Child development class creates connection


Photo courtesy of Spengler.

Savannah Spengler, Staff Writer

This previously ran in our December 2022 print issue.

Walking into my Child Development 2 class, I have to admit, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. 

I honestly had taken this course because I wasn’t sure what other electives to take, and Mrs. Day, the child development teacher, had encouraged me to. 

In the past, I had wanted to become a kindergarten teacher, but those plans have changed over the course of the past year when I decided I wanted to become a therapist instead. 

Boy, I had no idea how much my mind would change after that experience. 

The realization didn’t actually hit me until the last day of class. It was a short class, so the end of the marking period also indicated the end of the year in preschool. 

I knew that I would be emotionally attached to the kids; that’s what happens to me when I’m around kids, especially at the ages of three through five. But I didn’t think I would grow this attached. 

The day started off just as a normal day at preschool would. We played with the kids for a while, then taught them. 

This came in the form of storytime with a planned activity, a craft and snack, or circle time – nothing felt quite as normal that day. 

While we were sitting at circle time, a girl in the 3-year-old class, Harper, began leaning up against me, resting her head on me. She had played with me previously in small amounts, but she’d never been affectionate with me. 

It felt good to have a child that I knew felt safe and happy with me. 

This is partially when I began to realize how much I wanted to work with children in the future again. How amazing is it to see that people are able to make children feel safe and comfortable through their words and actions? 

To me, it is just astonishing to see, and even more so when you are the person that they feel this way around. 

Harper stayed beside me for the rest of the day. Outside, she would play with me and sit on my lap when we went into the playhouse. 

I would just look at her, and look out the window, at all of these kids, and realize what a blessing it was to have some sort of impact in their lives. They had grown to be comfortable and happy here, and that process was such a special thing for me to be able to see. 

When the bell rang, I knew I wasn’t emotionally prepared to leave the kids. Harper was leaning on me, smiling at me. How could I ask for anything more? I knew I had to leave, but I didn’t want to leave her. 

The rest of the high schoolers in Child Development 2 and 3 came to say goodbye to the kids. Harper just stuck to me, looking at me with confused, sad eyes – barely looking at anyone else in the playhouse. 

“Harper, this is your last day of preschool!” I said, trying to stay happy for her sake.“The big kids have to leave. We’re not gonna see you again.” 

She leaned in closer to me and I almost broke into tears, those same sad eyes glaring up at me. 

Eventually, I walked with her to Mrs. Day, and she was safe with the other teenagers in the next Child Development 2 and 3 classes. 

I knew she was safe, but it didn’t make it any easier to walk away from her. 

Having this emotional attachment to children definitely opened my eyes: I want children involved in my future in some sort of way. 

To know I was this happy to make an impact on them, that the kids felt safe with me made all of the learning and bumps in the road worth it. 

That’s what’s important to me, seeing their smiles and comfortability day after day. 

And those are the types of people that should work with children, right? 

Because every teacher, every profession that works with kids, you have to love the kids first. And trust me, this class showed me that I definitely do.