Data/assessment specialist Patti Bowes usually tells stories through data, but today is her chance to tell us her story in her own words. Learn more about Patti below!
Talk about a fellow educator you admired and what you learned most from them.
One educator that stands out to me was my college chemistry teacher. It was an early morning class during the summer. The air conditioning was set so high, we practically froze, but it did keep us awake! He had a way of relating chemistry to everyday life experiences (baking, getting goosebumps when you’re cold, how cutting onions makes you cry, etc.). I looked forward to attending his class and learned that if you make the subject fun, relatable, and interesting, it will keep students engaged.
If you could go back in time, what is one thing you would tell yourself before you became a parent?
Enjoy each day with your kids because they will be off on their own in the blink of an eye. The day-to-day life as a parent may seem long and arduous at times, but once they’ve grown, you wonder how their childhood years flew by so quickly!
What has been your favorite thing about being a parent?
Watching my kids grow and change. There are so many different stages in their development. Along the way, you think they’re at your most favorite stage and how much you enjoy that particular age. As time passes and before you know it, you’re suddenly in a whole new phase with new challenges, delights, and experiences. Parenting is such an interesting journey and one that continues to change and evolve, even once they strike out on their own.
What is your favorite thing about your kids at their ages now?
That they can financially support themselves! No, actually it is amazing to see how they start out so small and helpless, and through all of the years educating, supporting, and guiding them as parents, you get to see how your efforts helped them develop into very competent, amazing, young adults.
We recently took a family vacation that was originally scheduled to take place following their college graduations in 2020 but was postponed due to COVID. We traveled to London and let our girls plan most of the trip. It was fun travelling together with them as young adults where we experienced historical sights, great food, theatre, museums, pubs, and more.
We logged over 88 miles of walking, despite using the underground and rail systems regularly. As proficient as our daughters were in using their smartphones to help us navigate during the trip, we did have a couple of incidents where we stepped in with our old school methods. On a trip to Dover, my daughter’s smartphone with our return train tickets froze up and couldn’t be reset. She unsuccessfully tried various ways to fix it and was convinced she’d have to get a new phone. After locating some free Wi-Fi, we helped her reset it. Another time we showed them how it’s possible to navigate by using a physical map. Always a good skill to know, especially when technology fails!
What is the best advice you ever got about parenting?
Trust your instincts. Babies don’t come with a user’s manual, although I do recall as new parents, referring to the book What to Expect the First Year. When my husband and I weren’t entirely sure about something, my husband would ask, “What does the manual say”? Today’s parents are fortunate to have access to so many online resources that weren’t available when we were young parents.
Good parenting knowledge is important, but you should also take the time to tune into and trust your instincts and parent from your heart. Each child is unique, and you know your child best.
Having worked at PreK-8 schools and universities, what relationships have you seen between early care and education and the later years of childhood?
My career working in education began first in higher education, then I moved to a PreK-8 school, and now I’m in early childhood education – essentially working backwards through the educational journey.
My husband and I both feel strongly about the importance of a good education. Having a solid foundation is key. We enrolled our daughters in a nationally-accredited preschool program and progressive school that taught them how to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners.
When we were young parents and exploring child care options, I had never heard of Paths to QUALITY or knew how critical the zero to five years are to a baby’s brain development. Despite this lack of knowledge, we found a nurturing environment for their earliest years, where they could explore and feel safe. When I came to Child Care Answers and learned about Paths to QUALITY, I naturally looked up their program to check the level and was glad to learn that it is a level three high-quality program. That high-quality early childhood program laid the foundation in their later years to be successful in school, work, and life.
Interested in learning even more about Patti? Check out her previous Last Day Q&A post!