When my youngest brother was born, I was six. I remember wondering how it was possible that this tiny person had grown inside our mother and would one day be as big as me! I was filled with a persistent curiosity about him and asked for books about babies, children, and growing up. I was obsessed with making him laugh and helping my mother care for him; being his older sister set the stage for me to develop into a nurturer.
That fascination and love of caregiving never went away. I am still passionate about how we all become who we are, and that has led me to an academic and professional pursuit of understanding how we all develop physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively. I've worked children across the age and ability spectrums at various points in my life as a teacher, counselor, mentor, coach, and caregiver and have found through my experience and education that people of all ages are at their best when honored as naturally creative, resourceful, and whole individuals.
The implications of this are broad, but in this context it specifically means that I view myself as a facilitator of children's growth. It means I work to understand who children are as individuals and find exciting, fun, and developmentally beneficial ways to help them leverage their strengths to grow in areas where they might struggle.
While working as an educator at a Montessori school, I became committed to helping children widen their perspectives and become capable, independent, and empathetic. When working as a teacher, this meant leaving our everyday physical environment and engaging the world outside. It also involved creating learning spaces within our classroom walls and giving children the chance to try on new ideas and activities through sociodramatic play. As a class aged between six and twelve years, we created and operated a restaurant, designed and built a stage for student-produced puppet shows, and developed a summer-long research summit about culturally significant places and artwork around the world. Twice weekly, we left our school to visit intellectually stimulating spaces in Dallas/Fort Worth.
I am passionate about children at every age and view working with children across different spectrums of diversity as a professional and academic challenge to become even more capable of identifying and encouraging each child's individuality; how I interact with the children I am entrusted to nurture (in any capacity) is how I plan to leave my legacy in the next generation, and I intend to do that well.