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Learning Center Experience
By Dr. Darlene Estes-Del Re, PhD, Faculty, Early Childhood Development Degree Program
As a young girl, I spent countless hours playing school with my chalkboard and dolls. My bedroom looked more like a classroom than a little girl's room with walls covered with "my students' work" and schedules of the day posted. All I dreamed about was one day being a teacher.
Throughout my childhood and teen years, I held to my passion to teach. I volunteered in classrooms and helped with summer camp programs. In high school, I joined the Future Teachers of America Club to learn more about becoming a teacher. I learned that love for teaching and children are only a beginning to becoming a teacher. To become a teacher of young children, I would need a degree in early childhood education to gain knowledge in the ways children develop and learn best. This was both an exciting and scary thought. Could I really go to college? No one in my family had been to college. Without college, I would have to give up my dream of not just being a teacher, but of being a teacher who makes a difference.
With the help of my club adviser, I researched available college programs and enrolled in an early childhood development degree program would put me on the path to becoming a teacher or director of a child care program. My courses in early childhood development provided great insight into how children develop, grow, learn, and behave across various ages. My courses in classroom management taught me successful strategies to maximize learning and minimize behavior issues. Courses in curriculum planning helped me to create engaging lessons for all types of learners.
These college courses enabled me to combine knowledge with my experiences and passion for working with young children. With the support of my adviser, family, and instructors, I completed my coursework and graduated from college. Within two months of graduation, I landed my first job working with children as a kindergarten teacher.
Walking into my very own classroom for the first time was surreal. I had dreamed of this moment so many times before, and now it was real. Twenty-three years later, I find myself still pinching myself in disbelief that I am still living the dream of working with young children every day. Today, I am an owner and director of a private Montessori school. I enjoy empowering teachers, parents, and children daily.
I am forever grateful that I had the courage to be the first in my family to attend college and to seek a degree in early childhood education that not only prepared me to teach but also to open my own school. It has been a rewarding journey worth the taking. You, too, can fulfill your dream of teaching young children by enrolling in an early childhood development program today or learning more about careers in early childhood development.* You are one step away from a rewarding career working with children.
Dr. Darlene Estes-Del Re is a faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
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And if you are considering pursuing higher education we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University’s programs and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.It is important to note that certain career paths are growing and our degrees are designed to strengthen your knowledge and prepare our students to advance their careers. But Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement. Several factors specific to a student’s or alumni’s backgrounds and actions, as well as economic and job conditions, affect employment. Also, keep in mind that national long-term projections covered in articles may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
* Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.
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