A Real Life Pre-K Superhero
When you teach pre-k, you learn just how primal and important it is. When you have done that and THEN become involved in public policy, well, you have the backstory for a superhero powerhouse pre-k advocate. Check out Fulfilling our Promise: The Prospects of Early Childhood Education by former Inside Pre-K blogger, writer, and public policy expert Sophia Pappas. Only real experience with the benefits of pre-k could start an article on federal early education policy with "I found my calling in a pile of vomit and a smile." You gotta love when a policy talk starts with puke and a grin.
It is funny but true, pre-k educators have to balance much of the heavy lifting of a young child's educational foundation, which includes teaching him how to read and count while simultaneously caring for him. A typical day in pre-k has at least one or more of the following: falling, spilling, sneezing, wiping, crying, tattling and bleeding. It also has at least one of these: counting, sorting, recognizing, naming, ordering, classifying, graphing, rhyming, and reading.
When you live in a daily flux of competing interests you gain a deep respect for the process of learning and each student's individuality. It also, if you let it, tug your heartstrings like the final scene in E.T. Here is how Sophia described Tyrique, a former student who helped her fall in love with pre-k.
His trajectory from an anxious newcomer without an understanding of what a letter is to a self-confident early reader required strategic and steadfast efforts to identify and meet his needs. I paid attention to everything, from the toys and stories that piqued his interest to his specific skill deficits, in order to create individualized learning plans that maximized every moment.
Read the rest of the article at Good magazine to get a sense of why we need more superheroes like Sophia on the front lines of public pre-k debates, and don't forget to join the Pre-k Justice League and Become a Friend of Sam.