Over the past five years, I've worked with children in a variety of settings (at home, in the classroom, at after-school programs) in Minneapolis, Marseille, Dubai, Bordeaux, and India. I've been so lucky to be welcomed into the lives of lovely, caring families that unofficially "adopted" me into the family and with whom I still keep in touch. I've relished the opportunity to interact with curious young minds from diverse backgrounds who have made me more open-minded and have taught me to adapt to different cultures and points of view.
In 2015, I worked as a classroom teaching assistant at a French immersion program at Ramsey Middle School in St. Paul. The classes varied each week but I worked primarily with children between the ages of 10 and 13.
Later that year, I began looking for babysitting and nannying opportunities in the area. I began taking care of an 18 month old toddler in January 2016 for about 15 hours every week. I also did some part-time babysitting for another family every weekend and took care of their 2 year old boy.
After graduating in May 2016, I went back to France for about nine months as an English teaching assistant and worked at a middle school and high school in the countryside. The classes varied but I was teaching students between the ages of 10 and 19. After my contract ended at the end of April, I was a fill-in au-pair in the city of Bordeaux for a month where I stayed with a lovely family and took care of three children, ages 10, 8, and 4.
When working with children, I realize the importance of creating a strong bond with them to make them feel safe, while encouraging them to become more independent. In a secure environment, I believe that children can explore and find their interests through experiential learning.
Patience is the greatest strength that I have developed from my child care experiences. It's a virtue that can't be bought, given away or assumed. As part of a younger generation that can often be selfish, I'm convinced that taking care of children has shifted my focus outward and taught me to put the wants and needs of others before myself. It has been a truly humbling experience.