A. I am a native Washingtonian.
Q. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
A. I originally started in the medical field as a nurse and declared a pre-med major. I took a class, "Intro to Teaching," which incorporated lab time. Lab time consisted of going to an elementary school twice a week and taking over a second grade class for the morning session. I taught the curriculum and planned special projects with the students. As a result of this experience, I became interested in teaching and eventually developed a love for children and education. Due to my outstanding performance in the class I was offered a job in the school's Pre-K class and worked throughout my college career as a paraprofessional in that center, thus starting my more than 30 years of experience working with early learners.
Q. What is your favorite thing about teaching this age group?
A. My favorite part of teaching Pre-K is their eagerness to learn. I equate them to sponges. They absorb information so quickly and you can actually see the lights in their eyes and the big smiles on their faces proclaiming "I GOT It" once they have finally learned a new concept or skill.
A. Creative curriculum has opened doors for students to explore topics that they normally would not. It helps expand their interest in the world around them. We have investigated topics such as Reduce Reuse Recycle, buildings and clothes. Although each are very common to our world, the depth at which the questioning and exploring takes place is based on the students knowledge about the topic and where their questioning about the unknown leads us.
Q. Langley is also integrating Conscious Discipline into its school culture. Please describe the differences in student learning and behavior that you would attribute to this new focus on socio emotional skills?
A. Conscious discipline has transformed the way in which I have managed my class. It has taught students to first identify their feelings, embrace them and come up with solutions to solve their own problems. It has taught our very youngest students to have an assertive voice and solve conflicts among themselves. The highlight of this program for me is that I have witnessed first hand students able to move themselves from emotional and survival brain states into an executive state by calming themselves. These days I spend very little learning time addressing crying, screaming or tantrums because they rarely occur. My students regulate themselves.
Q. As a professional working with young kids ... Any advice for us parents in the toddler/preschooler trenches?
A. My advice to parents would be to be consistent, have routines. have conversations with your children. Expose them to new experiences through storybooks, museums, cultural events, family time and even meal time. These years are precious and it can be a busy time for parents - but these moments cannot be recaptured. Once they are gone, they are gone.