"I value NAEYC and my membership. Over the years, attending the Annual Conferences and serving as Co-President of the Dallas AEYC has really prepared me professionally. I am constantly using the resources available, such as TORCH, to help the staff and myself.”
Prerna Richards, Program Director, Mi Escuelita Preschool in Dallas, TX. NAEYC member since 1994.
Tell us about your work with young children:
I have worked in the field of education for 29 years, mostly in the nonprofit sector, which has given me the chance to make a difference in the lives of children. I currently work as the Program Director for Mi Escuelita Preschool, providing early childhood education to low income at-risk children in the Dallas area. Mi Escuelita is an NAEYC accredited program that teaches English to children from all cultures and prepares them for academic success.
Why did you become an NAEYC member?
I first became a member of NAEYC in 1991 when I lived in Hawaii. NAEYC was the only organization that provided ongoing professional development, and was a great way to meet like-minded people. I remain a member because I believe in NAEYC’s mission and the work that the organization does.
What does your NAEYC membership mean to you? How has it impacted your career and influenced your work with young children?
I value the organization and my membership. Over the years, attending the Annual Conferences and serving as Co-President of the Dallas AEYC has really prepared me professionally. I am constantly using the resources available, such as TORCH, to help the staff and myself.
What is your favorite NAEYC member benefit?
My favorite benefit is attending the Annual Conference and the Professional Development Institute and networking with other early childhood educators. Anyone can go but as a member I get a discounted rate. I also appreciate receiving Teaching Young Children and Young Children.
Young children are so inspiring. That’s why many of us are early childhood educators. Tell us how children inspire you.
Children are so joyful! They stay in the present moment. It is easy to see the world as a beautiful place when you are with children and see it through their eyes. A little girl once inspired me as I watched her overcome a learning difference. She could not speak clearly, and she worked very hard with the speech therapist. To me, this was inspiring and motivating. It reminded me that we should all learn from children when facing challenges in our life, by acting with determination and drive!
What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy making a difference by providing leadership to our program that works to change the lives of children. I do this by being compassionate and understanding towards our staff, I encourage them when they are struggling or provide solutions to problems they are facing.
Describe a moment when looking at the world through a child’s eyes changed your perception on something.
I can remember a time when a child had been diagnosed with a learning difference and her parents were concerned and having a hard time accepting it. The little girl just looked right at her mom, put her hands on her mom’s cheek and said, "Mummy I’m okay and I can still play!" We all started laughing because it was so sweet broke the tension in the room.
What three accomplishments, personal and/or professional you are most proud of?
Earning my MBA, creating a great team at Mi Escuelita and raising two daughters with a great value system, who are beautiful young women inside and out!
Describe your perfect day
A perfect day involves my team working in harmony, with lots of laughter and happy children engaged in learning and exploring.
If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you want to discuss?
I would talk to Mahatma Gandhi about India's freedom movement and listen to his wisdom.
What’s your favorite book and why?
The Kissing Hand has a great message of love and reassurance. I also like Owl Babies. It’s a sweet story about the love that binds families together.