The Center has a staff of approximately 35 employees, with the primary role being Early Childhood Teachers. One of the commitments of the program is to maintain low child to teacher ratios and provide as much continuity in care giving and relationships with children and families as possible. We are able to fulfill these commitments to parents through the dedication of our teachers. The center is proud of the relatively low rate of staff turnover. This is due to Mentor’s strong support in maintaining an on-site/in-house facility. Each teacher employed at the CDC is a Mentor Graphics employee with a full benefits package, competitive salary and significant opportunities for professional development.
Mentor Graphics teachers are . . .
• filled with an attitude of respect, anticipation, wonder and joy.
• intentional and skilled at preparing environments, materials and experiences that support children’s creativity, learning and daily well-being.
• co-researchers who are dedicated to negotiating the intricate dance of traveling alongside children. Sometimes, we lead with a well-timed provocation; sometimes, we follow in awe as the children take us further than we ever could have imagined.
• attuned observers, listeners, and communicators who strive to make visible the thinking and learning processes of children, families and teachers.
• professionals who are passionate about the art of teaching and committed to staying current on child development research and best practice in the field.
• life-long learners who are eager to share their knowledge, genuine curiosity and passions with children, families and colleagues.
• collaborators who engage fully in collegial exchange and build strong partnerships with families and our communities.
• dedicated to promoting a strong and authentic image of the child as competent and whole and to advocating for the importance of Early Childhood Education.
A leadership team comprised of a Director amd an Education Coordinator administers our program. In addition, the Preschool suite has the leadership of a Preschool Program Coordinator. Administrative support is offered by a Program Coordinator. It is the role of the Director and the Education Coordinator to set the program vision, policies and goals. This is accomplished by working side by side with teachers in the classroom, providing mentorship and coaching outside of the classroom and by designing professional development opportunities. The leadership team is comprised of educators with extensive leadership and teaching experience.
Classroom Coordinators or Lead-teachers have a minimum of 3 years of experience with their age group and hold a Bachelor or Associates degree in Early Childhood Education, Child and Family Studies or Psychology. In many cases, the CDC has promoted Classroom Coordinators from within other roles in the CDC giving them a clearer picture of the roles and responsibilities of the job. The Classroom Coordinator’s role is to act as a leader in curriculum programming within the classroom as well as to provide mentoring for developing teachers.
ECE teachers hold an A.A. Degree in Early Childhood Education or have a significant amount of experience in the field and are in the process of working towards a higher education degree. Often these teachers are just beginning their careers after completing their education or have joined our staff after being part of our valuable substitute pool. Many bring their enthusiasm for putting theory and practice together and seeing it work.
Each classroom is set up to work in teams so that there is a balance of experience in the field of early education and expertise with the age group. This type of teamwork is valued at the Center and allows for dynamic perspectives to be shared in shaping the classroom community. Teacher development is further supported by weekly team meetings, monthly all staff training, and our yearly in-service training which begins each school year. In order to meet the qualifications of an Early Childhood Teacher, teachers are required to have a minimum of 15 hours of professional development each year in addition to these staff development opportunities. The CDC staff usually exceeds this criteria on an annual basis.
The Center relies on a pool of substitute teachers to fill in for teachers. Substitute teachers receive training and supervision by CDC teaching staff. Each staff person, including student interns, is required to be enrolled in the State of Oregon’s Criminal History Registry.
In accordance with our mission statement, at times the center is called upon to serve as a practicum site for College and High School students who are entering the field of Early Childhood Education. The students receive an orientation to our center’s philosophy, policies and procedures as part of this experience. In addition to the supervision they receive from their educational facility, they are assigned a mentor teacher on staff who partners with them to ensure success in our environment. Student teachers and volunteers are under staff supervision at all times when working with children in the center.