March 2022 Student Spotlight – Kierst Doolittle

Initially, I went to school for communications.  After a couple of internships, I realized that while I enjoyed the field, I wanted to try something else.  A relative thought I would be a great teacher so I gave it a shot.  After a few months, I was sure that I wanted to stick with teaching.  My co-teacher was a fabulous mentor and encouraged me to try ChildCare Education Institute so I completed CCEI’s Early Childhood Credential.

I think that the children themselves as well as my education motivates me to work with children.  I love gaining knowledge from my classes and seeing it first hand in being applied the classroom.  I think that my personal strengths are well suited for teaching and being able to be hands on, creative, and problem solve on behalf of children who are struggling.  Helping children make leaps in their development is very rewarding.  I am fortunate because I get to work in a toddler class, young three-year-old class, and the mixed age after school program.  Getting to watch the children grow and to continue to have a connection throughout their entire preschool experience is special.  I am motivated to make sure they are ready for their next class and see them have the competencies to be fully engaged in the pre-K classes.

One of my favorite things about working with young children is watching them meet new milestones.  It is so exciting to see a child come in and begin to master a new competency that they didn’t have the week before.  I also love their enthusiasm and hearing what they have to say.  Hearing life from their perspective is so fascinating.  It is neat to see what concepts they are able to grasp and how their understanding changes throughout the year.

My favorite time of the day to spend with the children is after school at “Stay and Play.”  “Stay and Play” is the after school program for children 2.9 years-old and up.  This is a less formal time of the day.  We eat lunch and the children often help decide as a group what they are interested in doing that day.  It is a smaller, mixed age group.  I love the chance to get to know children who aren’t in my class and get to have more one-on-one collaboration with all the children.  Sometimes we build campsites or workshops outside, work on projects such as painting and decorating a playground for monkeys, or making boats out of found materials and making adjustments with trial and error.

The children’s favorite time of day is outdoor free play.  Because of the pandemic, we have been spending a lot of time outside and have created classroom centers on each playground.  At the end of the day, we go back outdoors for free play and the children love being able to run, jump, climb, use the outdoor mud kitchen, mixing tables, outdoor reading center, imaginative play areas, and coloring.  Right now their favorite activities include building with the large blocks in the sandbox to build homes for animals, creating obstacle courses, and mixing up pies in the kitchen area.  The children have hugely benefited from the increased outdoors time.

I currently live in Boston, MA and work at a small play based nursery school in Weston.  In the winter I love to ski.  I also enjoy cooking and going for runs in the city.  I am currently at Northeastern studying  psychology with an early education minor.  I am focused on my classes at Northeastern; however, I intend to take more classes at CCEI.   While I love being in the classroom at the moment, someday I would like to be the director of a school.

CCEI was recommended to me by one of my co-teachers and the director of the school.  We all had a positive experience with CCEI!  My education coach was very helpful, responsive, and encouraging.  I would not hesitate to recommend CCEI to anyone in the ECE field!