Friend, mentor, leader, Nancy Kramer died on June 17. No one knew more about high quality child care, the development of young children, and the skills needed for the care and nurturing of the very young – by parents and providers – than Nancy. Word-of-mouth led my husband and me to seek a slot for our daughter Ellie at Downtown Baltimore Child Care (DBCC), founded by Nancy in 1983. Thankfully we were admitted, and Ellie thrived there, and I became a board member. The board then, as now, was dominated by parents whose children attend the center. And much later, Ellie herself became an early childhood educator. Nancy recommended Bank Street College for Ellie’s master’s degree, and it served her well. Right up until she had her own child, Ellie worked for years in early childhood education as an intern, assistant teacher, and lead teacher.
I owe my appreciation for the importance of early childhood and my understanding of the economics of child care to Nancy. My experience at DBCC, as a parent and board member, contributed to my successful application to Friends of the Family to become its Executive Director. And that has since become my life’s work, as Friends of the Family joined with the Maryland Committee for Children to become Maryland Family Network. You can read Nancy’s obituary here.
Nancy’s legacy lives on in the work of Margo Sipes, Susan Sandstrom, and the other outstanding child development experts at DBCC who learned at the knee of one of the most dedicated and inspirational early childhood educators Maryland has known. And Nancy’s legacy lives on in my work, my daughter’s work, and probably in my grandson’s success as a toddler! Here’s to a visionary woman who knew what mattered long before most of the rest of us had a clue and, in her gentle, soft-spoken way, worked to get us all on board! Thank you, Nancy! Cheers for a life dedicated to one of the most important causes there is: the future.