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Educating with music, movement and laughter

Mother’s career inspires teacher

“At a young age I fell in love with a career serving children who have special needs,” said Mary May, Assistant Teacher. “I watched my mother teach and help students growing up. I would volunteer and help her in any way that I could. I saw how much of a difference she made in their lives, and I just knew I wanted to do the same thing.”

After earning her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Wichita State University in 2018, Mary worked as a special education paraprofessional in a structured learning Autism classroom through Derby public schools. She also did an internship with The Pando Initiative while at WSU.

Mary joined the Rainbows’ Early Child Care and Education team in 2020 and has formed a strong bond not only with the children, but also parents and co-workers. A typical day for Mary includes teaching science, number, letter and word recognition, helping the kids recognize and process all their emotions, and watching the kids grow socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.

Music is a big stress reliever for Mary and she’s singing in the classroom constantly. She’s also trying to teach herself to play the ukulele. Mary’s favorite activities are sharing music and movement (dance parties) and laughing. “I really just love laughing with the kids,” she said. “So anytime we’re all laughing together is the perfect moment for me.”

“Mary is soft spoken but makes a big impact,” said Michelle Croomes, Early Child Care and Education Coordinator. “She excels in one-on-one interactions with all the children, especially those with special needs. She never fails to be patient as she helps them work through daily challenges. I’m so glad Mary became part of the Rainbows and ECE family!”

Mary loves art and enjoys painting in her free time, and spending time with family and friends is important to her. Her parents are middle school sweethearts and she has one brother who is also in the special education field.