Claudia Rodriguez is the director at Austin Peay State University’s Little Govs Child Learning Center in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Born and raised in Germany, Claudia was working as a registered nurse there when she met her husband and immigrated to the United States. Since then, she’s worked in early childhood education – a 30-year career that’s still going strong.
ChildcareTennessee.com is an extremely helpful resource for Little Govs. Anything Claudia needs to look up such as health and safety information, informative articles to share with families, handbooks or templates – she’s found it all on ChildcareTennessee.com.
“If you don’t know something, you go to ChildcareTennessee.com. If you have a problem, I don’t know with say, Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease, for example, instead of trying to Google or hunt down information, you can just go directly to ChildcareTennessee.com and search under Health and Safety. I can find something to educate myself, my staff and families.
“I love it! Absolutely love it.”
As a director, Claudia knows the importance of continuing education and professionalism. With the support of TECTA, Claudia herself earned her CDA, associate and Bachelor’s degrees. She now holds a Master’s in Family Consumer Science with an emphasis in Child and Family Studies. She encourages her staff to continue their education and grow professionally in any way they can.
“My teachers are working with developing brains,” she said. “They are laying the foundation for a successful future.”
Claudia has applied for and received the Support and Enhancement Grant since they were first offered in 2019. She has used the Support and Enhancement Grant to buy wish list items her staff has suggested, as well as transform her playground into a more natural space, removing a lot of the old plastic equipment and introducing more natural elements. Her playground even has a large log cabin she purchased from a nearby Amish community!
“I asked myself, ‘How can we improve what we have because we already have an amazing program? How can we step it up a notch more?’”
For her classrooms, she replaced her floor mats, purchased letter tiles that included braille, and added new wooden shelves for classroom organization, among other things, emphasizing natural materials.
Without the availability of the grants, all of these purchases and projects would have taken many years to complete.
“The grants have truly been incredible,” says Claudia.
“ChildcareTennessee has helped not just my program, but many other programs connect and collaborate across the state, and every single one uses the site as a resource. It’s their go-to.”