Two South Piedmont Community College Early Childhood Education students are already putting their learning to work in their very own classrooms.
Jasmin Miller and Damita Moss both work at Primrose School at Austin Village in Matthews, and both are pursuing associate degrees at South Piedmont to grow in their ability to nurture young children.
“I love being able to see them grow and learn, to see their brains develop,” said Miller. “I want to be part of their lives, to know that I made a difference for them while they were growing up.”
Miller started working in childcare five years ago, inspired by her own experiences as a mother.
“I sent my children to daycare, and I could see how they were changing from the things they were learning there. I decided that’s what I wanted to do for someone else’s child: be the person they reach for when they need help, the one they smile at every morning, to give them a hug, to make them feel comfortable and safe,” she said.
Two years ago, Miller enrolled in South Piedmont’s Early Childhood Education program. She is on track to graduate in May.
She works with children ages 1-15 months. Even with very young children, she is able to implement her newfound knowledge in brain development — and see the results of her training.
“We read to the babies, sing songs, and build blocks. We tell them colors, even though they can’t say the words now, so that eventually it clicks,” she said.
“There are these moments when it happens. I’ll be reading a book and making an animal sound, and one day, they’ll make the animal sound with me. They’re connecting the animal to its sound. That’s learning. It’s exciting to see the children as they move on to the older classrooms and to know I had a hand in their progression.”
Since starting at South Piedmont, Miller has noticed improvements in her own communication skills, her ability to recognize nonverbal clues about how a child is feeling, and her ability to effectively interact not just with the children, but with the parents as well.
Ultimately, Miller plans to open her own childcare facility.
“This is my purpose. To care for the children and to love them every day,” she said.
Miller’s colleague, Moss, is equally passionate about continuing her own education to better serve the children in her care. She’s been in childcare for 28 years and currently works with children ages 5-8 in before- and after-school programs.
Moss just started back at South Piedmont after pausing her studies a few years ago to support her children as they pursued their own college degrees. One of her children has a master’s from Harvard University. The other has a degree from Syracuse University.
When she was raising her children, she impressed upon them the importance of continued learning and the value of education. Now she’s embodying those lessons — and imparting them on future generations.
“Every morning, I wake up having gained a little more knowledge in this field. I’m feeling more confident in myself and in my ability to help others,” Moss said.
“What I love most is the ‘ah-ha’ moments. I love giving the kids confidence too, especially in math. I help them to see how we use math in everyday life, why it’s important, and that they can do it, even when it gets hard.”
Moss had long aspired to own her own childcare facility as well, but now she’s not so sure.
“I just know that I want to make the world better for children, to be the best teacher I can be. That’s why I’m back in school myself,” she said.
South Piedmont offers degree, diploma and certificate options in Early Childhood Education. Learn more at https://spcc.edu/areas-of-study/education/.