Every year, we have our annual “back to school” staff meeting about a week or two before our preschoolers come back. This year, our meeting was at Lord of Life, the church where my career in Early Childhood Education began. It seemed a bit appropriate that the year I have a whole new team, our meeting was at the place where it really all started for me!
My career in Early Childhood Education officially started in 1998. OK, it really probably started when I was 10, and my neighbor and I would tag-team babysit for several families. At age 11 or 12, I was co-nannying with her over the summer for a family that had 3 boys. I babysat until I had a “real job” at McDonald’s when I was 15. No job was quite as satisfying as working with young children (though, admittedly, working as a shift manager at Pizza Hut had some similarities).
In 1998, I was attending Bethel College, now Bethel University, for Early Childhood and Family Education. I had started attending Lord of Life as a church member, and saw they had a job opening for a part time position running the nursery. I was hired as the Associate Director of Nursery Services. My primary job responsibilities were to coordinate nursery volunteers, manage the on-call child care program our church had for parents attending small groups or other events at the church, and writing articles for the church newsletter. Later, I started up the 2 year old Sunday School program. It was a fun job that incorporated all the things I loved – working with children, volunteers (and volunteering), and writing. Even when I left the official position, I continued to volunteer in the nursery.
Since that time, the church has started up its own preschool (which started when I was still working the Nursery Services position, though I was not part of that). It also has allowed the Anoka-Hennepin District to house one of our Kindergarten Readiness classes there.
Today, we had a great class on the importance of music and movement with young children. Did you know that being able to follow simple rhythmic patterns at an early age can predict how well a child will be able to read later on? That was one of many things we learned or were reminded of today. After the class, we had our meeting which mostly consisted of meeting new staff, and being reminded of all the services we have available to us and to the families we serve. The entire day was a great reminder of just why I love working for the school district!!
We have been diligently working over the past couple of weeks to prepare for the children who will be walking through our doors next week. I have met the new Assistant Teacher and Special Education Teacher who I will be working with. We have talked about where we want to start the year, and know things will evolve as our team becomes more cohesive. I am excited about the new school year with a new Team, and new students (though, many are returning, or families we have previously had)… it just seemed fitting that it officially started where my whole career started!
Side note: I ran into two different women I recognized, who were working at the church today. Even though I haven’t even attended the church in over 9 years, they both remembered me. I recognized both of them, but could only recall the name of one. :-( Though it was strange that they both remembered me, it’s nice to be remembered!