Meet Our Tutor Time Staff – Ms. Debbie, Team Lead & Preschool Teacher
Ms. Debbie is the team lead and preschool teacher at our Peoria, AZ location, and her contagious laughter, silly nature and love of early education makes her an integral part of our Tutor Time team! Continue reading to learn more about Ms. Debbie, including how her passion for crafting led her students to build an eight-foot paper mâché giraffe! (Pictured, right)
Tell us about your background in child care.
I ran my own licensed home daycare in California for about 21 years. Then we moved to Arizona and I missed kids, so I put in my resume in a few Tutor Time schools. They hired me and I was so excited! I have been here about three years. I’ve taken Tutor Time’s all-day training courses and I’ve taken workshops. I just love kids and parents and the interactions with all of them!
Do you have a favorite accomplishment since you’ve been at Tutor Time?
I made teacher of the year two years in a row! That was fun because that was determined by the director, assistant director, fellow teachers and parents. All the parents came in and said “congratulations!” and it’s so rewarding to know the parents love you. It’s a good balance that you have a good rapport with them, as well.
What’s your favorite children’s book?
The Giving Tree. I like how the little boy befriends the tree and they go through their stages of life together. Last year during Tutor Time’ Season of Kindness, The Giving Tree was a part of the curriculum and the kids loved that book!
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I like to crochet. I’m huge on crafting. When I ran my home daycare, there were three nursing homes nearby and I used to make lap blankets because they really needed them. I’d get the parents’ permission and my students and I would go together and donate blankets. I’m big on that. I like to help people.
How do you bring your love of crafting into your classroom at Tutor Time?
I’m really into felt stories. Books are good, and my students love to read books, but when you change it up and turn one of their favorite books into a felt story, they really interact with it. I probably have more than 30 felt stories that I’ve made by hand for different books that the kids like. I like to step outside of the box and build on the curriculum.
How did the eight-foot-tall paper mâché giraffe in your lobby come to be?
We were talking about animals from China and we got into the tiger, and my co-teacher made a paper mâché tiger with the kids. Then afterwards, the kids wanted to make another animal. We have now, in our lobby, an eight-foot giraffe that our class made. It took us a month! The students painted it, and because I crochet, I crocheted the tail. I see the parents taking selfies with it!
What are you looking forward to most in the coming school year?
Just seeing the different kids grow and all the new families that come in. I also open in the morning so I get to greet all the parents for the first hour, so that’s fun!
Why is teaching important to you?
I like their learning process at this stage. I love to see them grow in such a good way. You always hear in your teaching and training classes that the first five years are the most important and I want to make that fun.