Working at Our Little Village|Library during my Junior year has given me great experience in working with children and even some skills for being a future teacher. While I’m not a parent (but I plan to be in the future) there are so many lessons I can apply to own parenting philosophy and to my caretaking role now. Someone who has dramatically assisted in this process is Kristi King, our site coordinator, a parent of 3, and an amazing mentor! Kristi is especially good at guiding and teaching us how to be better childcare providers. Rather than just getting angry or frustrated, she gives us alternatives on how to go about different situations, sometimes in disguised ways. One Tuesday afternoon shift in particular made for a great teaching moment from Kristi, who showed me that sometimes having 8 kids in our small drop off childcare center can be a blessing in disguise!
That busy Tuesday in January was unlike any other Tuesday shift I had ever worked. Normally our weekday shifts are calm, only having 4-5 children, if that! On this Tuesday, the kids kept coming, which was awesome at first, but it began to be over whelming! 3 babies, 3 toddlers/preschoolers, and 2 primary aged children all arrived and began playing with different toys, and of course, playing very loudly. My co-worker and I each had a crying baby in one arm and were attempting to play with children using our other hand. Though this was no new scenario to either me or my co-worker, we still had our hands full! Kristi arrived early for her shift and observed the chaotic scene. Without hesitation she stepped into our disorder, grabbed some fun books, gathered up the 5 children and began to read to them. I was amazed and thankful! They were all sitting quietly, listening to her every word, and were engaged in the book! No more yelling, toys flying, or children fighting. My co-worker and I had a chance to calm the last crying baby and clean up the room while organizing our thoughts. I realized then that this could be a powerful tool in how we manage the childcare center when we have 8 kids and might be in the process of pulling our hair out. Kristi didn’t even have to say anything to us, because her actions spoke louder than any of her words would have been.
This past Sunday, OLV reached full capacity twice! In the midst of the craziness, I turned to my co-worker and said “In 10 minutes we are going to have story time!” And together, we gathered the 8 kids, read to them and had them work on different crafts TOGETHER! They were quiet and engaged, just like they were with Kristi! I learned that sometimes, quietly showing someone what to do can be better than just telling them, and that if you have a lot of kids in a tiny space…story time is amazing! Thanks Kristi!