CDA Spotlight – Shannon Stutzman

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The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is the most widely recognized in early childhood education; the CDA presents child care providers with opportunities in career advancement, in-service hours, and new job opportunities. In this series, we’re highlighting providers who have taken the step to further the quality of their care by completing their CDA! Get to know them below!

Shannon Stutzman

Tell us a little bit more about yourself and something you’d like people to know about you. 

This year my husband Justin and I will be married for 30 years. I have two married children, Kelcey with her husband Eric, Christian with his wife Kay, and the most adorable 2-year-old granddaughter, Wraya. We have never missed watching our children participate in their activities, and from this, we found our love to travel. Any day that we can spend with family is the best day!

How long have you been working in the child care industry and how did you begin your journey as a provider?

In August, it will be 25 years that I’ve worked as a child care provider. When my daughter was born, it was a struggle to find child care. Once I became pregnant with my son, I had to search for child care again, and I found a wonderful provider. I saw how happy my children were. One day, out of the blue, I thought about staying home with my children and becoming a provider. I went to talk to our provider to ask her some questions, and she told me how rewarding it is. She was very supportive of me opening my own child care, so here I am, almost 25 years later.

Describe your experience completing your CDA – what made you want to obtain it? Were you impacted by the pandemic? If so,

After taking the Business Training Series, I got an email from NECC about a class they had to help you receive your CDA. After going through the information, I was intrigued so I decided to do it. I can honestly say it was the best thing I did! From the first class, I was caught hook, line, and sinker! I was so motivated by the information I was receiving and started on my assignments; I just couldn’t stop. I was actually done with my portfolio way before the class was over. The information gave me a new spark! After being in child care for as long as I have been, you can get in a rut, and you don’t even realize it. Child care has also changed significantly from when I started, and I was learning new things and got excited about them and how I can implement them into my program. When I had my observation, the PD Specialist was very impressed with my portfolio. I absolutely loved doing it, so I was very glad to hear the compliment from someone that goes through them all the time.

What is it like to be in the child care/education industry? What impact do you wish to make or are you making on the lives of
those in our community, both young and old? 

Being in this industry is so rewarding! There is never a dull moment! Children say and do the darnedest things! They definitely keep me on my toes! There is nothing better than watching children learn, grow and achieve their goals. It is so fulfilling hearing the excitement in their voices, seeing the smiles on their faces, and feeling the love in their hearts. I just learned that I was accepted to be on the Family Child Care Network Advisory Council. I’m excited to learn and work with my community and other providers to educate them about the services that the Family Child Care Network provides. It is a wonderful resource, and the support they give providers is amazing!

If you could change one thing about child care in our community, across our state, or even around the world, what would you
wish to change?

I wish we could change how people view child care providers. I often would get the “must be rough getting to play with children all day.” Being a provider, especially an in-home provider, is a lot of work! Being a provider, we are the caregiver, the teacher, the chef, the maid, the bookkeeper, and the nurse, to name a few. After the last child leaves, our days are not done. We have to clean, plan and prepare for the next day. Many of us are also taking classes after hours, learning and growing so we can make our child care the best it can be. We help lay the foundation for the children. The first five years are the most important years in a child’s life. What we do as providers are laying the foundation for their physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development. I don’t think providers get the recognition or
respect that we deserve.

What do you wish other people knew about child care/education in our community?

Just how important we really are in the child’s development. What we do now will affect how they do things for the rest of their lives.

Anything else you’d like to share about child care, education, or NECC?

Being an Elevated Provider through NECC has really changed my business and me as a provider. I’m so grateful for my mentor, Kim, and the classes they offer to make me the best provider I can be!