By Linda Titel
The Shiocton School District has a new Child Care Director named Samantha Curtiss.
Curtiss said she had started working in daycare four years ago, she actually started in Milwaukee. She said, “I attended the UW of Milwaukee to get my early childhood education. I started in a place called Grandma’s House Day Care which was a well established family-owned center and it was the perfect place for me to start. I was an assistant infant teacher, we were co-teachers, and then I moved to the Sheboygan area for my husband, which is where we met, and I was a toddler teacher. I always have been a lead teacher, and had interest and my eyes set on being a director.”
Curtiss said so far her experience has been wonderful. Parents and families have all been great, and she feels lucky that it’s a small community. Curtiss has lived in Milwaukee almost her entire life and really relishes the small village community. She said, “There is nothing better than working in a community like this. The teachers are wonderful, the kids are as sweet as can be and it’s amazing being part of the school, you have endless resources and it could not be going any better.”
Curtiss said her inspiration working with children came from her father who was also a teacher. She said, she would go to classes with him since she was little, her father taught eighth grade for the majority of his career and just recently chose to retire.
She loved watching him in the classroom and he was even her teacher in eighth grade. Curtiss said, “I always had this maternal love for children and I feel it’s the best job on the planet to have, to take care of children and watch them learn and grow and be part of their families.”
One of the goals for the center is to be more geared towards academics. Curtiss said, “A big initiative that we are taking is changing our lesson plans and adding portfolios into the mix. The lesson plan initiative is making sure the teachers are hitting all the domains of child development and that our teachers are planning activities for the kids in a way to help them learn, grow and develop all through interaction and play. The plan is more intentional and focused on the child and it gives parents things to look back on as the children move from room to room as they grow. It’s more than babysitting, we want to give the children the best that the center has to offer.”
The portfolios they are implementing are basically observations. The center requires the teachers set goals for the children starting in September, they are going to observe the kids to see if they are reaching their goals. If the child is bored or overwhelmed they will make a change, they want to be focused on their children as they grow, develop and also have a really good time doing it.
The Shiocton School Child Care Center takes ages 6 weeks – 9 years. A new change is if a child turns 9 during the school year they may continue with before and after care until the school year is over. The Center currently has a lot of part time children but there are still openings for part time placement available.
Curtiss said they are looking at the fall schedule and the wait list right now and determining if they are able to squeeze some more kids in. The capacity for the center is no more than 50 children in the center at one time.
Curtiss said her typical day starts with office work, billing, entering schedules, and just anything that the center needs to keep running sufficiently.
Curtiss said, “Everyday I pop in the classrooms, regardless of what my day looks like, making sure the teachers have all the lesson plan materials that they need and always looking for extra resources. There is constant parent communication between the center about events coming up or activities that the children are involved in.”
Curtiss encourages young people to explore the early child education field. She said, “If you love children and you have patience, it’s the perfect, rewarding career for any young person.”
Curtiss lives in Grand Chute with her husband, Kevin and 1 year old son, Luca.