Building a relationship
When Lia Kukuk was 4, she was shy and would cling to one person, making transitions difficult. She could also be controlling and reacted impulsively with frequent, epic meltdowns.
“She could have flipped the room upside down in minutes if she wanted to,” Tammy says.
It was a challenging first year.
Slowly, Tammy built up trust with Lia.
She was there every morning to greet Lia, and together, they worked to set her up for success.
“Tammy was the perfect teacher for Lia,” says Lia’s mom, Emily Brown.
At JCC, teachers use a looping process in early childhood education. That means kids have consistent teachers who move with them from one classroom to the next. When Lia moved up to Tammy’s classroom, she had another teacher move with her to make the transition easier.
That consistency is key.
Decades of brain science show that the first experiences that children have with well-supported, competent adults shapes everything that comes after, says an official with the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning. (Our York Media)
“The longer a teacher can stay in the classroom with a child, the better off they will be to build that important relationship,” Suzann says.
Most of the teachers at the York JCC have been there for years. Low turnover builds trust and helps students feel safe and secure, Tammy says. They know the teacher they have this week will be the same teacher they’ll have next week.
That relationship isn’t just important for the kids; it also important for the parents.
Tammy keeps parents informed every step of the way and was able to direct Emily to resources that could help her daughter.
The early childhood education teachers at the York JCC keep up to date on what services are available for students and their families. They also continually educate themselves with trainings, maintaining accreditations and high-quality credentials.
“They’re a recognized, demonstrated, high-quality program that has a remarkable reputation,” Suzann says.