At Educare Seattle, staff members receive intensive training and mentoring to support their work with children. Staff begin their journey toward quality teaching through regular reflective practice sessions with personal mentor coaches. Over the course of the year, we’ll introduce you to staff members past and present who will each share their personal story of connection to Educare Seattle.
Sohalia Ganje is currently a coach for Child Care Resources (CCR) who works to support Early Learning providers through the Early Achievers program. Prior to her work with CCR, she was an Educare Head Start Lead Teacher for three years and a staunch advocate for the program. You don’t have to look far for proof — Ganje’s one-year old son is enrolled in the Educare Seattle school. In addition to her role as a coach, Ganje currently serves on the Educare Policy Council.
Looking back, Ganje didn’t always know what she wanted to be when she grew up, but she knew one thing: she loved working with kids. “I have a big family and have always been involved in taking care of my younger cousins,” said Ganje. “As I grew older, I started working in child care. When I took an early education class at Shoreline Community College and worked with infants in childcare, I realized that was my passion after all.”
Ganje learned about Educare Seattle from a professor while she was enrolled at the University of Washington back in 2012. Though she credits the professor with her connection to the program, she’s intimately familiar with the impact of early learning. “I was an Early Head Start and Head Start kid,” says Ganje. “I grew up poor; my parents were only a single teenage mother. My family has experienced so much trauma, but we are strong and resilient.” That same resiliency is something Ganje wants to pass along to other families and young people. “I chose Educare because the way the professor spoke so highly of it, the research I did on my own, and because I saw it as an opportunity to be a resilience factor for someone else, like others were for me.”
As a former Educare teacher and current parent to an Educare student, there are many aspects of the program that Ganje has grown to appreciate over the years. She cites the teacher-to-student ratio, the adaptability of the curriculum, and the observation room for coaching and families all as elements that make the Educare Seattle school special. However, for Ganje, the most inspiring part of Educare is this: the Educare family cares about her family. “I feel blessed to be able to send my son there and know he is okay, loved, well-cared for, and kept as safe as possible.”