Ms. D (short for “Deangela”) is the accelerated pre-kindergarten (APK) teacher at The Children’s Courtyard in Spring, Texas. She will celebrate her 11-year anniversary in December, and has taught the APK program for eight of those. Reach our Q&A with Ms. D to learn more about this essential member of our team!
Why did you decide to pursue a career in early childhood education?
I love the kids. Making the bright lights come on for whatever they do, whether it’s for something social or academic. The sense of community in my class, I like all of that. It’s really simple. I love the kids.
For you, what is so special about teaching the APK class?
I love to see my kids successful, and I’m not just talking academics. To build that sense of community and to know that they have a really strong foundation going into the next level makes me feel really good. They’re independent and they’re independent thinkers and they care about people. I just love it. That’s the most rewarding. Building a sense of community in my class and watching it grow.
What does a typical day in APK look like?
Students sign in and then they write in their journals – we write every day – and then it’s circle time. After circle time, they branch out into their centers and do small group activities. Then we eat lunch, have recess and then rest time. Rest time isn’t actually “rest time” at this level – it’s a purposeful rest time. Usually there is some type of audio story going on that they’re listening to for a purpose. Then we do math and cover different subjects like that.
What are the benefits of our APK program?
It would be like a bridge between pre-k and kindergarten. It just gets students ready on every level. It’s that bridge. Usually, children that are in this program, usually 9 out of 10 are reading before they go into kindergarten. And if they’re not reading, then they are so primed for reading.
Why is an early start to education so important for children?
It gives them a foundation. They’re learning how to be more in control. Kindergarten isn’t what it used to be. Kindergarten is “let’s bubble in these answers” and “let’s do this worksheet.” I think as early educators, it’s our job to let them have fun while they’re learning and to still teach them that classroom structure without it being so restrictive.
Do you have a favorite accomplishment from your past 10 ½ years at The Children’s Courtyard?
I did get teacher of the year for our region, but every time I graduate my class in May, it’s an accomplishment. That’s the truth.