Assistant Director Ms. Caroline has worked at our Springfield, MO location for a total of 24 years! After working as a pharmacy technician for 10 years, she knew she wanted to do something different and found her calling in early childhood education. She has worked in every classroom at the center, and continues to be involved in each room with her current role. Read on to learn more about Ms. Caroline and why she is such an important part of our La Petite team!
Tell us about your experience in early childhood education.
I actually went to school to become a pharmacy technician. I was a pharmacy technician for 10 years and I just wanted to do something different. I took the job at La Petite Academy as a part time temporary position, but something stuck. I went back and got my Child Development Associate’s credential and took early childhood education classes. I have quite a few early childhood credits and I also interned at different preschools here in Springfield.
How has working at La Petite Academy been rewarding to you?
You have families that come in really nervous about leaving their child, and they [go on to] become one of your best friends. I’ve had several parents tell me ‘you know, I never worry about my child when I drop them off here in the morning.’ There aren’t very many jobs that you can go to and hear that. On a daily basis, there’s someone with a compliment about how we treat their children and how comfortable they are here.
Why is it important that children start in an educational program at such a young age?
Coming to a preschool that’s actually a preschool and not a daycare, it gives the kids a big advantage when they start school. I think children are more confident when they go to school. Even when they move up from one classroom to the next at La Petite, you can see the kids that have been here a while are really comfortable trying new things.
Do you have a favorite accomplishment since being at La Petite Academy?
Being the longest term employee at this school! I’m the first one to get the 20-year plaque at this facility. This facility opened in 1988, and I’m the first one that has been here for 20 years. There are two other girls, one has been here 15 years and one has been here 16 years, but I’m the first one that has hit the 20 year mark!
What was your favorite subject in school?
English literature. I just took off with that because I loved to read. I actually took a class in high school where we wrote children’s books. We wrote two or three books, and then we read them to elementary children in the surrounding areas. I guess I was interested then and didn’t know it!
If you could bring anyone into your center to read a book to your students, who would it be and what book would they read?
If I could, I would invite Laura Ingalls Wilder to read any of her Little House on the Prairie books. A lot of students have been to her homestead, the museum that they have here in Mansfield, and their parents read them the books. With her spending much of her life here in Missouri, I think that would be really fun for the kids.
What are your daily duties as the assistant director?
I help cook, I’m in classrooms, if we are fully staffed and have children that are a little behind or need some catching up, sometimes I work one-on-one with them. We always have new kids throughout the year and if we have a student that comes in crying, the director and I try to make sure we touch base with that child several times throughout the day. We buddy them up with a friend and make sure their friend shows them the way and makes them feel welcome. It’s a good job because you don’t do the same thing every day.
If your students could describe you in one word, what would it be?
Fun. I’m a fun teacher! We asked the pre-k kids that last week, and one girl goes ‘Ms. Caroline’s the sun!’ I said, ‘The sun?’ Well, maybe that’s a good thing! You can’t live without it!