Autumn Hutchison, a Lead Teacher at Rainbows United Kids’ Point, was inspired to work with children from a very young age.
“I had an amazing 2nd grade teacher named Mrs. Brothers,” says Autumn. “She really took the extra time to make sure all of her students understood each lesson. It didn’t matter how silly she had to get in order for us to remember; she did it.”
Autumn currently holds an Associate’s degree from Butler Community College and is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Wichita State University.
“Most people would say I get paid to play, and most days I would agree. I do get paid to spend all day with some super special individuals,” Autumn says.
A typical day for Ms. Autumn involves leading a classroom of roughly fifteen 3-5 year olds through activities, meals, and play. “We spend some of our day learning the themed lesson plan of the week, going over classroom rules, and in structured play groups. We try to make everything fun all while striving to teach students how to effectively use their words, provide ways to help them clam down when they are upset, and work on their skills to interact positively with one another. We do all of this still understanding every child is different.”
Autumn finds each day an achievement in itself, but loves watching kids progress over time. “One of my favorite things is being able to witness how much growth a student makes from the beginning of their time with Rainbows until the end,” she says. “Knowing their past history and then watching them move up, class to class, with all the new things they learn is extremely rewarding.”
Autumn has two children of her own: Allison, age 11 and Chase, age 10. However, after working at Rainbows for two years, Autumn feels like she is a mother to many. “I love the stories my kids share. They get so excited and just can’t wait to tell me what they did last night or over the weekend,” says Autumn. “They know I’m their teacher, and I love every one of them equally the same. For eight hours of the day I’m their ‘fill in’ mom, and sometimes their own mother gets called Ms. Autumn.”
Autumn feels privileged to be on Rainbows’ team and is a huge fan of the people she works alongside. “Rainbows is more like another family to me,” she shares. “There would be days I was struggling with my own personal experiences, and when I would walk into the building I knew I had teachers and other staff I could talk to and lean on for support. I also had a classroom of little hearts and big minds giving me motivation to give my all every day.”
Her co-workers recognize her strengths and the benefit they bring to a classroom. “My favorite thing about Ms. Autumn is her resilience,” says Michelle Croomes, Program Coordinator at Kids’ Point. “She has a unique ability to deal with the children and their needs as they present themselves in the moment. Also, her creativity and commitment to providing the best experience for the children is an inspiration. She is always coming up with new ways to engage the kids.”
Not only does Autumn work for Rainbows, she is a loyal volunteer for the agency as well. “My favorite fundraiser to volunteer at is Fashion Passion,” she says. “I’ve volunteered for three of them so far and loved every minute of it. I’m amazed at how much the community of Wichita loves Rainbows and the children we serve.”
Outside of work, Autumn spends most free time with her kids. “We love to do crazy science and art experiments we find on Pinterest or YouTube together. When the weather is nice we go on nature walks and play baseball or softball.”