Deborah J. Stewart | Noblesville, Indiana
HiMama is improving learning outcomes for children zero to five. We support early childhood education because the sector is the most challenging teaching environment. Low wages, lack of professional development and long days; HiMama’s aim is to ease childcare management and support early childhood professionals.
The HiMama team firmly believes that early childhood professionals deserve to be celebrated and that recognition is important. Our Educator Spotlight is one way we are shining a light on the important and undervalued work of childcare professionals.
When Deborah was a teenager, she was asked to fill in as a teacher for young children aged 3 years old. This brought joy to her and she saw the importance of teaching young children and decided this was the career she wanted to do. Over the past 30 years, she has served many roles in the world of early childhood education. This includes teaching in the classroom and serving as a School Director.
CHALLENGES IN EARLY EDUCATION
The challenges Deborah describes are familiar to many early childhood professionals. She reflected on three challenges that increase the daily difficulties present in early learning environments:
“I don’t have enough time in a day to get everything done, that I want to get done for my students”.
- Ongoing Training
“I want to provide ongoing training for my teaching staff, so they can truly see my vision and how to teach through play”.
- Saying the Right Things
“Saying the right things and asking the right questions when speaking to my students about the things they are making or doing. I tend to say “Good Job!” way too much”.
Deborah wishes her classroom was a little bigger, but other times she is thankful that it isn’t. It depends on what time of year it is. In the freezing cold winter, she believes it would be nice to have more space, so the children could get their wiggles out a little better.
Deborah finds joy when she looks around the classroom and sees her students deeply engaged in play and exploration. When this happens, Deborah knows she is on the right track and it makes her happy. She is a firm believer that “young children learn and develop best through play”.
“The parents will be with their child for the rest of the child’s life. I only have the child in my care for a brief season of time. I want to respect and honor the role they have in the child’s life by being attentive to their concerns, thoughts, perspectives, and desires for their child”, says Deborah.
DEBORAH’S CAREER GOALS
Deborah wants to invest her 30 years of experience in the next generation of teachers, by mentoring them and sharing with them the skills and strategies that have worked the very best for her over the years.
Deborah owns her own Preschool, where she teaches children ages three to five. Deborah “embraces early childhood teaching methods that consider the best interests of the child through a play-based, child-led, hands-on teaching approach”. She shares photos of student learning in action on her blog at https://www.teachpreschool.org. In the process of sharing early learning with others, she has also learned so much by really listening to the feedback of others. In fact, it has really changed her approach to teaching over the years. “Every time I think, “I can’t do any better or any more than this,” I discover something I hadn’t ever thought of before. Teaching is a wonderful thing. Not only do I get to keep helping my young students learn something new each day, I keep learning something new too”, says Deborah.
Do you have an educator you think should be in our Educator Spotlight? Contact us today and let us know!