I remember her as beautiful and extremely rewarding. Madam Judy, my head start teacher, embodies my first memories of being in school. My parents registered in one of the first Head Start classrooms in St. Louis, Missouri. At that time, Head Start was considered as one of the federal governments latest experiments, which would address the nations challenges for children growing up in poverty. However, for the 15 or so children who were part of my classroom experience, we got beyond what the government might have expected. Essentially, The Experiments greatest gift was a loving and thoughtful teacher.
Our neighborhoods Head Start program was located in the basement of a small Mennonite church. From a historical perspective, the Mennonite Churchs mission and Head Starts were similar in the sense that both units focused on being change agents in communities with mainly working class and low-income families. In our hyper segregated whole black community, the menonitic church was carefully looked after because of its predominantly white membership that many parents considered as a group of hippies. Although the programs administrative and learning staff consisted of the persons primary from the church, volunteers and paid staff were parents from the neighborhood. Probably, the decision contributed to employing parents to correct families and motivate them to report their children.
In Mrs Judys classroom, the daily routine consisted of morning-free play, story time, arts and crafts, a hot lunch, nap, more outdoor games and then an afternoon snack of juices and salt cakes or juices and oatmeal cookies just before it was time to go home. I remember a childhood full of happiness and excitement; rushing to dress in the morning so I could have fun playing, reading and finger painting. But the most indelible memory is that you insist on sitting next to Ms Judy during our reading circles and wrapped up in her voice as she touches our fantasies to travel to places and experiences different from our acquaintances. Her tone was encouraging and inspired a room full of 4 year old children to think, question and believe beyond our immediate. As a result, and with the consistent strengthening of my parents, I became an emerging reader in preschool and I went to kindergarten reading.
Nevertheless, the transition from going to preschool and getting into kindergarten was very traumatic. I was the child who spent his beginners days on kindergarten and cried and shook as I rolled over the classroom. Everyday, for the whole of the first week, after I had done it to the schoolyard with my older brother, I would refuse to enter the building that was desperate to the fence shouting: No! I want to go with Mrs Judy! Where is Ms. Judy?! Consequently, Hughes, Principal, routinely retrieves me carefully and takes me to class. It did not seem to comfort me at all because I thought my parents had played a lot of terrible bet and change the tricks by separating me from the teacher I loved the new person I did not want to know.
Now, this story is not necessarily about a child with great childhood and his progressive foresight to place him in preschool. No, this story is about not so obvious. This story is about the power of one when they act from the context we call Early Childhood Teacher. Adults who teach young children tend to be most undervalued and ignore vocational education. Nevertheless, a wealth of scientific research suggests that it is the early life experiences between the ages of zero to 12 years, which dictate most successfully in school. As an early childhood educator, I am convinced that the formal early learning experiences between ages of zero to eight years not only determine school success but also the inclination to achieve maximum potential in life. Therefore, the essence of my premise is the influence of a teacher.
Essentially, the type of activities routinely planned, the arrangement of an environment, the ideas discussed as important, the voice of the tone, and each shown adult behavior are all very important for the development of early childhood. I wish every child benefits as I did from a Ms. Judy; and Im involved in the work that can make this happen. Her encouragement for children to trust their thoughts, asking questions and exploring is extremely important for educators to model. I never saw her again after leaving preschool, but Ive never forgotten her goal-conscious and loving spirit. Perhaps then, its my memory and the lasting influence and impression she made of me, which is the true proof of her power as an early childhood ... Teacher.