Badge Summit Preview: Marilys Galindo

Wearing a blue v-neck blouse with her long, dark hair parted and draped over the front of her left shoulder, Marilys Galindo is pictured in front of a bright, stucco wall with flowering vines trained to provide a colorful but undistracting backdrop to her warm smile.
Dr. Marilys Galindo, Palm Beach State College

I first met Dr. Marilys Galindo in March, 2021, when she emailed that she came across my information while researching individuals involved with badging and micro-credentials. It was so inspiring to learn about the early efforts that she and her Palm Beach State College colleagues were leading in the Institute for Excellence in Early Care and Education.

The Institute is meeting the essential learning needs of learners who are themselves charged with meeting some of the most essential learning needs in our society: those of young children.

The 2022 Badge Summit @ CU Boulder features keynote speaker Anabella Laya. In person August 1–2, and virtual August 9. Details at https://www.thebadgesummit.com/

It was exciting to catch up with Marilys ahead of her Badge Summit presentation, and to hear the latest about her important work. In addition, I think we should all celebrate her new job title: Early Learning Micro-credential Manager! I believe she is the first (and may be the only!) person with this title.

Your program at Palm Beach State aims to serve people — Early Childhood workers — who don’t always get treated like the professionals that they are. In addition to the professional development for the learners, do you and your colleagues see the micro-credentials as tools with the power to help professionalize and elevate the work that they do?

This question targets the mission of the Institute of Excellence in Early Care and Education: provide the early childhood workforce of Palm Beach County with a comprehensive approach to career development in the field of early childhood education. The early childhood workforce is overworked, underpaid, undereducated and undervalued. The Institute strives to elevate the field of Early Childhood, so it is regarded as a profession.

Awarding badges and micro-credentials expands and strengthens the qualifications of early childhood professionals, increasing the likelihood of respect for the profession. It provides access to growth, empowerment, and generates esteem for their work, while helping early childhood professionals acquire specific skills they need to be successful.

Equity seems like a driving force in the efforts you are leading. Why is that such a central focus and how does it show up in the program?

The Institute is committed to equity. Our goal is for all children to have access to quality care and education to maximize their potential, and providing equitable professional development is the gateway to reaching this goal. The Institute’s professional development provide the early childhood professionals with the access, opportunities, and resources they individually need to be successful.

“The early childhood workforce is overworked, underpaid, undereducated and undervalued. The Institute strives to elevate the field of Early Childhood, so it is regarded as a profession.”

The Institute’s micro-credentials programs and services prioritize access and equity in many ways. Scholarships offer professional development and books at no cost. Online and evening courses remove the cost of transportation and allow students to work during the day. Laptops are provided to students who need need one and the Institute prints course documents and handouts for students without printer access. Resources shared in courses are available for free and accessible for all students.

Inclusion is also a priority. The images and names used in the professional development include diverse representation. The Institute offers all its courses in English and is translating courses for our large Spanish-speaking population. Lastly, the Institute is developing a micro-credential pathway that will credential the early childhood professional in creating an equitable learning environments.

What was it about micro-credentials and digital badges that drew you and your colleagues to this space as the right fit to meet your learners’ needs?

I’ll respond by first citing the Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University: “Healthy development in the early years (particularly birth to three) provides the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, strong communities, and successful parenting of the next generation.”

Set against the colorful backdrop of what may be a classroom wall with books, toys, and student work, a young child seated in a high chair with hair face obscured by a giant purple toy camera.
Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash

Providing for this healthy development in the early years demands a workforce that understands the importance of early childhood development and how to support children and families during this critical stage. The Micro-Credential Program is a fitting strategy, as it engages educators in ongoing professional development.

Our small, attainable increments of learning nurture a disposition for lifelong learning. Each Micro-credential pathway, and all the trainings encompassed within, focus on one employability skill, from developing self-regulation, awareness and balance, to lesson planning, decision-making, creativity, and many more.

In addition to recognizing the professionals’ specific skills and knowledge, awarding badges and micro-credentials provides employers with the assurance of a workforce that meets the educational needs of the Palm Beach County, FL community.

In addition to presenting at the 2022 Badge Summit, what are you excited to learn at the conference?

I am excited to learn how badging and micro-credentialing are being used by other educational institutions and organizations. I’m a life-long learner myself, so I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to walk away with the knowledge that will improve the Institute’s Micro-Credential Program.

In addition, I look forward to gaining a network of likeminded professionals who can become a resource, and with whom I can collaborate.

The 2022 Badge Summit will be August 1–2 in Boulder, Colorado, and online August 9. Registration is live at www.thebadgesummit.com where you can also get more information about the conference and see content from previous years. If you’ve got awesome work to share, please do click on the Present tab (as long as call-for-proposals is open) and lets us know about it so we can give you space to amplify how you too are changing the world!

You might like these interviews with past Badge Summit attendees:

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