Employee of the Month: Frances Davis
Frances Davis works in a classroom of 11 infants and makes it look effortless.
An infant teacher assistant at New Community Harmony House Early Learning Center, Davis cares for youngsters ages 3 months to 15 months.
In April, she marked her one-year anniversary of working at NCC but her gentle demeanor and skillfulness in the infant room have already drawn her praise.
“She’s just a mother to all of those babies in that room,” Sister Maurice Okoroji, Director of the Harmony House Early Learning Center, said.
While caring for infants can be a demanding job, Davis says that bonding with the babies doesn’t feel like hard work.
“They feel it—they know where the love is at,” Davis said as she held Derrick Mascall, a 17-month-old with long eyelashes, in her lap.
“We interact with them and keep them busy,” Davis said describing activities like circle time, reading, exercise and dancing. “They’re so lovable,” she added.
Still, caring for infants comes with challenges. Some babies at the Early Learning Center come from rough home lives, according to Davis.
“You don’t know what goes on in their lives,” Davis said. “They need to be taken care of. They need to be taught. That’s where we come in,” she said of the teachers at Harmony House.
Okoroji, who supervises Davis, noted Davis’ excellent attendance at work and described her as being “respectful” and “an open book.”
“She’s really exemplary and she’s quite experienced. She goes wherever she’s sent to go,” Okoroji said.
A mother of two daughters, Davis, 44, credits her experience to raising her own children and working and volunteering at several child care centers before she joined New Community on April 22, 2013. Davis was born and raised in Newark’s Central Ward and graduated from Central High School in 1988.
As a single parent, Davis says her mother, Moszell Davis, helped her raise her children who are now 21 and 19. When her older daughter, Aliyah, turned 5 and entered kindergarten, Davis enrolled her then 3-year-old daughter, Kameisha, at a daycare in Newark and began volunteering there.
Later she took weekend classes and received her Child Development Associate certification. Davis did a stint working in security but went on to work about 10 years at two childcare facilities in Irvington, which reaffirmed what Davis describes as her “calling” to work with children.And the children agree, clearly. When Davis sits on the floor, the infants gravitate towards her as if by an effortless, magnetic pull.
Davis smiles warmly at the infants as she reveals the secret to her job: “Having patience, that’s the key,” she said.