each issue.
What is your dream for the future of early-childhood education?
The early childhood education profession faces many critical issues, many that impact the health and well-being of children and families. My dream realized would include increased resources, investments and access to quality early care and education for all children. I also dream of a future that includes leadership in all areas of early childhood education that represents the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of children and families served.”
What is your favorite part of your job?
As an Associate Professor in the Department of Early Childhood-Primary and Bilingual Education at Chicago State University, I especially value the relationships with my students. Teaching provides an opportunity to share my passion about the profession and my commitment to children and families. I am able to bring my skills and knowledge into the classroom, bridging theory and practice, which the students appreciate. This feedback is continuously reflected in my student evaluations.
What three accomplishments, personal and/or professional you are most proud of?:
First, I am grateful for the support my family has provided me over the years which has allowed me to be of service to the profession. I am especially proud of my children and grandchildren. Each have been given roots and each have "owned" their wings. It's a joy observing their journey.
Second, I am proud of the support and impact the Partnership for Quality Child Care (Accreditation Facilitation Project) had on the profession. Both NAEYC and NAFCC (National Association for Family Child Care) supported our efforts to facilitate both center-based and family child care accreditation in lower income communities. The collaboration at all levels resulted in Chicago being recognized for the largest number of NAEYC-Accredited programs in the country.
Third, I was honored to be a recipient of the National Association for Family Child Care Ruby Brunson Community Advocacy Award for community advocacy on behalf of the profession of family child care. Ruby Brunson is highly regarded in the family child care community and the award is prominently displayed in my home in remembrance of her contributions to the profession.