Bethany J. Royer
PIQUA — Heather Lewis, a preschool teacher at the Center for Early Learning at the South Downing Street Piqua Catholic School campus, had a near-dozen three-, four- , and five-year olds show off their counting abilities last week. The morning group counted from 1 to 22 in response to days on the calendar as time neared for a very special outdoor activity in conjunction with Earth Day.
Lewis, a Troy High School graduate who earned her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education at Urbana University and is nearing completion of her Masters of Literacy from the University of Dayton, has been teaching for a number of years in a variety of locations. However, this is her first year at the Center for Early Learning, given they opened doors just last fall, and states the experience has been, “wonderful.”
“It’s really low numbers this year, teacher to student, which is really nice,” said Lewis of the ratio of students to teachers in the classroom, as she sees morning and/or afternoon groups throughout the week under three different sessions. “The kids are great and I like the community.”
For Lewis, her desire to teach began from personal experience, drawn to preschool and kindergarten classes after volunteering for her daughter’s preschool; however, she stated, “I think I always knew I wanted to be a teacher.” She noted that she got a late start, as she married first (19 years in July) and had children — with one child currently in high school and another in college — before returning to school to follow her dream.
Before the Center for Early Learning Center here in Piqua, an extension of the Piqua Catholic School system, Lewis taught at Mini University at Wright State University in Dayton and prior to that worked for Head Start. She also taught preschool at Miami East and was a reading intervention teacher.
“I kind of fell into that. I like the young age and I love teaching them how to read,” said Lewis, hence the impending master’s degree in literacy and the eventual transition to teaching kindergarten next year. In fact, kindergarten registration is currently going on for the 503 W. North St. campus. (For more information see below.)
As they finished with their numbers, Lewis directed her students to put on their jackets from a line of neutral green-colored lockers — a perfect representation of the mild spring day waiting for them.
“Today is a special day,” said Lewis. “It’s Earth Day and we are going to take care of the Earth. To take care of the Earth, what do you think we can do?”
Some of the responses included planting, but on that unique morning, Lewis handed each student a small bag with a declaration they were going to pick up any litter they may see on their playground so as to help the planet.
Later, the students and teacher came together to read an Earth Day story.
For more information on kindergarten registration at the Center for Early Learning call 773-3876 or visit www.thecenterforearlylearning.org
Bethany J. Royer may be reached at (937) 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall