Patience, love and lots of fun are the aura of Jackie Villela. Her 2-year-olds clearly like her.
Villela has been teaching and helping rear 2-year-old children at Grace Kids Care Center at Grace Lutheran Church for almost four years. She started working here when she was a sophomore at Hoover High School.
While at Hoover, she attended Des Moines’ Central Campus downtown and took an early childhood careers class which focused on numerous careers offered for the caring of 6- to 24-month-old-children.
With her classroom experience behind her and her current position at Grace, she is well prepared for her future. She plans to attend Des Moines Area Community College for two years to study child psychology. Next, she’ll attend University of Iowa.
Until then she’ll continue to spend valuable time with the eight 2-year-olds she and another teacher care for. She likes this age for various reasons — they are curious, learn new words daily and are full of energy.
Her patience comes in when they don’t get the right word, and she helps them figure out just what it is they are really trying to say.
“I like to teach them things at this age that they don’t know yet,” says Villela. “We get to see their progress with colors, crafts and numbers.”
The time in their huge gym must be a favorite of all these tiny tots. There are several tricycles to race, balls to throw and soft games to play with. Their mornings are more structured with the full-time staff, while the afternoons offer time for additional part-time high school help. Villela communicates to the part-time help the day’s events, any injuries and basic caring procedures.
The next big event at Grace is the Christmas program. She and other teachers are preparing their children to sing in front of the entire church.
“It’s hard for them to stand still and sing at this age, but it’s cute and they are getting it,” she says.
In her time away from her tiny two’s, you can find Villela reading or listening to music. She is originally from Des Moines.