Monica joined the Big and Tiny in Summer 2020 but it feels she’s been in the family forever! She looks after the pre-school group at our Santa Monica location. Read on to learn more about Monica!
Describe yourself in two sentences.
I think I would describe myself as gregarious, hard-working, and passionate. I take pride in my ability to cultivate and nurture my personal and professional relationships, and I always try to put my best efforts toward taking care of the people and things that are important to me.
What brings you the most joy about working with children?
What a difficult question! There are so many beautiful and exciting aspects about working with little ones. I would have to say that the one thing that brings me the greatest pleasure is having the opportunity to witness a child develop any kind of new understanding. This could be anything from grasping a challenging educational concept, acquiring new social/interpersonal skills, or even accomplishing the seemingly simple task of learning how to tie their own shoes. In a child’s eyes, every new accomplishment, big or small, means the world to them. They are in a state of constant learning and development, and it is an absolute joy for me to witness it.
What is the biggest challenge about working with children?
While working with children is (in my opinion) the best opportunity one could receive, it certainly has its challenges. One of the most heartbreaking things to witness is when a child internalizes a mistake or perceived failure as a personal shortcoming. When they begin to believe that because they can’t accomplish something that is seemingly easy for others to accomplish, or if a classmate tells them that they don’t want to be their friend anymore, it can feel like the end of the whole world to them. So, my fellow educators and I always do our best to help them understand that no matter what, they are wonderful, capable human beings that are cherished and loved without a doubt.
Describe your day at Big and Tiny?
Each day is always so different from the last, so it’s always a constant surprise! Typically, my day will begin with me greeting my wonderful coworkers. We always make sure to check in and see how everyone is feeling. Next, I begin to prepare for the day by getting materials ready for class. Afterwards, I get to greet my little ones and their families, which is my favorite part of the day! They are (usually) so excited and happy to see everyone and tell us what’s on their minds. Next, we begin our day with circle time, which consists of songs, books, games, and/or movement activities based on our theme of the week. Later, we enjoy a snack and some free play before we move onto literacy or math. Afterwards, we do some cool and totally messy sensory activities before lunch. To be honest, the mess is half of the fun. Later on, we do some art, games, and reading. Lastly, we end our day in Tinyland playing silly games, listening to music, making art, or doing whatever crazy fun we decide to get into that day!
What is your favorite activity to do? And what’s your favorite song?
My absolute favorite activity that I’ve done with my kids so far would have to be our gratitude tree. Before Thanksgiving break, we sat around our “tree” in Tinyland and took turns telling the class about one person or thing that we were grateful for. We would then write down what they shared on a leaf and the children would tape their leaves onto our tree. It was such a pleasure listening to the little ones really get the chance reflect and share what they value the most. Other times it was just plain funny to watch them soul-search until they finally decided that they were most grateful for roller coasters or something silly! We added to our gratitude tree every day since the beginning of November, and it was such a joy to watch our tree grow with each passing day.
What’s your life motto?
I’m not sure I would say that I have a life motto, but one quote that I hold dear to my heart is:
“The two most important days of our lives are the day we were born and the day we find out why.” – Mark Twain
I am fortunate enough to have discovered my purpose in life. I know in my heart that I am supposed to work with children in some capacity for the rest of my life. It brings me the utmost pride, joy, and a great sense of accomplishment to be able to do so.