Professional Development

Tammy Trice

Childcare Coordinator

LaToya Trice

Curriculum Specialist

Photo Strip

When Tammy Trice entered the early childhood profession, she had no idea it would become a lifelong calling and a passion that her daughter, LaToya, would also inherit. Her job training began in a Head Start classroom, and it inspired her to obtain her CDA certification and an Associate Degree in Child Development from Scott Community College. After teaching for 13 years, she now directs the program for the Shining Light Learning Center and coordinates childcare services for Skip-A-Long Daycare. In addition, she is continuing her education at Western Illinois University, working on her Bachelor of Arts in General Studies.

LaToya Trice recognized at an early age that her mother was a devoted teacher, well-loved and respected by the families of the children she taught. She enjoyed her early classroom experiences at Head Start and earned money babysitting as she grew older. Initially, she worked as a Surgical Technician, after graduating from Trinity School of Nursing and Sciences. She also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in psychology from St. Ambrose University. However, the early childhood profession tugged at her heart, and she pursued teaching at Skip-A-Long where she worked as a Preschool Teacher/ Lead Teacher within the center. The Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children awarded her the Children's Champion Award for her extraordinary dedication to kids and their families. She recently joined the staff at JB Young Intermediate School as a Crisis Interventionist, focusing on better ways to handle kids with difficult issues.


Video Interview


Interview Q&A

What do you love about working in the child care field? What do you find challenging?

Tammy: I love working with children. When they're young, they're like sponges and so eager to learn. I want them to have the best support system possible and that means empowering their parents too. I want to do everything I can to help them be their child's first teacher. My greatest challenge is to accept the fact that I can't help every child.

LaToya: When I was teaching the little ones, I wanted to be there for them full-time. I enjoyed seeing them grow individually, and I tried to attend their birthday parties and soccer games. I loved being part of their family. My challenge came when the majority of children went off to kindergarten and I received a new classroom full of young three year olds.


LaToya has cited her mother as the reason she decided to teach. Tammy, how has your daughter inspired you?

Tammy: Toya is a natural born teacher. She has a true gift, and I'm always amazed at how she's able to transform a child's slightest interest into a teachable moment. Her children truly love her, and I appreciate how her ability just flows out of her. She's been living, sleeping and breathing early childhood, and although she's transitioning to older children, I think she's developed the skills to work well with any age group.


How do you stay current with all the new information and research in the field?

Tammy: Education has been the key for me. When LaToya and her sister were a bit older, I headed back to school. I was apprehensive about the new curriculum and how it focused on kids learning through play, but I took hold of that philosophy and learned as much as I could. There are many opportunities to learn more about brain research, social emotional development, as well as all of the new quality initiatives. I take classes, attend trainings and workshops that help me stay abreast of the new information in this field.

LaToya: Education has always been mandatory in our house. I took pride in obtaining a degree, but right now I still find the classroom the place where I learned the most.


What are your teaching philosophies?

We agree wholeheartedly that each child has his or her own learning style, and it's up to the teacher to find the proper tool to reach that child. Regardless of level, all children are capable of learning, and a good teacher will find experiences that will help them grow socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually.


What trait do you feel is the most important
for working with children and their parents?

Tammy: You can't make a difference if you don't have a genuine love and concern for your kids and their families. And that training is not in any book! If you're not there with the best intentions for the child or if you're a teacher who just collects a paycheck, then it's not the place for you.

LaToya: My favorite quote is "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." I think that says it all.


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

We have volunteered at the high school level, and it's obvious that the at-risk kids didn't get a basic foundation. Sadly, we see the results in middle school, high school and adulthood. When the love of learning isn't instilled at an early age, these kids fall behind.


If you were going to encourage someone to choose this field, what would you say?

If someone wants to make a real difference in the life of a child and family, early childhood is the way to go. It's the foundation for lifelong learning, and your impact will be felt forever.