An Interview with Student Teacher Lauren Stuart at Williamsburg Campus Child Care
M: Michelle, interviewer
M: Can you tell me about what you do at the Williamsburg Child Care Center?
L: I interact with the kids and play with them. Depending on the age groups, some are more self-sufficient than others, so I have to change the diapers, feed, and clean the little kids; we have to do all the messy stuff! With the Pre-K kids, it’s more teaching them their colors and numbers, as well as everyday tasks like writing their names. Currently, we are finding that some of the older kids don’t like to flush! We don’t know why: none of them will flush, so we are helping them with that task. We do arts and crafts with them and take them on walks. I know a lot of the campus is familiar with seeing the little kids on ropes. We accompany them and help the teachers with whatever they need help with.
M: What is your favorite part about working with these children?
L: I like seeing how they change, especially the toddlers. Each week they’re different. One week you’ll have a kid that’s not walking, and he comes in after a weekend, and he’s walking! Like, what, when did this happen? Or, when I came back after winter break, there was this boy who was always causing trouble and would not talk, but after the break he had started using his words and wasn’t fighting as much.
M: I thought when you said change, you meant over the years!
L: Yeah, they do that too, but they change super-fast at this age. Developmentally, they take everything in, which has made me more aware that they’re absorbing everything you say when you’re interacting with them. They notice a lot more than you realize.
M: Do you have a really fond memory with the children?
L: Well, it’s always nice to see when you can comfort the kids when they get upset. Yesterday I was working at the daycare and we went for a walk on campus. We were crossing the street and a big truck pulled up, and one of the little boys dropped the walking rope and started crying. He loves trucks but just being close upset him so much. So I picked him up, and told him that it was okay, and finished walking across the street. All day, for the rest of the day, he would say “sit, sit, sit” wherever I was. It was nice, even though they can’t communicate as well, you could tell he appreciated it. Just the simple things.
M: Do you think working at the child care center influenced you and your outlook on different things?
L: Definitely. I never really knew much about daycares, because I wasn’t put in a daycare when I was little. Not all families are able to stay at home with their kids. It’s really amazing to see how great daycares can be for the kids. I realize the socialization is really important for them. I knew I wanted to work with kids but now I know I really want to work with the younger kids in particular, just because I like to see how they change so much and so fast.
M: So are you studying developmental psychology?
L: Yeah, so I’m a Psychology major but I eventually want to get a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to work with children, especially those with learning disabilities or emotional disabilities and helping them work through it. Children are so pliable at this age that if they have a problem or an issue that needs to be addressed, the earlier it can be addressed the more you can help them cope with it. There are some kids that I have worked with in the past that have some autistic tendencies, and get frustrated and their peers reject them. I teach them that if someone is acting a certain way, maybe don’t go talk to them right now, maybe take a moment. And then I help their peers by telling them that, “Oh, he’s just trying to give you a hug, not trying to push you over.” You see how that can change the way they view life, get happier, and interact with others better. Everybody has issues that they’re dealing with, and if you can help them earlier, then it just makes life easier for parents and kids.
M: What drew you to be interested in this?
L: I’ve always liked children! My brother is one year younger, but my mom jokes that I was more of a mom to him than she was. I would tell her “this is what he wants, that is what he wants” and apparently I was never wrong, I always knew what he wanted. I started babysitting when I was 12, then babysat all through middle school and high school. Here, it wasn’t until junior year that I actually found out about the daycare: I didn’t know they existed! I started working over the summer and it was a great experience. It has put all of the different elements I like about working with children together.
Updated April 30, 2018