If you walk into Michelle Groeneweg’s Pre-K classroom, you will be greeted by an underwater ocean theme of colors and posters.
Large cut outs of letters and numbers decorate the walls, reminding students what letter of the week they are working on. This month a Christmas candy store center rotation, full of pretend sweets and a cash register, is set up to foster dramatic play. Mrs. Groeneweg is an expert at knowing how to engage and make learning exciting for her four- and five-year old students. Mrs. Groeneweg has taught Pre-K at New Life for ten years but has over twenty years of teaching experience.
“I love this grade [Pre-K] and age group,” Mrs. Groeneweg remarks. “I love their excitement for learning and to watch their confidence grow. I love hearing their hearts, especially when they pray.” Whether they are working on writing their letters or learning about nocturnal animals, every day is different in her classroom. In fact, her motto is “every day is a new day in Pre-K.”
Mrs. Groeneweg wanted to become a teacher at an early age after her Kindergarten and First grade teachers left a memorable impact on her. Their ability to get to know their students and make learning fun inspired Mrs. Groeneweg to pursue teaching. Relationship building is the core to how Mrs. Groeneweg teaches. When asked what she wished she would have known when she first started teaching, she said, “Kids are the most important thing you have in your classroom. Take the time to really get to know your students. You want to get through everything, but sometimes you might have to stop your lesson because a student needs a little extra reassurance.” Now Mrs. Groeneweg makes sure to find fun ways to love and notice her students, whether it is greeting them in the morning in a unique way or showing up at their birthday party (pre-Covid).
Relationships with her students last far beyond her time as their teacher. Many have siblings that Mrs. Groeneweg gets to teach later on and because New Life is a K-12 school, she can easily stay in touch with many of the families after they move on from the Early Ed program.
An important aspect of teaching at New Life for Mrs. Groeneweg is the ability to share the love of Jesus with her students at such an early age. A big reason she teaches at New Life is because she gets to talk freely about God. “It’s important that my students know they are loved, not only loved by me, but loved by God. What Pre-K is really about is seeing the love of Jesus each day through what we do.”
Mrs. Groeneweg’s enthusiasm and dedication for what she does has enriched so many student’s lives. We’re so thankful for the lasting impact she has had on our Early Ed program.
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