After 16 years at L.E.A.P. Head Start, Lead Teacher Cristie Carbona-Cole is still known for making learning FUN

“Cristie is an incredibly creative teacher; she provides children with fun learning experiences and a positive learning environment.”  –Patricia Salvarezza, Program Director, L.E.A.P. Head Start / Early Head Start

“Cristie’s passion for early childhood education is felt the moment you walk into her classroom. Her classroom is always fun, warm, and welcoming to all.”  -Jenna Middleton, Assistant Director, L.E.A.P. Head Start / Early Head Start

“Cristie always keeps the individual needs of the children in her classroom a priority, she makes learning fun!!”  –Linda Daigle, L.E.A.P. Head Start Center Coordinator, Dix Avenue

We all know the incredible impact that teachers make on our lives, and the lives of our children.  When you think about your favorite teachers, was it the information they shared with you, or the way that they shared it?

Today’s staff Spotlight is about Cristie Carbona-Cole, who has worked for L.E.A.P. Head Start for 16 years.  She is currently a Lead Teacher in the Sunshine Room at our Dix Avenue Center in Hudson Falls.  When asked about Cristie, her colleagues raved about her, and they all mentioned the word “FUN.”  Did you know that making learning fun is scientifically proven to increase effective information processing and long-term memory storage?

In The Neuroscience of Joyful Education, Judy Willis writes:  “My experience as a neurologist and classroom teacher has shown me the benefits of joy in the classroom. Neuroimaging studies and measurement of brain chemical transmitters reveal that students’ comfort level can influence information transmission and storage in the brain (Thanos et al., 1999). When students are engaged and motivated and feel minimal stress, information flows freely through the affective filter in the amygdala and they achieve higher levels of cognition, make connections, and experience “aha” moments.  Such learning comes not from quiet classrooms and directed lectures, but from classrooms with an atmosphere of exuberant discovery (Kohn, 2004).”

Recently, we asked Cristie to tell us about what L.E.A.P. Head Start means to her, as a former parent and current teacher.

In 2001 and 2002, Cristie’s youngest daughter attended L.E.A.P. Head Start.  According to Cristie, “I valued being welcomed into the room as a parent volunteer and grew to love the staff as an extension of my own family. The program not only supported the growth and development of my daughter, but our family unit as a whole.  After she transitioned to Kindergarten, I came to Head Start as a Substitute and have grown to wear many hats here, from 1:1 Aide, Bus Driver, Classroom Aide, Assistant and now a Lead Teacher.  I feel my many roles here as well as being a former parent of an enrolled Head Start child, have helped me to make many personal connections with the children and families I am so blessed to have worked with.  I have been with the agency for 16 years. I have always had a love for spending time with children, as I find their moments of discovery, learning, sense of accomplishment and growing independence an amazing experience to be a part of.”

Wow!  Thank you Cristie for your hard work and your dedication to making learning FUN!

Each year, National Teacher Day is observed on the first Tuesday of the first full week of May.  For National Teacher Day, we’d like to thank all of the hardworking L.E.A.P. Head Start and Early Head Start Lead Teachers, Assistant Teachers, Teacher’s Aides, Floater Teacher’s Aides, Home Visitors, Substitute Teachers, and all other educators in our community for the impact you make in the lives of so many children.