We’re switching up our Last Day Q&A feature to focus on why you’re here – early childhood education and parenting. First up is our executive director, Mollie Smith, who so gracefully continues to move us forward in our mission.
What was your favorite activity to do with your kids in the classroom?
My favorite activity was when we played games, from I Spy because we had two minutes before the end of the day, to guess-the-word which helped us with new vocabulary. I loved literally any activity that we could make into a game that produced smiles, high-fives, and laughter. There was a healthy amount of competition and an enormous amount of excitement. I very rarely gave prizes or awards; it was about learning and having fun.
If you could go back in time, what is one thing you would tell yourself the night before your first day as an early childhood educator?
The parents aren’t as scary as they look! I had no fears about the kids – I was a nervous wreck about the parents!
Talk about a fellow educator you admired and what you learned most from them.
I was lucky enough that my first teaching position was across the hall from my student teaching placement. Two fellow kindergarten teachers and my new “next door” first grade teacher colleague became my support group. The ongoing joke was that they were old enough to be my parents, and it was my job to ‘teach the old dog new tricks’. The best part is they encouraged me to try something, even if I wasn’t sure about it. Then, they helped me if it didn’t go as planned. They never told me, “No, that’s not going to work,” or made me feel lesser if something didn’t go well. It was an amazing environment to learn.
If you could go back in time, what is one thing you would tell yourself before you became a parent?
Take all the parenting advice you are going to get with a grain of salt. Just because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you, and that’s ok!
What was your kids’ favorite age to parent?
Four- and five-year-olds – it was so much fun to be with them as they grew into little people. They were communicating, exploring, and engaging in a whole new way. I was also a fun mom then – much more than I am right now!
What is your favorite thing about your kids at their age now?
My girls are teenagers, and I am enjoying doing things side-by-side, like cooking, shopping, attending concerts and enjoying time in a different way.
What is the best advice you ever got about parenting?
You are going to mess up and get something wrong, and it’s ok!
What is/were your favorite activities to do with your children?
I enjoy hiking, boating, and traveling with the girls. It is much different now than when they were four!
Want to learn more about Mollie? Check out her previous Last Day Q&A feature.