Zakiyyah “Ke-Ke” Gillespie is the Director of Big Dreamers Childcare and is a 24-year-old college student majoring in Human and Social Science. She is a patient, loving, caring, trusting and knowledgeable Early Childhood Care Provider located in Stafford, Virginia, licensed through the Virginia Department of Social Services. Zakiyyah is the daughter of retired U.S. Army veterans and the oldest of six children. As a military dependent, she has lived in several states providing childcare services to many families. Being the oldest of six, Zakiyyah has over 13 years of experience caring for her younger siblings and because of that, she has gained a desire to care for younger children. Since graduating high school in 2013, Zakiyyah has worked for the Department of Defense as a Childcare Provider and has over 6 years of professional experience, of which she has had the opportunity to work with a variety of children, ranging from 6 weeks to 13 years of age.
Throughout the years, Zakiyyah has learned that childcare needs to go beyond learning. Before a child can learn, they must feel comfortable in a safe and healthy environment. When a child feels safe and healthy, they positively display their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Zakiyyah feels that a positive environment is needed for children to fully understand love, encouragement, and respect. Although it is important to teach them curriculum, we owe it to the children to understand them as individuals. The only challenging part about this job is getting attached to the children and then having to say good-bye when they leave to Kindergarten. However, Zakiyyah is comfortable knowing that when they leave, they will be fully prepared for all that Kindergarten has to offer.
As a professional childcare provider, Zakiyyah has complied with the mandatory annual training requirements and has the following certifications: Infant/Child and Adult CPR/AED/First Aid; Medication Administration in a Childcare Setting; Movement, Mind, & Nutrition (M, M, & N), Child Abuse Prevention; Children Youth Services Accountability and Supervision; Fire Safety; Car Seat Safety; Emergency Preparedness; and Meals, Arts and Crafts, Health, Social, Creative, and Learning Environment.