Close this search box.

Career reflection brings joy

Why I choose Rainbows: My story by Alexis Young

I started working at Rainbows in April of 2018 while pursuing an Early Childhood Unified degree at Wichita State University. I started as a para educator in the one-year-old classroom and INSTANTLY knew this was the place for me. Learning from both my WSU professors and Rainbows’ little ones, I gained experience for my current career (and continue to gain and learn from new experiences as a lead teacher in my two-year-old classroom every single day!).

I had taken off work the year of my graduation for my internships and as soon as I graduated, I applied for, got offered, and accepted an assistant teacher position in one of the pre-K classrooms here at Rainbows. It felt safe for me – I knew the atmosphere, the classrooms, the staff, the kids. I had known I’d be back!

I have always adored the diversity and inclusion we have at Rainbows. We teach both typical students and those that are developing differently in inclusive classrooms, allowing children to interact with kiddos different than them. This makes for amazing social experiences and allows our students to go into the world with open minds as caring individuals.

The first few years of life are the most crucial years for brain development. In this role we are literally helping mold a tiny human’s mind. We are with these kids 8 or more hours a day, at least 5 days a week. We have a HUGE effect on how these children grow emotionally, socially, and mentally. The things we say and do matter.

In my two-year-old classroom, we focused primarily on social-emotional skills. We identified our emotions and learned how to manage our BIG emotions (i.e., tantrums, anxiety, etc.) by using our “Calm Down” space. This is an area in the classroom away from the rest of the room with pillows, stuffed animals, and calm down toys to help children learn how to calm their bodies. We used this space every single day for different kiddos for different reasons. The goal is to have this area be a safe place for a child to go on their own when they need to regulate their emotions. We all have big feelings – even as adults – so it’s very important to teach these skills to our toddlers. Seeing our students use the techniques we teach them to calm down (such as deep breaths, punching a pillow, and so on) is so amazing.

As an early childhood educator, my co-workers and I get to watch babies grow from babbling, to first steps, to learning to write their name, to walking across the stage at pre-K graduation. I’ve interacted and bonded with so many different kids in my five years at Rainbows and I can’t wait to see what the next five years hold!

From being a para educator in each classroom, to assistant pre-K teacher, to lead teacher, I’ve been so lucky to have grown in such a wonderful facility doing what I love. If I had to choose again, I would always choose Rainbows!