Getting to Know… is part of our new Teacher and Staff Spotlight series. Each week we will shine the spotlight one of our classroom teachers, allowing them to share some of their stories, their interests and their favorites with us. We hope our teacher spotlights will help our Morning Star parents and families further engage with our teachers, as well as give them a more personal idea of who is teaching and caring for their children during their days with us. This week we are getting to know Ms. Marilyn!
For the last 13 years, Ms. Marilyn has been teaching and nurturing our littlest students as well leading by strong example what it really means to be a teacher and a caregiver. As the Infant Program Coordinator for all children age birth through 20 months, Ms. Marilyn creates weekly lesson plans that meet the Nebraska department of education early learning guidelines.
She understands the importance of brain growth during these important formative first months of a baby’s life and is an active champion for baby sign language, inspiring her team of nine teachers to give all of our babies 110%. Around here, she is known as the baby whisperer, guiding parents through Getting to Know You meetings and the important (and often difficult for parents) transition from mama’s arms to caregiver.
She was one of the first certified, state of Nebraska Safe with You instructors, a 6-hour mandatory state regulation class that is required by all licensed child care centers. And this year, Marilyn has also taken on the important role of staffing, making sure everyday there are consistent and caring teachers placed in our classrooms. This means, Marilyn has added excel to her list of accomplishments!
What would we do without her?!
Ms. Marilyn, proud to call herself an “air force brat”, spent her early childhood moving to a new city or town about every 18 months. When she was in 7th grade, her and her family settled in Carroll, IA for good. As a young girl, Marilyn looked forward to “Sunday Night Wrestling” when she’d grapple with her dad and her brothers. She dreamed of being a teacher or an administrative assistant/secretary and later went on to receive her AA in Early Childhood Education from Des Moines Community College (DMACC)
Having been with Morning Star for so long, it’s hard for Ms. Marilyn to pick just one or two memories to call her favorite. We can’t blame her, she must have hundreds she’d like to share! When asked why she chose to teach, the answer was simple: “It is what I am!” And when asked what it is about Morning Star that’s kept her around so long, her answer is familiar but one we never tire of and can’t stress enough. “Sounds cliche but the families are great to interact with; they’re alway so supportive.”
Her advice for our students and her life motto go hand in hand. She urges our children to be how they are while living by a simple and sound motto: I am who I am, don’t try to change me. And though she’s been teaching here for 13 years, she too has learned a couple lessons along the way. A good general lesson she’s learned is that just because someone does something differently, doesn’t mean they’re doing something wrong. The more personal lesson she learned made us chuckle. “Never thought I was a ‘baby person’ until I started at Morning Star and discovered I was!”
If she could be anything, Ms. Marilyn says she would be organized, “like I used to be…I lost that when my kids moved out.” In her free time outside of work, you can find Marilyn spending time with her grandkids, trying new crafts and failing at knitting and crocheting.
We are incredibly lucky and so happy to truly call Ms. Marilyn family.