Meet Christina Kuhn: A Fierce Advocate for High Quality Early Care and Learning

“You’re not prepared for anything. As much as I thought I was going to be Mary Poppins, I am Cruella, I’m Mary Poppins, I am every TV mom that I can think of that I’ve watched, good, bad, and ugly.”

Mother, parent leader, former early childhood educator, and now teacher consultant, Christina Kuhn, learned quickly that there was no amount of preparation, education, experience, or material possession that could fully prepare her for what it was going to be like to be a mother. “I wish that I had some kind of counseling to teach myself and conversate with somebody about expectation versus reality…. there are days that I’m just like ‘you have to do better…you have to do better’ and there are days that I’m like, ‘I am killing it today!’ Everybody got a bath, everybody got a snack, I cleaned the house…”

Born and raised in Wyandotte Michigan, Christina found herself pregnant for the first time with her now 3-year-old daughter, Mara, in the same city, and in the same apartment that she once found peace and refuge in as a single woman before the pandemic. “You’re in survival mode because you’re afraid you’re going to get this illness and die, but now you’re becoming a parent in this pandemic. I’m afraid already of the outside world for my child or the hormonal change of being responsible for another human being, but now you’re on your own, you’re isolated.”

Christina has worked in early childhood for over 15 years, as a teacher in various preschool, Early On, and Head Start classrooms before becoming a teacher mentor for infant and toddler teachers. Her passion is special education, with emphasis on the quality of education. When Christina became a mother and later a parent leader, she found solace in working together with other parents as a community after experiencing that isolation early in her daughter’s life. “Being a parent leader helps me become a better parent. I learn so much from other parents that I didn’t think of, and I think that’s important for us to have community.” said Christina.

As a member of the Think Babies Michigan coalition, Christina continues to advocate for expanded access and funding for early childhood services. The coalition supports parents who “If we can form together as parents and show [lawmakers], we need to have quality programs and quality investments in our children from birth until they graduate high school […] we need everybody. All hands on deck.”

Understanding education from a parent’s perspective has also supported Christina in her career, continuing to advocate for parents and educators alike as a teacher mentor. “I think it has made me, if I were ever to get back in the classroom, become a better teacher. It helps me also as a parent leader to remind the teachers that […] we are here to help them. Because if we help them, we help the children. And that’s our ultimate goal.”