Meet Ms. Latrice, the amazing lead teacher for our kindergarten prep program at Tutor Time in West Haven, CT. She started working at Tutor Time 10 years ago but has 15 total years of experience in early education programs. Read on to learn more about this talented member of our Tutor Time team!
Can you tell us some more about your background?
I started off working in non-profits and helping with after-school programs. Then I began work at a New Haven-based child care program, probably one of the founding fathers of Head Start in the state of Connecticut. I left in 2006 and I started at La Petite in January of 2007. I am finishing an associate’s degree in early childhood education and I’ll be done in the spring. It will be a dual degree – early childhood education and human resources. I already have a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts.
What are some fun ways you spice up the curriculum in your classroom?
Because of my culinary background, I do what’s called “Fun Food Fridays.” On Monday, I print out two or three pictures and we vote by putting Legos on the picture that everyone wants to do. The one with the most Legos, we cook that recipe on Friday. It gets everyone really amped up and on Fridays, everyone’s like, “It’s Fun Food Friday! It’s Fun Food Friday!” They wear aprons and they get to eat what we make. We’ve had everything from waffles to quesadillas to breakfast.
Can you share how our k-prep program prepares kids for kindergarten?
The k-prep program is meant to help your child become socially and cognitively ready for kindergarten. It’s not just about learning to write your name, it’s about learning to be able to sit still to read a book. Social skills, fine motor development. Things like that. I send home homework on Modays for kids and it’s due on Friday. I want the child and the parents to get used to having homework every evening because in kindergarten, you get 3-4 pages of homework to do a night. In the past, kids who graduated from my program were very ready. I had a set of twins start kindergarten and they were reading at a first grade level – they skipped ahead to first grade!
You have a degree in culinary arts – why did you decide to change career paths?
I had been cooking for a while. I loved cooking, but it was really draining. You work a lot of hours, I was pulling 60-70 hours a week. I came home and I started volunteering at my friend’s daughter’s preschool program and I was just a natural at it. And I though, “You know what, I could do this for a little while.” And I decided, let’s make this a career path. And I still cater on the site!
What do you love most about being a k-prep teacher?
I really enjoy seeing the progression of my students. From a child who might have had severe behavioral issues, to now having them run up to me saying “good morning.” I like seeing that. I like seeing the progression of them writing a scribbly line on a piece of paper to them writing their full name by the end of the year. That’s really big for me.
What was your favorite subject when you were in school?
History! I’m a complete and utter nerd and I love anything history based. I lived overseas for a while and I went to a lot of different museums. I love history; it’s very, very interesting.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I do a lot of traveling. I also read a lot. I take catering jobs when I want to because it’s fun. And to be honest, I spend a lot of time online looking at things for my classroom!
Why do you like working here at Tutor Time?
I really love a lot of people I work with. They make even a difficult day okay. You don’t see that everywhere. We have difficult days here, things happen, but at the end of the day, we support one another.