“It’s not enough to say ‘I love children.’ It’s just not enough anymore. That’s what you’re supposed to say, but that’s not the real answer. The real answer is ‘I want to be with children. I want to love these children.’”
Bonnie Seefeldt, Prekindergarten teacher and 2013 Knowledge Universe® Early Childhood Educator Award recipient
There are some people who are born to be teachers. Bonnie Seefeldt, a Prekindergarten teacher at the Brown Deer KinderCare® Learning Center in Brown Deer, Wisconsin, is one of those people. Hers is a classroom that draws people in – the kind of place children run into in the morning and don’t want to leave at the end of the day. For that matter, neither does Bonnie, as she knows how important consistency is for her young learners.
“She’s the most dedicated, compassionate teacher that I’ve ever seen,” said Center Director Tammy Kreger. “She has a relationship with our families that is truly a teacher-parent relationship.”
Bonnie’s students mean the world to her, but her son, who grew up in the Brown Deer center, is her first source of inspiration. To know that her son is cared for, that the people in his life treat him well, matters most to Bonnie. When she looks at her students, she knows their parents want the same thing. It’s her personal goal to show every single student the same love and care she wishes for her own child.
“She just looks at her children and her children look at her and you can see that there’s just a genuine caring,” said District Manager Deb Gorman.
Bonnie’s positive attitude and supportive demeanor, along with her dedication to showcasing the progress of her students and making sure they are ready for Kindergarten earned her the 2013 Knowledge Universe Early Childhood Educator Award. The award was a public recognition of something her center’s leaders have known for years: Bonnie is one of the best teachers around.
“From the first day I walked into Bonnie’s classroom I knew she was special,” said Deb. “She was that teacher [who] lives and breathes it every single day. It’s not a job to her. It’s her life.”
Region Vice President Susie Egr agrees. “I think Bonnie is the perfect Pre-k teacher. It’s important to have the right teacher. We’re handing [the students] off to the school system and I know she understands that.”
But Bonnie’s not about to send her students off to Kindergarten without a little extra support and a hug or two – after all, her students are an extension of her family.
“This is my second home,” she said. “It really, really, really is. They like to go, ‘Oh, Bonnie’s still here. Bonnie’s not going home yet,’ but it’s my second home. It completes me.”
Photo credit: Courtesy of Getty Images for Knowledge Universe.
2013 Early Childhood Educator Award Winner: