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SDSU Extension Introduces New Early Childhood Field Specialist Position

BROOKINGS, S.D. - Nationally, more than 60 percent of households are dual income, resulting in an increased need for early childhood education programming, explained Audrey Rider, who recently accepted a new role as the SDSU Extension Early Childhood Field Specialist.

"With both parents working, many children, too young for school, spend their days with a childcare provider. There is a need to ensure those caring for children have access to tools, resources and programming necessary to provide for the social, emotional, learning and academic needs of these children," Rider said.

The new Early Childhood Field Specialist position was designed by SDSU Extension as a position that will support and work with childcare programs and providers to increase school readiness and enhance social, emotional growth and development among South Dakota's youngest citizens.

"Audrey will interact closely with parents, teachers, early childhood professionals, caregivers, agencies and stakeholders to coordinate resources and advance initiatives for young children," said Suzanne Stluka, SDSU Extension Food & Families Program Director.

More about Audrey Rider

Serving South Dakotans through SDSU Extension since 2004, Audrey Rider most recently served as the SDSU Extension Volunteer Development Field Specialist.

"I love that SDSU Extension is the outreach arm of our land grant, South Dakota State University," Rider said. "I enjoy working for an organization whose research-based programming benefits a broad variety of South Dakota's citizens and their communities."

Holding a bachelors and master's in Early Childhood Education, Rider is passionate about the focus of her new role within SDSU Extension.

"Today's education demands more of Kindergarteners. Through this role, I can help connect childcare providers with new and existing SDSU Extension programming that will help ensure children are prepared to excel," Rider said.

In addition to outreach, Rider will be collaborating with other land grant universities' extension and early childhood development programming to enhance programming and resources made available to South Dakotans.

Because this is a new position within SDSU Extension, Rider encourages those involved in providing childcare to provide her with feedback on areas where they see a need for additional programming or resources. Rider can be reached by email.

 Audrey Rider
Courtesy of iGrow. Audrey Rider, SDSU Extension Early Childhood Field Specialist.