Messy and muddy? Count her in.
Christine doesn’t mind a mess. In fact, she prefers it.
“Anything that involves a smock, I’m into it,” she said.
Christine just graduated with her associate degree in Early Childhood Education from Danville Community College, and you can tell by talking to her that she’s the “fun” teacher.
She began her early childhood education journey back in high school. At the time, she was a volunteer at a local childcare center. As soon as she graduated, she was hired on as an assistant. But when fall came around, Christine took a few courses at DCC and eventually transferred to a four-year university.
“I went to JMU but I realized I missed working with kids, so I went back home to the center I was working at to see if they had any openings,” she said. “That’s when the assistant director told me about the ECE program at DCC.”
Christine had just become lead teacher at her center, but she wanted to see if the early childhood classes at DCC would work around her schedule. Not only did she get classes that worked around her schedule, she also was able to work with faculty members to accommodate her needs as life happened.
“I switched centers this winter and my hours changed after I set my class schedule,” she said. “Ms. Daniels at DCC really, really worked with me. She made sure I was able to get all the classes I needed to graduate on time. Lots of people are in my boat, and she understands that education is valuable, but you also have to pay the bills and work.”
And that work for Christine is rewarding, both in the classroom with her littles and in her college classroom, learning how to best provide for her students.
“I really like that I walk out of work with a smile on. I look forward to it, I smile all day long, it puts me in a good mood to be there,” she said. “I’ve had to push myself to be a little more structured in the classroom, because I love art and open-ended play. But in my classes at DCC, I’ve learned how to gear our play towards their needs, not mine.”
Christine hopes to return to JMU and finish her four-year degree in psychology, while also working on her teaching license. But for now, she’s going to take a break from education and focus on her young daughter and her current classroom.