Venetia Fields is a Certified Family Child Care Provider in St. Helens, OR. She is in the process of applying for a Star Rating through SPARK and is committed to ongoing quality improvement and professional learning. I first met Venetia at her home. We sat around the table and chatted, her with two children bouncing in her lap, she shared with me her years of experience in the field. Her deep care for the children in her program is evident as she participated in this process while balancing all the duties of being a child care provider. Even as we spoke on the phone, I could hear her responsive interactions with children on the other end of the phone as they went about their routines for the day. Venetia recently expanded the number of children in her care when she switched to Certified Family. She expressed how important it was to her to have enough preschool children together to help them learn and practice key social skills like sharing and turn taking. Venetia is joining us for our Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports training series this Winter to continue growing her knowledge in evidence based practices and building social-emotional competence in all learners. We appreciate the time Venetia took to thoughtfully respond to the following interview questions. It is a pleasure to work with Venetia and support her ongoing Professional Development.
What brought you to the field?
“Fate, that is the only way I can explain it. I never intended to be a stay at home mom much less an at home childcare provider. While I was in my 9th year of Naval Service my husband, who got out after serving 18 years – because we were recently married and the Navy could not station us together, was hired by Intel. When we arrived in Oregon, I discovered I was pregnant with our 5th child. Throughout our marriage we have always been able to have one or the other parent home with our children. Intel operates on a compressed work week meaning, 4 days on 3 days off one week and 3 days on and 4 days off the next in 12-hour shifts. We were certain I was not going to find a job that would accommodate the opposite in my profession of Medical Credentialing, that would want to hire a pregnant woman. “Hi, can I have a job? And, by the way, I need to take 3 months off in 9 months or so.” Didn’t seem fair to an employer or practical. So, we learned to live on one income. Looking back, I have no idea how we kept the lights on and food on the table.
Three years later one of my daughter’s friends’ moms came over and asked, “How much do I owe you?” “Owe me? For what?” I asked. “You’ve been watching my two kids every day after school for a month. I think I should pay you.” WHAAAAAT? You can get paid for the neighbor kids coming over and playing with your own kids? Sign Me Up!
And the adventure began. I researched what it meant to become licensed by the State and then it just grew into my, our (if your family is not on board with you providing childcare in your home then you should not be doing it) way of life. Now it seems everything I do has something to do with child development, safety, education, entertainment, happiness. Children are my life.”
How long have you been an early educator/caregiver?
“I have been a childcare provider for 21 years. I have been teaching preschool to childcare children plus other children that come in just for preschool for 8 years.”
What do you find to be the most challenging part of the job?
“The paperwork is the most challenging! And cleaning.”
What brings you the most happiness and satisfaction with your work?
“Laughter! Children laughing and playing well together. And seeing one of mine do something respectful I have taught them while they are in public.”
What do you think are the most important qualities in a childcare provider?
“You have to LOVE the children! Despite what you might think of their parent, or whatever challenge they present, you HAVE to LOVE the children.”
What are your busiest times of day?
“The busiest time of day is when the public-school kids arrive. Every one of them have the entire day they want to share with me all at the same time while I’m preparing them food because they are starving when they get here.”
What does a typical day look like for you?
“My days—while I hope that they are predictable—they’re not. I’m constantly dealing with other people’s lives and it’s kind of a hard thing. I struggle to squish it all into to try and make something consistent out of that. That’s kind of how my day goes.”
Want to be the next Provider Spotlight? We would love to hear from you! Reach out to any of your Professional Development Support Specialists and we can set you up with an interview and some incentives.