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Meet Ms. Shanda, the pre-kindergarten teacher at our La Petite Academy in Voorhees, New Jersey! She has been at the center for 18 years, and even after that time, each day is completely different than the last. Learn more about Ms. Shanda and how she makes the Pre-K experience unique and exciting for each child in her class!
Can you tell us some more about your background?
I was going to school for financing and in the midst of that, I realized it wasn’t for me. While I was working in the college work/study program, I had to work in a daycare. That’s when I decided early education was what I need to be doing. All my classes for my minor were in education.
What did you like so much about the child care/education setting?
Interacting with the kids. I like helping them and seeing them go from not recognizing the letter “A” to recognizing all the letters of the alphabet. I like watching them accomplish things and seeing how excited they get when they discover new things. It’s just everything. I love kids. I really do.
Why is it rewarding to be a pre-kindergarten teacher?
Just to see that. For example, we’ve been studying the changes of different things, and I had a Peep in my hand at the time, and I’m like “you know what, I’m going to do a Peep activity with the kids.” That one Peep activity of asking “how does it look?”, “what does it feel like?” and “how does it taste?”, became a week-long science experiment where we watched what happened to different Peeps in different types of situations. I put Peeps in liquid, I put Peeps in the microwave and the freezer, and just watching the students come in each day and look at the Peep and see the excitement on their faces…that’s what keeps me going. That’s what excites me.
What does a typical day look like?
It can be anything. I move with the children. If I see they’re interested in something, I can keep it moving all day. If I see that they’re stressed out and not into what we’re doing, I can make it a game day and flip the activity to a game. A typical day is all based on them.
Relationship with parents?
I talk to them every day. I don’t ever want a parent to just walk in and walk out. Now that we have PreciouStatus it’s much better! One mother was worried her son wasn’t eating, and he had a big bowl of pasta, and I took a picture and sent it to her and said, “You’re worried about him eating? Look at this big bowl of pasta!” She sent a smiley face back. When she came in, we talked about the picture and laughed. It helps to open up the wall of communication where it might not have been open before.
Why do you feel early education programs are so important for kids in today’s day and age?
Early education programs help them grow a love for learning. If you make it exciting now, when they do go to public school, they’ll already have that excitement for learning.