Making the grade |

Making the grade

Summit Daily/Reid Williams Dawn Truesdell, Summit County Preschool teacher

Dawn Truesdell works with 2-year-olds at Summit County Pre-school. She has been in the early childhood field for four years.Inspiration: I love children, and I love to watch them learn and discover new things. Early childhood is such an important time in a child’s life. Every time I see a child learn something new, that becomes my favorite teaching moment. So working with “twos,” I have so many favorite teaching moments every day.Motivation: Seeing how much the children grow and change every day is a huge motivator for me. I don’t want to miss a day. They might reach some new developmental milestone when I’m gone, and I don’t want to miss that.

Twos are a fascinating age group to work with. At 24 months, they are awkward, clumsy toddlers, speaking just a couple words at a time, trying to be independent but not sure how.By 36 months, they are functional, amusing little people with friendships, likes, dislikes and distinct personalities.In between, they are like sponges, soaking up information and learning from anything they are given, taking every opportunity to push the limits and find out what this world is all about.Philosophy: I believe children need to be given the opportunity to be children. Preschoolers don’t learn by sitting at a desk and being talked at. Young children learn from everything around them by playing, pretending, experimenting and moving.

Modern challenges: The most difficult thing about teaching today is not knowing anything about tomorrow. It is difficult to prepare children for a world that has so many variables.Role models: My director, Kristin Radloff, is definitely a role model. She has bad days just like the rest of us, but she is always there with a smile and a hug when the kids need it. She has really taught me how to leave the personal stuff aside and focus on doing what’s right for the children.My boyfriend’s mom, Anna Timm, a first-grade teacher, always reminds me of what I love about working with young children. She is very enthusiastic and positive about teaching and life in general, and she spreads that love around.

If I had $100,000: I would use it to improve our playground space: buy new outdoor equipment and create a large family garden area for the entire school to enjoy. I would also spend some of the money on training programs for new teachers.Extracurricular: I love to hike, backpack, rock climb, snowshoe and be outside running around with my dog.My students would be surprised to know: I used to own a 1972 VW bus, which I drove all over the West Coast and considered my home for about two years.- Julie Sutor

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