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Meet Ms. Jennifer, the lead pre-kindergarten teacher (and soon-to-be team lead) from our location on Baptist Rd. in Pittsburgh, PA. While she has only been a staff member for a couple months, she has been a part of the Tutor Time family for eight years as both of her children have attended our programs. Read our Q&A to learn more about Ms. Jennifer, including her background, experience and why she loves working with the pre-k students!
You were a parent here before you became a teacher – how was your children’s experience with us?
I was so impressed. My daughter is now eight years old and she started in the infant room and went all the way through. My son is five and he was the same way. They both went to private school after leaving Tutor Time and I felt that their teachers here gave them an excellent education and a great start.
Can you tell us about your background in education?
My degree is in elementary special education and I was teaching in an elementary setting for the past 16 years. I just wanted a change. I wanted to work with the younger kids.
Why did you want to make the switch to early education?
I wanted to move to just doing things hands-on – a lot more crafts, working with letters. I’m so excited for some of the ideas I’ll be bringing here.
What does your typical day look like in pre-k?
We do our first circle time and we talk about the jobs that they’re doing for the day which include line leader, weather, calendar, “sticker picker.” Then we talk about the letter of the day or sounds. Some of them then do different centers and they have breakfast, as well. We gather them back later on and we do a teacher center activity. This week it’s dinosaurs. I was helping the kids on a cut and paste activity – they were cutting things into herbivores and carnivores because we were talking about dinosaurs. I’m sitting with them showing them how to use scissors and how to hold the pencils, because the habits they form now are the ones that they’re going to have later on. Then we gather back together and we usually do a story and then we go play in The Village. Then we come back for lunch. They’re really good eaters. It’s nice because it’s a social setting so they’re talking to each other which is something all kids need because mealtime is crucial for communication. After they finish, they go for naps. When they wake up from naptime they get to play with their last centers before going outside.
Why is early education critical in today’s day?
Kids are going to learning centers earlier and earlier. And as they’re going to learning centers earlier and earlier, that responsibility falls on us as educators to start to introduce them to things, because in the past a lot of moms would stay at home and they would work with the children. That’s not the case anymore. We have working parents, and working parents need somewhere for their children to learn the basics. It’s important that when the kids come here that yes, they have fun, but they have fun as they’re learning. I’m a firm believer that education is not solely in literacy and math. We teach children what’s right and wrong for society. We want them to grow up to be well-rounded citizens.
Can you share a memorable moment you’ve had at Tutor Time?
There’s so many of them! There’s this one little boy whose mom came up to me and told me that I am really important to him and when he goes home at night, he talks about me a lot. That just really touched me. They’re little kids and their memories don’t always hold everything that goes on throughout the day, and the fact that his mom came up to me and said he loves you, he talks about you all the time, it definitely makes your day worth it. Every kid has their lovable moments. There is no kid that I feel I haven’t reached yet.