Prekindergarten...the Right Beginning

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Dolores Mendoza

Thirty –nine years ago I started as a parent educator at the Debbie School working with children, birth – age five, and their families. I never imagined that this day, my retirement, would come but what journey it has been! Over the years, I have met so many wonderful and exceptional children, families, teachers, paraprofessionals, community members, and other professionals that have truly inspired me each every day. It is meeting each of these persons that has shaped and molded me into who I am today.

The first and most important are the children, who despite all the odds against them, have grown and flourished. The look of joy on the face of young children at discovery and learning cannot be matched in any other field. The children are truly like the butterflies in the butterfly gardens we have planted – from chrysalis to caterpillar to butterfly. I have been lucky enough to see these transformations. We as teachers must never lose sight that parents have entrusted to us their most valued possessions – their children. It is the children that keep us young and on our toes. They are the ones that keep us laughing. You cannot take everything so seriously – you have to LAUGH.

The parents and families I have worked with over the years have been the foundation and bedrock for the children in our classrooms. We have cried and laughed together. It is because of parents and families demanding services for their children that special education was created. It was not because of teachers, professionals, or legislators. I think that helping parents and families learn how to work with their child is the greatest gift we can give them. These will be the roots we give our children, the wings will follow. I have never met a parent who did not want the best for their child. We may have disagreed on how to achieve this outcome but we both wanted the same goal – happy and productive children.

I have always felt I was a teacher first and last. The words of Henry Adams , “a teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops “ holds a truth that only now do I realize its importance. No matter what anyone says, we do great things, we make a difference in the lives of children and families, we make a difference in the future. Sing and dance with your children even if you sing out of tune and have no rhythm whatsoever. Take time for yourself –relax, go to happy hour (even if you only drink lemonade), have a spa day, dance, sing, go to the movies, read, enjoy times with friends and families.

Enjoy the words of Maya Angelou as you all continue on your life’s journey at home, work, and play.

I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life goes on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
                                                    -Maya Angelou

As the Pre-K Program has been a part of my life for 36 years, I don’t want to say goodbye but instead until we meet again. I will probably join the world of Facebook as one of the few last holdouts. “Keep your eyes on the future, your mind in the present, and stay in touch with past” from Teachers Make the Difference.

Love and Best wishes to all.

Dolores Mendoza







Tip of the Week
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What's New?

Don't forget that all Emails to teachers from the Pre-K SPED office and pertinent Weekly Briefings are posted on the Emails and Weekly Briefings page.

Jennifer Hawkes from Kelsey Pharr shared a website with activities for things that go. The link can be found in the Idea Gallery.

Various staff members throught the district were recognized as Teacher and Paraprofessional of the Year. A list of honorees and photographs can be found in the Photo Gallery.

Pre-K Staff celebrated the Holidays by wrapping gifts and presenting them to needy Pre-K families. Pictures can be found in the Photo Gallery.

Mirta Veiga from Banyan Elementary has shared some pictures of her students using behavior strategies such as Self-Regulation and Helping Buddies. These can be found on the Conscious Discipline page.

The Pre-K department celebrated with Teree Gomez at her retirement breakfast and afternoon gathering honoring her years of service to the Pre-K program. Photographs of the day's festivities can be found in the Photo Gallery.

Pre-K classrooms across the district participated in this year's Read for the Record with Otis. Thanks to Mrs. Reyes and Mrs. Juarez from Florida City Elementary, Mrs. Innis from North Twin Lakes Elementary, and Ms. Amardo from Silver Bluff Elementary for sharing photos and ideas that are located in the Idea Gallery

A new assessment summary chart is available for the DECA -P2 in the Teacher Handbook Appendix U2

Cynthia Wheeler from Arcola has shared a word version of the COR Advantage Desktop Poster for scoring anecdotal notes. It is posted in the Teacher Handbook Appendix H

Javonie Wilcox from Orchard Villa shared a science lab on the five senses that can be found in the Idea gallery

The PD Calendar 2013-2014 is posted in the Teacher Handbook, Appendix G.




Prekindergarten Program for Children with Disabilities | Miami-Dade County Public Schools
5555 SW 93 Avenue, Miami, FL 33165 | Phone: 305-271-5701 | Fax: 305-598-5253