About Karissa
My name is Karissa, and I am truly blessed be working as a School Readiness teacher in a suburban community outside one of Minnesota's largest cities.
I have always had a passion for working with younger children and their families. Upon graduating from Concordia College in 2004 (with a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood, Parent and Family Education and Elementary Education), I was convinced that I would find a job as a kindergarten teacher in an inner-city school and be there until I retired. Boy was I wrong!
After working for two years in a kindergarten classroom, I realized that my favorite interactions each day were with the younger students who had the most needs. So, in 2006, I took a teaching position in the early education center where I now work.
Teaching young children is my vocation, and I work hard each day to help students and families connect and grow together. It is amazing to see three, four, and five year olds begin to learn their letters, be able to write their names, recite the days of the week, count to 30, and share their toys! What is even more amazing is the look of proud and sometimes amazed parents that say, "My child has never done that at home!"
Since starting at my center, I have added a parenting component that requires families to work one-on-one with their child at home at least 10 times a semester. I have found that my students' parents are craving direction and ideas and appreciate having the time to reflect on why these parent-child activities are important for their family. The relationships between children, parents, and other family members are strengthened because of the support of programs like mine.
What's the best part of my job? Hugs, giggles, silly faces, finger paint? Nope. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to be happy about in a pre-k classroom. But, the best part is knowing that a child feels safe, happy, and like part of a community. You wouldn't think you could tangibly witness this, but let me tell you, you see it in a three year old who tells mom everyday, "Don't worry, mom, I will see you soon!" Or in the shy five year old that finally asks a friend to play. Or the group of students that suggests we sing a song to cheer up another student who is feeling sad or hurt.
It is these moments that give me hope for our world. These children are our future, no matter how cliché that might sound. I have the privilege to be a part of their world. I am guiding them to make positive choices and encouraging them to use their imagination to its greatest potential.

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