Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center
Pre-k special education Teacher for life skills classroom and autism classroom.
Number of Years Teaching:
Different Grades that you have taught:
Pre-k regular education, blended, and special education
How did you know that you wanted to teach early learners:
I learned that I wanted to teach/lead early learners when working with young children, as a teenager, at church and through a child development class and lab school expereience in high school. I enjoyed helping children learn new concepts and problem solve. Interacting with young children always felt natural.
What are a few “non-negotiables” of your early learning classroom (kinda your educational philosophy)?:
I always try to have empathy and understanding for students and families. I believe it is essential to have an open communication and positive relationship with families. Also, I believe child-interest is key, and enjoy discovering each child’s preferences and using this knowledge to design learning activities for them. Finally, having a great teaching team, and respecting each other is also crucial to helping our young students.
What is something that you want us to know about you as a teacher of young children?:
I have transitioned in my career from teaching regular education to special education and now working with children with specific needs in the area of autism and other developmental disabilities and delays. Throughout this journey, over the years, my personal experiences blended with my experiences in the classroom have developed into a passion for working with children with special needs and their families. This compels me to constantly learn and search for new teaching methods and strategies for reaching my students and supporting their families. My students and families are amazing. I am so lucky to absolutely love what I do every day!
Anything else you would like your viewers to know?:
As a teacher of children with special needs, I think it is important to understand that their families are going through something profound. Furthermore, when working with very young children, the families' journey is just beginning, so the news of their child's disability is fresh and new, and they are very much still learning and figuring out what their child needs and how to help them as well as dealing with their own feelings about what is happening. Most parents want, above all else, to have an emotional connection and communication with their child. Many of my students are non-verbal. For a child to not be able to communicate wants and needs must be very frustrating and equally so for parents and teachers struggling to meet their needs. I have found that developing systems for communication in the classroom and sharing them with families, giving them resources to use at home is essential, as well as opening doors, with students, to learn how to have social/reciprocal interactions and relationships.