Meet Our La Petite Staff – Ms. Karen, Lead Jr. Kindergarten Teacher
If the students at our Morrisville, NC location could describe Ms. Karen, Lead Jr. Kindergarten Teacher, in two words, they would probably say “crazy” and “silly.” “I’m always trying to do things to keep the kids happy and keep them smiling,” she says. Read on to learn more about Ms. Karen and the benefits of our Jr. Kindergarten program!
Tell us about your experience in early childhood education.
I worked at a La Petite Academy in Durham when my son, who is now is 26, was about 13 months old. I worked there about three years. Then, I became pregnant with my second child and with my first one being so young, I just ended up staying home for a little while. I then started taking care of other peoples’ kids in the neighborhood and from there I ended up running a small home child care business until 2013. I am also about four classes from obtaining my associate’s degree.
What does a typical day in your Jr. Kindergarten classroom look like?
The kids start coming in at 8:30 a.m. We do breakfast and start our daily routine at around 9:30 a.m. We do large group time and then the kids do a free play time, and after that I do a smaller group time where I have individual children that I work with. We read with them and get to work one-on-one with the individual children at their level. Then we go outside and come back inside and do lunch. They don’t have to take a nap, but they do have a little quiet time. We do quiet time for 45 minutes to an hour and then work on our math, social studies and critical learning skills.
Why do you feel early education programs are so important?
To me, it gets the kids prepared and ready to participate in school. It does help them a lot. It helps them with socialization, to get along better with peers. My son was one of those kids who was used to being around family all the time and really didn’t get to be around kids his age, and he struggled his first year of school. My other kids did attend an early childhood program and it was much easier for them.
What are the benefits of the Jr. Kindergarten program?
It’s basically set up like a kindergarten class. You have to raise your hand and learn the rules of the class. It’s like kindergarten, but it’s not kindergarten because we’re still pacing things. When they do start kindergarten, all of this is so familiar to them.
How do you reassure families that their children are in good hands and learning all day?
I try to have the best relationship with my parents and I tell them all the time, if there’s anything they’re concerned about, to please come to me and talk to me. Be honest with me. I just want them to feel so comfortable talking to me about anything. That’s very important.
What do you love about teaching in early education?
Just to be able to have parents tell me “it is such an easy drop off when you’re in the classroom.” And when they tell me, “my child really loves you.”