Educator Spotlight: Patty Thompson
Our Educator Spotlight features some of the most amazing educators in our community. Throughout this series you will have an opportunity to learn a little more about our readers, as well as explore unique preschool programs across the U.S and in other countries.
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How long have you been a provider and why did you become one?
Working with preschoolers has been a part of my life and have worked with preschoolers for 44 years. I worked in the church children’s department as an aid when I was eleven and began teaching when I was fifteen in VBS. I took on the preschool class full-time after VBS, and then became the church’s preschool director when I was 18. From there, I served in various churches as we would transfer and move.
I homeschooled my own three children for ten years and then was faced with a divorce that led to needing a full-time job that would be able to pay a living wage. So, in all honesty, money was the first reason I chose to be a provider. The income potential would pay more than a regular desk job once the daycare stabilized. My undergrad is in Business/Marketing, and the business plan offered me the ability to stay home and be available to my own growing kids while I worked with daycare kiddos and earned a wage to support me and my family.
As The Pumpkin Patch Montessori Preschool stabilized, it became less of a lifeboat for me, and more of a passion. I wanted to know more and be a better teacher, so, I went back to school and earned a M.Ed. and then earned a Montessori teaching certification from NAMC. I’m ten years into this journey, and it has been the best adventure of my life! I love the Patch kiddos, their families, and all the ways those little treasures help me be a better teacher and person! I love this profession and am so blessed and fortunate to be able to work with such amazing families and children!
What is the philosophy of your childcare program?
My preschool philosophy is pretty simple. I believe children are very capable and want to be heard and in control of what they learn and how deep their explorations will take them. In my class, there are no silly questions and there is no limit to what we can explore. I also believe that children need to struggle to learn and we should let them struggle. When we are asked to help, we should help, but we should remain out of their way as they learn what works and what doesn’t.
The main focus of my program is the gift of time. We are not in any hurry. They are gifted time and permission to journey through their day as they need. Some days they skip from one thing to another, and some days, they enjoy relaxing in a comfy space with quiet books and art supplies and puzzles. Today’s kids are rushed here and there way too much, and I intend my home to be their space to adjust their activities as they wish.
What is your favorite thing about being a childcare provider?
My favorite part of being a child care provider/teacher is the children! They rock my world and trip my trigger daily. I just can’t get enough of how they view the world and how simple their joys are and how freely the love on me and each other. I also love nap time. Nap time helps me slurp another cup of coffee and relax and refuel so when they wake up, I’m ready to rock and roll with them.
What makes your program unique?
The Patch is unique because it is art and science based, and it is constructed around the Montessori philosophy. I make no apologies that budget funds go to learning tools that they thrive with and learn from and ask for, and not for dolls and trucks and dress-up clothes. We have these tools, and they are important in our program, but, they are also put aside willingly over the choice to learn how things work and what amazing discoveries we can find around the world in our theme unit adventures.
What advice would you give a new provider?
My advice to new providers is to know who you are as a person and then as a teacher. This profession is hard. The hours are long, the licensing standards are demanding, the children are developing and need patience and love, their parents need your love and encouragement, and the business aspects just never stop. If these basics don’t hinder your desire to work with kids, and you have a passion to work alongside young kiddos and their parents, then saddle up and make being a provider and running a quality program your best adventure ever! I would also encourage all providers to link up with fellow providers and groups to gain encouragement, information, and share ideas. There is nothing sweeter than being a part of a like-minded community.
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A big thank you..
I want to extend a big thank you to Patty Thompson for sharing with our readers! Be sure to swing by her blog The Pumpkin Patch Montessori Preschool for some inspiration!
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