Paso Del Norte Children’s Developmental Center in El Paso, Texas has a mission “to help children with disabilities reach their fullest potential by providing comprehensive therapeutic, education, and childcare services.” The center does this by providing different services through the Early Childhood Intervention program and private therapists. I am a part of Paso Del Norte’s El Papalote, an inclusive child care center that allows children with special needs to get in-class therapies and modeled behaviors from peers without special needs. Inclusive classrooms also allow students without special needs to see their peers with special needs as a part of their classroom and friend group, hopefully lowering prejudices as they get older.
I am helping fill in for the Assistant Director. Part of this role is to record information for grants, submit funding requests for families, and help ensure the day-to-day operations of the center go smoothly.
As I am learning about different aspects of running a child care center, I have been allowed to shadow different people and processes at the center. For example, I was able to be a part of a hiring team for a teacher. This interview process allowed me to learn about what specific qualities the center was looking for in a teacher and how to conduct a formal interview. Another example is with a music therapy group the center runs. I participated by singing songs and observing how the therapist promotes socialization between the children. In addition, the therapist was able to give me advice on different certification and educational programs.
All of my shadowing opportunities, as well as my day-to-day responsibilities, have shown me that I want to have an interactive part in people’s lives. I have enjoyed seeing the children every day and watching their progress in different areas. In addition, I have a better understanding of the administrative side of the center. This impacts my self-designed degree because I now know I will have to implement research into actual practice in settings such as El Papalote.
For more information about Paso Del Norte Children’s Developmental Center or El Papalote, please visit https://pdnchildrens.org/.