Professional Development

Mike & Sarah Peakin

Parents of Two Children

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Mike and Sarah Peakin moved to the Quad Cities when Mike accepted a position at Pleasant Valley High School as the Dean of Students. Sarah also works in education as secretary to the Principal of Bettendorf High School. Both are graduates of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa and believe strongly in early education.

 

Video Interview

 

Interview Q&A

How did you decide to send your children to a daycare center?

When our first daughter was born, we sent her to an accredited home daycare where all the teachers sent their kids. It was great because everyone knew each other. We wanted to find a similar situation—small and personal, but many of the programs were full. Fortunately, we found a wonderful center, and both our girls have flourished. In a larger center they are separated most of the day in different rooms, and it works well because they're actually excited to see each other at the end of the day.

 

What do you consider the biggest benefits of sending your children to a professional center?

Our girls are exposed to kids of all backgrounds in terms of race, religion, ethnicity and socio-economic factors, and we think this diversity has made them more empathetic. They understand that not all kids are the same, and there are a variety of abilities, including some kids challenged by handicaps. Although they may not choose every child as a friend, the girls have learned to have a level of respect for everyone. Learning to adapt socially is an important skill in this day and age. And overall, we think it's a very caring environment.

 

Why is quality early childcare and education so essential for a child's future?

So much is learned in the first six years—when kids are excited and proud to meet new challenges. It is important for kids to develop the routines and foundation that creates the basis of their education. We feel very lucky to have a center that creates such a positive learning environment that holds many of the same values that we believe so strongly in as parents.

 

What are traits or skills you think are important for someone teaching young children?

We would put a caring attitude at the top of the list because it gives parents peace of mind to leave their child with someone who truly cares about them. Individuals who work in the field also need a great deal of patience and energy to deal with children effectively and to repeat things as often as needed. Finally, creativity is a wonderful trait because when what you planned isn't working, a teacher needs to redirect and try something different. The best teachers are drawn to the profession because it's a calling. Although the hours are long, teachers can make a huge impact on kids at an early age. They're superheroes to kids!

 

How do you work with your caregiver/teacher to make sure you're maximizing your child's experience?

The communication must happen both ways. Usually we talk about the day when we pick up or drop off the girls. We can tell the teacher that a child didn't sleep the night before or we've had a behavior problem. It's important to discuss expectations and be consistent both at home and at the center.

 

As your children grow older, how does your philosophy of education grow and change?

We will look for a good balance between appropriate academic and social experiences. Our expectations will increase, so we want our girls to have a good work ethic and work to the best of their abilities while continuing to be challenged and engaged in their education.