Ms. Tierra is the lead teacher in the school-age classroom at our Childtime center in Fairfax, VA. She has been at Childtime for just over three years and recently graduated from George Mason University where she studied English and early childhood education. Read on to learn about this wonderful member of our Childtime team!
Can you tell us a bit about the before- and after-school program at Childtime?
In the morning we have a combination of our Kick-Off Club to set students up for their school day, as well as free play. We do the Kick-Off Club activities together and talk about what happened yesterday. Then they head off to school. In the afternoons, we have our classroom set up so it functions like a mini economy. When students do good things they get bonus money, when they do bad things, they get fined. They’ve been using this to take on more responsibility in the classroom, so every afternoon when they return they do their jobs – it can be anything from straightening up the library to making sure all the toys are put away. We then go into Challenge Club, Homework Club and Grow Fit Club. Then we do our Grow Fit activities together and run around outside and play.
What are their favorite activities from our Grow Fit Club?
They really like “Grab the Monster by the Tail.” You tuck a scarf in the back of their shirt or pocket, and it’s like “Duck, Duck, Goose,” but you say “Monster, Monster, Monster, Ghost,” and you have to run twice around the circle. If you get tagged, you have to go to monster jail. If you don’t, then the next person becomes the monster.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of our before- and after-school program?
I think our program is more student-driven because it’s very focused on them learning the skills and not just me showing them all the time. I like them to get hands-on and learn things, and I know my parents keep coming back because they like that.
Do you have a favorite accomplishment since you’ve been at Childtime?
Right now we’re doing Project Lullaby – it’s our Community Club activity. We’re making sleep sacks for younger kids for naptime when they forget their blankets, and in order to do it, the students had to cut through fabric with safety scissors and tie the fabric together. It’s hard when not everyone knows how to tie their shoes! Since we’ve been doing it for the last month though, I’ve had three kindergarteners learn how to tie their shoes.
How many blankets have you made?
In the past two weeks, we have made 11 or 12. They’ve really been on it!
What about teaching is so rewarding to you?
There are a lot of things. I love my kids. I’ve known some of them since they were in the preschool room. I’ve become really close with them and watched them learn new things, watched them find out what they like and how to do what they want to do. It makes my heart happy.