There’s a word that Sara Cross uses often when discussing her job: love.
It describes the enthusiasm for her work at Serendipity Preschool in Norwalk, her feelings toward her students and the joy she finds during her favorite part of the school day, story time.
“I love being a preschool teacher,” says Cross, who works with 4- and 5-year-olds in the state-funded universal preschool program. “I wanted to be a teacher since I was very young, and I truly feel like I have my dream job (which doesn’t feel like a job at all). Each day is different, and I love all of the children in my classes.”
Cross says she’s drawn to this age group for their special and unique outlook on everything, adding that the kids are curious, loving, silly, innocent and honest. She considers it a privilege to be part of their first experience with school.
“Quality early childhood programs are extremely important for young children, and I am committed to making my classroom a place where children will grow, learn and explore,” says Cross, who began teaching at Serendipity about seven years ago.
She completed the early childhood program at Des Moines Area Community College before transferring to Iowa State University. She has a bachelor’s in early childhood education from Iowa State, and is licensed to teach children ages birth to third grade in regular and special education classrooms.
While trying to manage a class of 20 4-year-olds can be a challenge, Cross is delighted by the children, particularly the creative stories they tell.
“Sometimes on Mondays, we go around the circle and talk about what we did over the weekend,” she says. “Each child gets a chance to talk, if they choose. The children love the spotlight to say anything, and I get to hear some very entertaining stories.”
Cross also enjoys selecting books to share for story time and presenting them in a variety of ways.
“Some days I will use puppets, some days I will use props, and each day I come up with different voices for the characters in the books,” she says. “The children are so engaged during this time, and I love asking them questions about the story and hearing their creative responses.”