A lifetime attraction to the teaching profession, as well as a welcoming atmosphere at Incredible Years Preschool combined to draw a Great Bend native to a position at the facility.
Peyton Burkhart recently signed on at the preschool to lead the classroom for children age 2-and-a-half. She is teaching colors, shapes, numbers, letter recognition and social skills.
Incredible Years, 1312 Patton, accepts children 2-and-a-half to 5.
“Early education is so important, especially before the age of 5,” Burkhart said. “Since this is when the young brain is developing, the first five years shape a child’s future health, growth, development and learning.”
Burkhart noted she grew up in a family of teachers and has been “drawn to this type of work since day one. I have always wanted to work with younger children. And when I interviewed at Incredible Years, the staff was so welcoming. I knew it would be a good fit.”
The new preschool teacher also noted she is “passionate” about a particular offering at Incredible Years. It is called Conscious Discipline, which is a comprehensive classroom management program and social-emotional curriculum.
“In Conscious Discipline we focus on positive behaviors, instead of negative behaviors,” Burkhart said. “For example, a teacher might say ‘if you don’t sit down and finish your work, you will not go to recess.’
“Instead of that, you could say ‘once you are sitting nicely and have finished your work, then we can go outside.’”
Anyone who has ever struggled to keep a child focused on an idea or task “will be delighted to learn that changing your own responses can help children boost their learning skills,” Burkhart noted.
Discovering new ways to respond also will help children develop kindness and self-respect; honor those who are different than themselves; solve problems with compassion; and grow into responsible adults, Burkhart summarized.
“Once you start using this technique in daily life, it will become easier to translate it to your children or students,” Burkhart commented. “You will focus on what you want a child to do instead of focusing on what they already did.”
Burkhart earned her associate’s in science degree at Barton Community College. She is working on her bachelor’s in Early Childhood Unified at Fort Hays State University.
Shari Schneider, Incredible Years director, said Burkhart’s background in Conscious Discipline and other educational areas is helpful in the classroom.
“We are so excited Peyton joined our staff,” Schneider said. “She has high energy and fresh, new ideas. And she has already stolen the hearts of the children.”
Sunflower Diversified Services owns and operates Incredible Years; the sliding-scale tuition is based on income. For more information, call 620-792-4087.