Kindergarten teacher Ari DacQuel embodies what it is to teach with true passion.
“I love the looks on the children’s faces when they learn something new,” she said. “And when they keep asking me questions, that’s what I love the most.”
As a result, her children at the Lacey KinderCare in Lacey, Wash., can get so engrossed in stories and discussions and whatifs and maybes and questions about what might happen next that they may spend five to ten minutes talking about a single page of a picture book.
That child-centered approach makes her class a joy to be in.
“I want to be a child again and have Ari as my teacher,” said Kelly Maurer, DacQuel’s center director.
DacQuel got her bachelor’s degree in child psychology, and she feels she’s found her calling as an early childhood educator. She grew up in a family that loved learning, the kind of household where a child was encouraged to find the answers to her own questions in books and resource materials. DacQuel retained that love of learning and she now strives to instill that same feeling in her students.
“If you don’t know something,” she tells her students, “ask a question.”
She loves to help them find the answer.
“It’s not just about inoculating them with knowledge,” she explained. “It’s knowing they’re going to take what you teach them and go out in the world hungry to learn.”
According to DacQuel, “teachers are the building blocks of education” and she knows she wouldn’t be where she is today without the amazing teachers she had.
“Teachers to me are really superheroes,” she said.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. That’s why this fall DacQuel was honored with the 2015 Early Childhood Educator Award. See the award presentation and hear more about what makes DacQuel and her peers superheroes in the video below.