Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, M.S. SpEd
Lori Adorno is the proud owner and operator of Giant Steps Preschool in Saugerties, New York. Her love of teaching children is shown throughout the colorful artwork displayed within the classrooms.
Giant Steps Preschool opened its doors four years ago and Adorno has learned to roll with the changes in education as they come. For instance, kindergarten entrance expectations continue to expand, putting the bulk of responsibility on the preschool. Adorno believes that play has an important role in teaching the necessary skills to preschoolers and says she doesn’t want to be just be a paper shuffler, handing out one worksheet after another.
Adorno says that preschool teachers need to have a love of children as well as an abundance of patience. They must also be able to balance the children’s needs and the parent’s wants. She says that many parents want tangible proof of the lessons being learned such as a worksheet, however play is an important teaching tool for children as well. This is the tricky part of teaching she says.
Adorno says she enjoys spontaneity in the classroom at times, but when things go as planned, that is a good day. Her days are longer than most because she is the owner and lead teacher so many nights are spent preparing projects for the following day. While she loves what she does, she says the hectic pace often has her yearning for summer vacation.
Though preschool costs can be an enormous weight on parents, Adorno says that preschool teachers are not it for the money. After the day-to-day costs of running a center are met, teacher salaries are a small portion of those costs.
To those thinking of opening their own preschool, Adorno says, “Be prepared for struggle but know it’s a rewarding job and it’s worth it. Stay positive.”