A few months ago my brother-in-law, Bill, arranged for me to surprise my sister, Kris, and work with her as a preschool teacher in Raleigh, NC. My sister became a stay-at-home mom to two little girls (hardest job out there, btw) after her oldest daughter arrived in 2011. Last Fall, she started working as a part-time assistant teacher at The School of Grace preschool. Bill put me into contact with the preschool director and teachers to coordinate surprising Kris that morning; needless to say, she was “blown-out-of-the-water” by our visit. I spent half the day in her classroom and then spent the last two hours as the “helping Aunt” in my three-year-old niece’s classroom. I also brought my two-year-old daughter, Ava, to experience the surprise.
The School of Grace is a half-day, parent-participatory Christian preschool serving children ages 6 months to 5 years. It serves typically developing children, children with special needs and children from refugee families by encouraging learn through play. My oldest niece, Ashley, attended the preschool for three years, and it prepared her very well for kindergarten.
I spent the first two hours with Kris, Melissa (head teacher), a volunteer parent, and 6 four-year-olds in the Frog class. The kids recently returned from spring break, and they all seemed happy and excited to be back with their friends and teachers! After Ava and I arrived, everyone became intrigued about who we were and what we were doing at school. We started the morning with free play time and talking about what everyone did over spring break. Then, we participated in circle time with songs, books, weather predictions, and art (for the upcoming art show). After morning snack, we headed outside for recess, which was clearly a favorite. The children played on the swings, rode bikes, chased on the playground, and drew with chalk.
After recess, Ava and I surprised my niece, Claire, in her classroom. Claire excitedly introduced us to her friends and teachers, and we immediately joined in their painting activity. One of Claire’s friends even gave her painting to Ava because she thought Ava was so cute! After art everyone lined up for the weekly chapel discussion. The youth director taught chapel in a different building, therefore the children held a rope and quietly sang songs to encourage walking safely. The children were extremely excited to learn a new story about Jesus, and they asked several interesting questions.
The loving ways the teachers at School of Grace approach learning makes all the difference in a young child’s behavior and development. I experienced teachers helping children make positive choices, gently redirecting children who needed guidance, and empowering children to speak up about their feelings. It takes a special person to be a teacher and every teacher I interacted with that day was amazing. Thank you for teaching, playing and empowering the kids – every.single.day! I appreciated the chance to catch a glimpse into the life of being a preschool teacher.
Finally, many of you may not realize my sister also works part-time for Matern Staffing. Kris manages our website and social media sites remotely from Raleigh. She performs an amazing job for us and we thank her for all her hard work!
Let’s work together! Contact me if you’d like me to spend the day learning your job!
Stay tuned to see where you’ll find me next…