Colorado Academy welcomes new Pre-K Director and Instructor, Judy Pansini. Pansini holds both Master’s and Bachelor of Arts degrees in education and curriculum and development. She is an experienced educator of children in Pre-K through the primary grades, and is the recipient of educational honors and program grants. She and two other instructors make up the team of educators serving 27 Pre-K children at CA.
Q: Can you describe your philosophy or approach to early childhood education?
My philosophy of Early Childhood Education is that the early years are such a critical time in young children’s development that we shouldn’t waste a minute of it. I agree with those who say children are like sponges soaking up everything around them. I believe that young children need hands-on learning. They need to explore and discover, while building cognitive, language, and academic skills.
Q: What do you find most interesting about teaching the Pre-K age group?
The most satisfying thing for me about teaching Pre-K is watching the children’s growth from when we first meet, to the end of the year. I like seeing the “wheels turning” as they learn new things. They come to school with their eyes wide open ready to go. Besides that, little kids are very funny!
Q: It seems that everyday, the media reports on something new in brain research and how children learn. How does this impact your work?
Early childhood education and how much we are learning about the human brain in young children is in the limelight. Researchers have done so much work on brain development, and we now know that there are critical stages of development in building “connections in the brain.” We have learned that the synapses have to be activated frequently to become stable, or they are eliminated in a process called “pruning.” As early childhood teachers, we provide experiences and language development to help young children in their development. This new research confirms what teachers have intuitively known for a long time, and that is that we can’t waste a moment when it comes to providing enrichment and education to very young children. It makes this a very exciting time to be a teacher!
Q: Parenting young children is a difficult task. Do you have any “take-away” tips for parents?
If I had to give three pieces of advice to parents of young children it would be:
- Talk to your children every day and ask them open-ended questions like, “what would you do if…” or “why do you think…”
- Read to them every day.
- Share some great experiences. What’s a great experience for a young child? It’s as fun and as simple as building a “fort” in the living room with blankets and pillows!
Q: What are the key ingredients for a quality and successful Pre-K program?
A successful early childhood program has the confluence of critical pieces coming together at the right time: We need highly qualified and motivated teachers who can provide a curriculum that is rich and challenging, while being developmentally appropriate. We need an environment that is child-centered indoors and out for growing and learning. Most importantly, we need the support of our families as partners in their child’s education.
Pre-K is often a child’s first experience in school all day. Being a child’s “second teacher” after their first and most important teacher, their parent, is a privilege and a responsibility I take seriously. My job is to help the children learn to be a part of their school community, to help build their self-concept and self-esteem, develop social skills, encourage their love of learning, and help develop their gifts and potential. I’d love to meet you, so please stop by and introduce yourself.