Professional Development

Paquita Richardson

Daycare Center Director

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Paquita Richardson started her career in childcare as a home provider more than 35 years ago. After taking classes at Black Hawk College in the 1980's to get her Child Development Associates degree (CDA), she became eligible to open her own center. Now Paquita operates two centers, one in Moline, Illinois (licensed for 47 children) and one in Rock Island, Illinois (licensed for 62 children). She acknowledges that her dream has been possible because of a very supportive husband and family. Paquita continues to stay current on childcare issues through conferences and workshops. In 2010 she received her director's credential with Aim4Excellence from National Lewis University.


Name Video Interview


Interview Q&A

How did you decide to enter the childcare field?

I was age 18, a young wife with a baby, and my husband liked the fact that I was staying home. I soon became a huge help to other mothers who were working. They could trust and depend on me to help with their kids, and they valued that I could provide a safe place for their children. I soon learned that as I helped others, I helped myself, and, as I taught others, I taught myself. When you help a child learn patience, you become more patient in the process. Although I had great parents, I still lacked certain skills. I found that working with children gave me the opportunity to retrain myself. I call it the "big secret" because it wasn't something I ever expected.


Why is quality education so essential for a child's future?

Education helps children develop the skills to make good decisions. And the earlier they learn how to make good decisions, the more successful they will be. We all want a better community and country… and these children are the future.


What traits do you feel are important for working with young children and their parents?

Love and patience are at the top of my list. Endurance is helpful too! Certainly a basic understanding of child development so you know what is realistic, normal behavior. An individual also needs self-control because they are modeling their behavior for children. In dealing with parents, a teacher must not be too close or too distant, respecting boundaries that keep the relationship healthy and professional.


What credentials have you earned and how have they enhanced your program?

In the 80's I wanted to get a group daycare license so I completed my Child Development Associates (CDA) credential. Soon after I finished other coursework through Black Hawk College to become qualified as a center director. Throughout the years, I've been a self-learner by taking advantage of conferences and workshops. I also read as much as I can and network too. Last March I earned my National Directors credential through Aim4Excellence, which helped me set new goals. I've created a mission statement that's more meaningful, placed a priority on staff development and made our assessments more obje


How have you taken a leadership role in the profession?

Being a leader starts here in my centers. I try to motivate, encourage and inspire others to be the best at what they do. I see myself as a leader simply by pursuing best practices.


If you were going to encourage someone to choose this field, what would you say?

You won't be entering this field for the money, but it can truly benefit you as a person. If you work to get the best skills, you'll earn your own respect. You'll be willing to give to others, and you'll find huge reward in less tangible ways.


What has been the biggest surprise about becoming a center director?

How many hats I have to wear. I do a lot of juggling, but I love the challenge of managing all my different roles.