“I wanted to make a difference in young children’s lives,” said Jodi Halverson, lead teacher at the UW-Platteville Children’s Center. “I love that every day is different.”
Halverson teaches 4- and 5-year-olds in the Orange Room. Her favorite part is, “Getting to see their excitement when they learn something new you taught them,” she said. As an alumna of UW-Platteville, she’s proud to use her education and experience to help shape the minds of her students.
You are a 2010 alumna of UW-Platteville earning a degree in elementary education. Why did you want to work at your alma mater?
I live in Platteville and wanted to work close to home. There was a position open; I had the opportunity to work at the Children’s Center during college as a teacher assistant and enjoyed the atmosphere and the education children were receiving. I wanted to be a part of it.
You are the lead teacher in the Orange Room. What are the challenges and rewards of teaching such young children?
There are so many rewards working with kiddos this age. They are happy and excited to be at school. I get to be one of their first experiences with school and help them to develop the love of learning. They almost always have a hug and smile to share with you.
While there are all those great things, they can also be challenging at times. They are always full of energy and some days would prefer to do things on their own agenda. Emotions can be challenging for them to deal with appropriately which can also lead to problems in the classroom.
Along with teaching 4K you also work with UW-Platteville students. Why is it important for students to have classroom opportunities as they embark on their own career in education?
Classroom experience is so important for future educators. Learning in a classroom the techniques and strategies is one thing, but actually implementing those things into a lesson with real children is a whole different ball game. You have to figure out how to manage them and what to do when things do not go according to plan. Figuring out how to deal with kids that work at different paces and what to do with them when they are finished with the work you have planned. Classroom experience is one of the most valuable things we can give future teachers.
Children in the Orange Room learn through a play-based curriculum which focuses on early literacy skills. Why is it important for children to learn these skills through hands-on activities?
Play is their way of learning at this age. They are figuring out how to interact socially with one another. Adding the literacy piece makes it easier for them to understand and comprehend in the ways that make the most sense for them. It allows them to take that piece and make it their own.
What are your interests outside of campus?
I love to spend time with family and friends. My husband and I have two children, ages 16 and 18 months. We love to be outside as much as possible when the weather is nice. We love to travel as much as possible as well. Reading is one of my favorite things to do when time allows. We also spend a lot of time watching our oldest participate in sporting events.
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