Do you love working with kids? Are you just out of high school or college, looking to change careers, planning to move to a different state, or hoping to find an alternate pathway to a career?
We've got you covered! Join First4 AmeriCorps for 40+ weeks of hands-on experience, modeling of high-quality teaching practices by highly-qualified staff, dynamic professional development, and an Education Technician (Ed Tech) III credential they may utilize to remain in the education field in the beautiful state of Maine.
As a First4 AmeriCorps member, you will provide additional classroom support to strengthen existing trauma-informed classroom practices and strategies. You will receive training to better understand concepts such as child development, social-emotional learning, developmental delays & disabilities awareness, and trauma-informed teaching to support the social-emotional development of children ages 6 weeks to 5 years in Central Maine and children ages 3-5 years in Southern Maine. You will also exit your AmeriCorps term of service with an Educational Technician (Ed Tech) III certificate as a means of supporting their continued work in the education field in Maine.
Additionally, to help us sustain such a profound and important undertaking, you will also participate in the recruitment of volunteers and creation of a legacy document and process to support future volunteers and AmeriCorps members.
You will participate in a 3-day orientation as well as various, ongoing training and professional development. In the classroom, you will directly support children ages 6 weeks to 5 years throughout the school day, engaging in both indoor and outdoor activities to consistently promote learning opportunities across all domains, particularly social-emotional. As a First4 member, you will partner with classroom staff, (who will act as mentors), implement your learning/training, participate in efforts to recruit future volunteers/members, and be part of a larger team of like-minded people whose goal is to strengthen our communities.
Community Need Addressed
According to the Maine Kids Count Data, Maine has the highest rate of children diagnosed with anxiety, the third highest rate for children diagnosed with depression, and more than 20% of children under 18 have experienced two or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs is a term used to describe the various forms of abuse, neglect, and traumatic experiences that children under 18 face. WFor children who are further challenged with developmental delays or disabilities, their ability to learn and be successful in school are severely impacted. However, with support and skills, the children faced with these challenges early in life can enter Kindergarten at the same level–or above–their peers who have more resources or learn typically.
That is to say, with resilience, children can triumph over trauma and adversity. Resilience is the human capacity to face, overcome, and be strengthened by adversity. Children from low-income families need to become resilient to overcome the challenges they are up against, but they cannot do it alone. "During the first few years of a child's life, a million neural connections are formed in the brain every second. Babies’ brains are literally wired to learn—as much as they possibly can. And they are shaped by inputs from their environments—for better or for worse" (educareschools.org).
First4 AmeriCorps members will provide additional classroom support to strengthen existing trauma-informed classroom practices and strategies. First4 members’ direct support in child care and preschool settings will lower the adult-to-child ratio, which will increase teaching staff’s capacity to deliver high quality curriculum and focus more on skills and school readiness. These 25 (5 full and 20 part-time) members will receive training to better understand concepts such as child development, poverty, social-emotional learning, delays & disabilities awareness, IEP development, ACEs, and trauma-informed teaching. Then, in collaboration with teaching staff, they will transfer that knowledge into practice in classrooms with enrolled children who are struggling to meet benchmarks due to experienced trauma or developmental delays and disabilities.
In collaboration with teaching staff, First4 members will transfer their knowledge (gained in training) into practice in classrooms with enrolled children who are struggling to meet benchmarks due to experienced trauma or developmental delays and disabilities. By lowering the adult-to-child ratio, our goal is to further boost resiliency and reduce overall toxic stress by supporting children's social-emotional development in their child care and preschool settings. This, in turn, will help them be school-ready by the time they enter Kindergarten, and have lasting positive effects on their future academic success.
Childcare assistance if eligible, Education award upon successful completion of service, Health coverage, Living allowance, Student loan forbearance, Training
Flexible schedule based on number of hours/which part-time term of service is chosen; part-time First4 members servce between late-August and mid-June, during the school week and during typical school hours. All First4 AmeriCorps members will exit their service year with an Education Technician (Ed Tech) III certificate to support the attainment of work in the education field in the state of Maine after service.
Credential or Certification
You will receive training to better understand concepts such as child development, poverty, ACEs, delays & disabilities, IEP/IFSP development, social-emotional learning, and trauma-informed teaching. In addition to attaining your Ed Tech III certification, you will be certified in the areas of Mandated Reporter, CPR/First Aid, and FEMA National Incident Management Systems (NIMS).
Skills you will gain
teamwork and collaboration, communication, emotional regulation, problem solving, understanding others, punctuality, professionalism, prioritizing, flexibility, patience, relationship building, trauma-informed care, DEIAB, providing one-on-one support to children, IEP development, and strategies to support children's delays and disabilities in a classroom setting
Competencies You Will Develop
Demonstrate sensitivity and empathy, Listen to and consider others' viewpoints, Maintain open lines of communication with others, Speak clearly, in precise language and in a logical, organized and coherent manner
Creativity & Problem Solving
Able to identify and define the problem, Capable of generating possible solutions, Communicate the problem to appropriate personnel, Improvise, Provide relevant expertise, Select and implement well-considered solution
Derive consensus, Develop constructive working relationships and maintain them over time, Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others, Interact professionally and respectfully with supervisors and co-workers, Stay positive and outcome oriented, Use appropriate strategies and solutions for dealing with conflicts and differences to maintain a smooth workflow
Accepts responsibility, Identify and prioritize the key issues involved to facilitate the decision making process, Involve people appropriately in decisions that may impact them, Quickly respond with a back-up plan if a decision goes amiss
Carefully consider which tools or technological solutions are appropriate for a given job, Consistently choose the best tool or technological solution for the problem at hand
Create environment of contribution, Create plan of action, schedule tasks so that work is completed on time, Set goals
Be pleasant, courteous, professional and respectful when dealing with internal and external customers or clients, Honor the privilege of being able to work with and for those being served, Provide personalized, prompt, and efficient service to meet the requirements, requests and needs of customers, Recognize the importance of maintaining privacy and confidentiality of those being served, Understand and anticipate the needs of others, Understand the importance of one's role in the functioning of the organization, Understand the significance of maintaining a healthful and safe environment