Artful Thursday: Angie Wolfe

April 19, 2018 | Article for the Week of the Young Child™  by Kristy Worley, Virginia Quality, United Way of Southwest Virginia
Angie Wolfe | Marion Baptist Church Child Development Program | Smyth County, Virginia

Artful Thursday’s spotlight professional is Angie Wolfe, who has over 22 years of experience in the early childhood field. She is the lead teacher of the Pre-k classroom and assistant director at Marion Baptist Church Child Development Program. Marion Baptist is a licensed childcare center located in Marion, Virginia. As a participant in Virginia Quality, the program is committed to ongoing quality improvement in early childhood best practices and supporting their staff with obtaining their education and qualifications. Before she started working in childcare centers, Angie had an inhome daycare for 10 years, so she has a lot of experience in working with young children in a variety of settings.

Like many early childhood professionals, Angie knew at a very young age that she wanted to work in the early childhood field. She enrolled in Child Development courses in high school, where her teacher, Linda, encouraged Angie to always go above and beyond what was needed when working with children. Angie shared, “ I love seeing the kids learn something new, and to see the light bulb when the students are able to connect different ideas.” After graduating high school, Angie went on to earn her Associates Degree at Virginia Highlands Community College. Additionally, in order to become a highly trained, credentialed education professional, Angie pursued and completed her Child Development Associate (CDA) just recently, in 2017.

While working on her CDA, Angie was able to learn about and focus on best practices specifically related to the early childhood classroom. “I want my students to feel important and loved, and I want them to know I am so proud of them when they have accomplished something they have been working on.” For Week of the Young Child, Angie’s classroom is doing a different activity every day of the week. For Artful Thursday, the students are creating a spring mural. All week long, Angie has been asking the children all about spring, and what they think about the colorful and active season.

“The kids know when the flowers come up that it is springtime, and they want to pick the flowers and chase the butterflies,” Angie said. “They just really want to be outside all the time and we thought we would bring a little of the outside, inside. Art is a good way for children to use their imaginations and be creative. They enjoyed creating the spring mural using all their own ideas with the materials available.” The students were able to explore different textures and choose a from a variety of art supplies while making their colorful creation.

In a 2015 literature review by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), strong evidence was found that indicates a connection between the arts and social and emotional skills, such as “helping, caring, and sharing activities.”

Although Angie has been in the early education field for over two decades, she feels like she is “just getting started. “Obtaining my CDA and the program joining Virginia Quality, I feel like we finally have the tools we need to have a high-quality program and to give the students the skills they need to be successful in Kindergarten.”Angie is a lead teacher at a Virginia Quality center, focused on high quality care and kindergarten readiness. By voluntarily joining Virginia Quality, early learning programs show their staff, families, and community that they are committed to quality education for young children. To learn more about Virginia Quality and United Way’s other Childhood Success initiatives, visit netnswvarelief.wpengine.com/education.

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ABOUT THIS SERIES
This story is part of United Way of Southwest Virginia’s spotlight series highlighting five professionals in our Virginia Quality network during the 2018 Week of the Young Child™. Annually, during this week, we recognize the importance of early learning and early literacy and celebrate the providers who bring early childhood education to young children. Through the five stories we will publish this week, you will see the investment these professionals are making in the lives of our children – teaching them to create, problem-solve, engage, and celebrate – and preparing tomorrow’s workforce for the next steps in their journey from cradle to career in Southwest Virginia. To read other stories in this Week of the Young Child™ spotlight series, visit www.netnswvarelief.wpengine.com/2018-week-of-the-young-child.

ABOUT UNITED WAY OF SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life. Through an initiative-based cradle-to-career approach, United Way of Southwest Virginia is creating sustainable solutions to address the challenges facing tomorrow’s workforce. United Way convenes cross-sector partners to make an impact on the most complex problems in our region. Through collaboration with government, business, nonprofit and individuals, United Way innovates for positive, lasting social change. With a footprint that covers almost 15% of the state of Virginia, United Way of Southwest Virginia serves Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington and Wise, and the cities of Galax and Norton. For more information about United Way of Southwest Virginia, visit www.UnitedWaySWVA.org.

ABOUT WEEK OF THE YOUNG CHILD
Week of the Young Child™, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), is an opportunity for early childhood programs across the country, including child care and Head Start programs, preschools, and elementary schools, to hold activities to bring awareness to the needs of young children. For more information and inspiration on how you can celebrate Week of the Young Child™, visit www.naeyc.org.