Starting a career as an early intervention professional is something Kelsie Rainone '21 has dreamed about since she was a small child.
"I always wanted to work with children and help them outside the school or class setting," says the early education and care major. "I wanted a career where I could interact with kids one on one to help them grow developmentally."
As a young child, Rainone underwent physical therapy in an early intervention program and has been inspired to pursue work in the field ever since. Now, she's accepted a job offer to join Thom Neponset Valley Early Intervention as a Developmental Specialist starting this summer. "It feels amazing to see this dream of mine come full circle," she says.
Rainone is one of the first graduates of Curry's Early Intervention program, which the Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently endorsed. It is one of only a few undergraduate state-approved programs.
“Early Intervention programs depend on a workforce with the right combination of skill and deep knowledge of child development,” says Dr. Dotty Alexander, professor, Department of Education.” Strong mentorship in fieldwork experiences combined with the knowledge-rich curriculum provides students with the skills and understanding necessary for highly qualified early educators and developmental specialists.”
With the new position, she joins many of her peers from the education program, who have also recently accepted job offers and finalized plans for graduate school. Lexi Sheehan '21 will work as a Behavior Technician at the Boston Behavior Learning Center. Similarly, Ky Nicyper-Meryman '21 will support children with developmental disabilities working for Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health. Jaime Knapp '21, Nysha Sanchez '21, and Karissa Beal '21 have all secured roles as preschool teachers in early learning programs.
"I am excited to work with the children and incorporate everything I've learned through the Curry education program," says Beal. "I know that I've gained the skills and confidence that will help me start successfully as a teacher."
Knapp, who will teach toddlers at Gilson JCC Early Learning Center, agrees. "Working with young children every day is truly what I love to do, and I know that Curry has prepared me for this new job."
Knapp joins the ranks of many Curry alumni who have come to the Gilson JCC Early Learning Center as student teachers or in full-time roles after graduating from the College. Lauren Jonas, co-director of the Center, says they will continue to recruit future teachers from Curry's Education program.
"The students that we have hired have all had a strong understanding of early childhood topics and are ready to grow their skills as part of a teaching team," she says. "They jump into the classroom environment with a true love for young children while being open-minded to trying new experiences and working closely with teammates."
The Gilson JCC Early Learning Center is one of many area employers including a number of large school districts that hire Curry’s education graduates each year.
“Students who complete programs in Early Education and Care or Early Intervention are trained to become highly skilled and sought-after educators who develop as professionals through the extensive coursework and targeted fieldwork experiences they take as part of their Curry College experience,” says Professor Michelle LeBlanc, Education Department Chair. “We continue to see outstanding post-graduation employment and graduate school opportunities for these students. They are ready to make a positive impact on children and families upon graduating from the Education Department.”