By Lucy Cook, Rainbows’ Para-professional
My first summer at Kids’ Point was such a blast. This is my first year as a para-professional for the kids aged 3-5 years at Rainbows, and it couldn’t be better. It seems like every day is a new surprise. We have been engaging with food, gardening, water play, and so much more. There has been so much learning and growth for all of us.
The kiddos and I aren’t the only ones growing. With the new box gardens installed, there was always something new sprouting. We’ve had a delicious harvest so far, granting opportunities to try many different fruits and vegetables. In addition to the gardens, various classrooms have been observing plants in the classroom. Growing sprouts from seeds, trying new foods, and learning about the parts of a plant have all been a part of the curriculum.
Splash days are truly the best days at Kids’ Point. We pull out the kiddie pools and everyone gets to go swimming! It is such a great way to beat the Kansas summer heat and introduce new ways to play. I personally love when we break out the squirt guns and the kids decide to “wash” the building. Water play is an important part of sensory development, and the different pools and water tables we use allow all of our friends to stay engaged, even if they have certain sensory aversions to water. One of my favorite parts of the summer has been seeing some kids start the summer reluctant to enter the pool and ending their summer splashing around with friends. This job is full of wonderful little victories.
In my short time in this position, I have learned so much more about childcare and early childhood education. That is thanks to my team. All of my co-workers have been extremely kind and considerate as I have come into this new position in their classrooms. They take the time to check in with me and open discussion for how we care for our kiddos, and how we can grow with them. I have observed many different ways to love and educate each child to accommodate their needs and desires. As I continue my education through WSU to become a speech-language pathologist, I know I am learning tools and experiences that I can use to help other children in the future (maybe even at Rainbows!).
“Lucy began at Rainbows as a volunteer, and then joined our Rainbows’ staff,” said Michelle Croomes, Early Childhood Education and CBETS Coordinator. “I have loved watching Lucy grow in her interactions with our students here at Kids’ Point. She is always seeking out new learning opportunities, and this semester she will be observing how speech therapy is conducted in our CBETS program. We are proud to be part of her education and happy to have her as a member of the Rainbows’ family.”