Alhia Moore ’19 has a way with kids. As an assistant teacher at a local preschool, she helps children develop their social and emotional skills.
Building Gotham City
Preschool is usually when children get their first taste of formal education. Alhia Moore ’19, an education studies major, spends her time as an assistant preschool teacher dreaming up ways to make learning the all-important ABCs both fun and memorable.
“We actually cover all domains: math, science, literacy,” said the Chicopee, MA, local. “Everything I do is mostly hands-on, because that’s how I learn. I like to do a lot of experiments.”
If that list isn’t impressive enough, preschoolers are even introduced to topics like history and engineering at an early age.
“Right now I’m actually building Gotham City with them out of boxes — it’s coming along quite nicely,” Alhia said. “These activities help them learn how to work with a team. They also give them social skills as well.”
After earning her associate’s degree at Springfield Technical Community College, Alhia transferred to Elms, where she is majoring in education studies. The transition had its challenges, but she said that her classes and ultimately motivated her to reach for a higher standard.
“I had a huge wake-up call,” she said, reflecting on her first semester. “It was very different than community college — way more intense. But, the professors I had were super supportive. Anything I needed, I could ask them for help and they were there to talk.”
Alhia initially thought she wanted to teach kindergartners, but had a change of heart once she began fulfilling her observation requirements.
“Doing observation hours is steering me away from it,” she said. “The curriculum in public schools is kind of against what I believe, in a way — everything is about test scores.”
After reevaluating her career goals, Alhia resolved to focus her energies on the preschool level. Her current role with the Valley Opportunity Council (VOC) gives her the chance to implement lessons that more closely align with her teaching philosophy.
“Learning a child’s background before you teach them academics majorly impacts their performance,” she said. “I believe that if I can get to know the kids personally, and find out what works for them, then I can teach all of the academics afterward, instead of drilling them with repetition.”
With the support of her family, her friends, and her cohort here at Elms, Alhia is confident that she will earn her degree in spring 2019 and land a lead teacher position with VOC.
“Everyone at Elms is open to sharing ideas and listening to how other people are running their classes at other schools,” she said. “It’s helpful because you can immediately try those things in your own classroom.”