Quote: Maybe this resonates with me now because of the times we are living in."When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers -- so many caring people in this world." - Mister Rogers
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Blakely Bundy. Since January 2016, I have been Co-Director of a national early childhood advocacy organization, Defending the Early Years, based in Boston. Between 1989 and 2014, I was the Executive Director of The Alliance for Early Childhood, which provided support and services to parents and teachers of young children on the North Shore of Chicago. From 1983-1993, I was a teacher at Willow Wood Preschool in Winnetka.
How long have you been in the field? 40 plus years, starting as a student teacher at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.
Why did you join ILAEYC?I joined NAEYC and its affiliates, Chicago Metro AEYC and ILAEYC, for professional development including the conferences and publications; their advocacy efforts; and for professional networking opportunities.
How long have you been a member? I joined Chicago Metro AEYC/ILAEYC in the 1980s. I served as President of Chicago Metro AEYC from 2003-2005.
What are some professional accomplishments you are proud of?
- Reaching a national audience on early childhood advocacy topics since 2016 as the Co-Director of Defending the Early Years
- Being instrumental in founding the Preschool-Kindergarten Summit on the North Shore of Chicago in 2014, which brings together over 200 early childhood educators to hear about the latest in early childhood research and thinking.
- Serving as Executive Director, The Alliance for Early Childhood, 1989-2014, and growing the organization from a small one, based in Winnetka, one that serves the early childhood community on the entire North Shore of Chicago and serves as a model for successful community collaboration.
- Serving as President of Chicago Metro AEYC, 2003-2005, and working with a diverse and wonderful, hard-working board of directors and staff, coming from all over the Chicago area.
- Serving as Chair of Chicago Metro AEYC’s Accreditation Project, 1996-2001, and helping over 50 preschools and child care centers in low income communities to achieve NAEYC accreditation.
What is your favorite ILAEYC Memory? Presenting at the “Play in Peoria Conference” in the 1980s with my co-teacher at Willow Wood Preschool on “using the feltboard in the early childhood classroom” and realizing that there were over 300 participants in the audience! Recently, participating in the NAEYC Public Policy Forum as an ILAEYC representative.
What NAEYC benefit do you most value? I still attend the annual conference each year and also serve as a facilitator of the Community Collaboration Interest Forum. I appreciate their advocacy efforts but wish that they would do even more!
What is your favorite Children’s book and why? Each Peach, Pear, Plum which allows children to find familiar nursery rhyme characters in the charming illustrations. And, of course, everyone’s favorite, Good Night Moon, for younger children, and Paddle-to-the Sea for older kids.
Family, Hobbies, etc... I have four grown kids and 11 grandkids, ranging in age from 19 years old (with two in college) to 2 months old. Nine live on the North Shore of Chicago and the other two in Boston, where I frequently travel for work. We have recently taken some amazing family trips to places including Tanzania, Scotland, and the Galapagos. Next up: Iceland! I also love to read, play golf, and be in and on the water, whether snorkeling, swimming, water aerobics, or on a boat.