Erin Carmody has served as director of The New England Center for Children’s (NECC) day care center, the Michael F. Downey Center for Child Development, for 14 years. She was nominated by a colleague (who is also a day care parent) because “she goes above and beyond for the day care children and her staff. She runs a great program and allows parents to come to work knowing their children are in great care throughout the day.”
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love my team and the families. But I have to say that my conversations with the children are what keep me laughing and smiling throughout the day. One minute we could be talking about a tractor or dump truck and then the next, they could be telling me that they had hot dogs for breakfast. The conversations are sporadic and enthusiastic – it’s certainly amusing!
Why did you choose a career in working with children?
Originally, I was a nursing major in school. I soon realized that although I loved working with people, medicine wasn’t for me because I like to be creative. I chose to work with kids because I am energetic, and I feel passionately that starting a strong education young is the key to setting a good foundation for all learning. Kids can be fun and silly, but also a sponge for anything you are willing to teach them!
I already had a master’s degree in reading and was looking into getting a second master’s degree in special education. NECC offered a master’s program AND the opportunity for me to work with kids. My original intent was to work at NECC and go back to school – but instead my daughter Reese came along! Having a family with me at work made my work/life balance much easier and I really enjoyed my team. The day care team has been my second family ever since.
What is something about you that your colleagues might be surprised to learn?
I am a pretty outgoing person so the idea that someone may be “surprised” about something is probably false.
Who is someone you look up to?
This is going to sound strange, but I look up to my 13-year-old daughter, Reese. She has a pretty severe learning disability in reading. She is a talented artist and athlete, but when it comes to her schoolwork – or even reading a birthday card out loud – she struggles. I have watched her practice, work hard, and go the extra mile just to be able to keep up with her friends. It’s hard to watch your child go through any kind of struggle, so I definitely admire her drive and her ability to adjust to her environment and advocate for herself. It makes my heart glow.
What is your life philosophy or a motto you like to live by?
The simple one would be to treat others how you want to be treated. But as I have gotten older, it’s remarkable how your priorities shift. Now I would say, live your life the way you want to live it. Don’t let money, people, or things stand in your way of happiness. Life is such a gift. Enjoy all that life has to offer.