Family engagment specialist Jamie Le Sesne Spears offers a diverse set of experiences as a mom of a toddler and former preschool teacher. Read below to learn more about her!
What was your favorite activity to do with your kids in the classroom?
Any activity that involved the creative process! My sweet spot was mixing art with science, technology, engineering, and math, also known as STEAM. One activity that stands out involved a classic preschool classroom material – Tangrams. We would provide children with a mirror box and tangrams. They would create beautiful mosaics and explore geometric and spatial concepts.
If you could go back in time, what is one thing you would tell yourself about the night before your first day as an early childhood educator?
“They won’t know what you don’t tell and show them!”
The first day they are entering a new space with new expectations. It is overwhelming and scary. You must tell them and show them the expectations for your classroom and the materials in the classroom. This will take time, but as you build trust, you will grow together in the space!
Talk about a fellow educator you admired and what you learned most from them.
One of my favorite teachers was my high school social studies teacher. He always encouraged us to dive into the readings, learn from the text, and critically think how it applies to our world. What I learned most from him is the importance of watching a student grow and learn over time. He would always take our growth into consideration with every assignment. It was more important, at times, than accuracy. As a teacher, I always had that in mind.
If you could go back in time, what is one thing you would tell yourself before you became a parent?
Honestly, I would tell myself that my family may not look like what I imagined. I have a son in heaven and a daughter on earth, and I am reminded daily of how I am a parent to both.
What has been your favorite thing about being a parent?
Play! I love playing with my daughter. She is incredibly creative and loving in her play. She makes sure everything goes “nigh-nigh” and has a blanket. For me, it is being able to use my experience as an educator to help her grow and learn through play that fills my bucket!
What is your favorite thing about your kids at their age now?
My daughter is 20-months-old, and I am loving this age! There is so much growth and excitement in the little things. She is always surprising me with the new words she picks up.
What is the best advice you ever got about parenting?
Pick your battles! As a former preschool teacher, my early childhood experiences are grounded in teaching three– to five-year-olds in a classroom setting. I have found much solace in reminding myself to pick my battles and asking myself, “Is this the battle I need to pick with my toddler?” Most of the time the answer is no, and I just redirect.
Want to learn more about Jamie? Check out her previous Last Day Q&A feature.