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Teachers' knowledge of child development reassures parents

Teachers and therapists help Teddy blossom

Four-year-old Teddy’s interests are diverse, and currently include being a ninja or a snake hunter, and he is ready to take these interests and all that he’s learned at Rainbows to kindergarten. “While we’re happy to see Teddy progress, it’s sad to know he is graduating from Rainbows,” said Kaci and Nelson, Teddy’ s parents. “All of the staff have been a blessing to our children and to us. Teddy would not be the outgoing and brave person he is without Rainbows teachers and therapists.”

“There are enough things to worry about as a parent – I couldn’t function in the other roles required of me if I had to worry about the safety and happiness of my children,” said Kaci. “Rainbows gives me peace of mind. To know your children are safe, nurtured, and receiving developmentally-focused childcare is the ultimate comfort as a parent. We know our children are being cared for in a way that is consistent with our values. We could not ask for a better environment. They have helped us as much as they’ve helped our kids. The organization holds very high standards for childcare and education.”

From the infant room through Pre-K, Teddy formed close connections with all of his teachers and therapists. Teddy received physical therapy as an infant to work on gross motor development. He made quick progress with the tools and confidence he gained from sessions. Teddy’s bond with Lead Teacher Autumn Hutchison is especially strong. She provided comfort and a feeling of security while Teddy was going through a rough time with separation anxiety and preparing for a baby brother. Ms. Autumn also reassured Kaci that Teddy was okay and calmed her worries about leaving him crying and screaming each morning. “Ms. Autumn is particularly gifted in working with children, showing a passion for child development, creativity to keep children entertained and encourage their curiosity, and empathizing with their emotions and experiences,” said Kaci. “She will always have a special place in Teddy’s (and my) heart.”

“When Teddy was in my classroom, we introduced the “Mommy hug” which is a hug Teddy could get when he was missing his mom,” said Autumn. “If he was missing his mom, Teddy could come up and ask me for a Mommy hug.” These helped Teddy get through his day at school. The Mommy hug technique worked so well Teddy built a stronger bond with other teachers by sharing Mommy hugs. With the support of teachers and therapists, Teddy gained independence and used his tools to get past his separation anxiety. When Teddy switched classrooms last year, he was able to acclimate right away. Even though he loved his new teacher, he maintained his special bond with Ms. Autumn and would find her at recess to share a hug.

The teachers’ knowledge about child development was a huge reassurance for Kaci and Nelson. The teachers helped Kaci and Nelson through the normal “first time parent” worries and recognized when a little extra help would be beneficial. Before therapy for self-regulation and separation anxiety, Teddy was extremely cautious and reserved. Mental Health Specialists Alice Boutz and Emily Jensby brought out Teddy’s personality for everyone to enjoy. “Their communication with me was wonderful and they gave me the tools to help Teddy,” said Kaci. “They were aware of the major changes in Teddy’s life (baby brother, new teacher, classroom change) and made sure he was prepared for the transitions. We are so thankful for the services they offer!”

Kaci and Nelson appreciate the caring atmosphere at Rainbows. Every person in the building interacts with the kids. They are greeted by name as they walk in the door and get smiles and high fives on the way to the classroom. Kaci also gave a special shoutout to Facilities Coordinator Dustin Hudson who engages Teddy’s love of tools and hard work. Those difficult mornings are always easier when Mr. Dustin happens to be in Teddy’s hallway.

They also appreciate that their children get to interact with children of different abilities and special needs at Rainbows. “It is important to us that our children grow up with understanding of others’ needs rather than seeing them as differences,” said Kaci.

With everyone’s help, Teddy has blossomed into a secure, confident, and adventurous kid. Now, everyone gets to enjoy Teddy’s vibrant personality. “Seeing him interact and play with other kids has been a big area of development,” said Kaci. “He surprises me with his awareness of his emotions and ability to communicate them. Not only does he recognize his own emotions, but he is also sympathetic to how others might feel.”

Teddy enjoys going to Exploration Place, riding his bike, running, and spinning. He is a daredevil – he wants to go fast and swing high. Teddy is a big brother to Pierce. Pierce is a happy-go-lucky little guy who has never met a stranger. He’s popular with all of the staff at Rainbows who love when he blows them kisses. Pierce loves music, dancing, and books. The boys love to play together, and Pierce thinks Teddy hung the moon.