Playtime is learning time under guidance of Moffat County preschool teacher Karen Torres | CraigDailyPress.com

Playtime is learning time under guidance of Moffat County preschool teacher Karen Torres

Early Childhood Center instructor Karen Torres is joined by preschool students Zoie Craft and Aiden Macklin.

CRAIG — People who step into Karen Torres’ full-day preschool class at the Early Childhood Center are likely to see children learning through play, which Torres uses to teach her students in fun and engaging ways.

“I've been in early childhood since 2008. I started out volunteering in the Early Childhood Center; then, I began teaching in 2009,” she said.

The Craig Press caught up with Torres recently and asked her about her own time as a student, as well as her approach to teaching.

Craig Press: What were you like as a student?

Torres: I was an ELL (English Language Learning) student during most of my school years. Academics did not come easy, because at times, it was hard for me to understand not only the language but the culture, too. I relied on other students who spoke the English language and great teachers to help me understand what was going on around me. Once I hit middle school, I became fluent in English and Spanish, which made me feel much more confident about school.

Why did you choose Moffat County?

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I grew up in Craig. When I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to teach young children. I began volunteering at the Early Childhood Center and fell in love with the program.

How has your education, training, and work experiences qualified you for your role?

I feel like receiving an early childhood degree with the knowledge that very experienced teachers shared with me has helped me become qualified for my job. I continue learning and collaborating with great teacher co-workers. I try to share what I know and hope to learn something new every day.

What do you do if your students don't "get it?"

I try different strategies, such as games, one-on-one interactions, and songs. I like to find out what they are struggling with and individualize a way to help them master that skill.

How do you measure your success as an educator?

I think success is measured by knowing that children are comfortable in the learning environment. I love to see children mastering skills and challenging themselves to new things. I like to look back at every beginning of the year and how students have grown every day in many ways.

How are you involved in the community outside school?

I am part of the strategic planning committee for Moffat County School District.

Is there anything else you'd like readers to know?

I am very proud of the great things preschoolers do in the classroom. Although they are the youngest students in our district, they can accomplish amazing things. I'm very thankful and honored to teach young children and be part of their day.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Student Spotlight

Early Childhood Center Preschool teacher Karen Torres choose to recognize Aiden Macklin and Zoie Craft.

“Aiden is always happy to be at school and shows so much excitement to be part of our classroom and play with his friends,” Torres said. “Aiden is a big helper in our classroom and is always willing to help friends and teachers. Aiden loves the dress-up area and is a great inventor. He is an outstanding boy.”

Torres selected Zoie because she is an outstanding student.

“Zoie is always willing to play with everyone, she is very patient with her friends and is very excited to learn about everything,” Torres said. “She truly cares for her friends and has a special interest for science and animals.”

She asked both students a few questions about school.

What is your favorite subject and why?

Aiden: Art, playing at centers, and art.
Zoie: I like to play at school at dress-up and everything else.

What do you like the most about your school?

Aiden: The toys!
Zoie: Playing with my friends, all of my friends.

Describe the interests and activities you enjoy outside of school.

Aiden: I like to play at the snow and make snowballs.
Zoie: I play with my toys at home, and I always play with my brother.