24, No. 1, July 1, 2004
On the job: Brooke Reifsteck
Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
photo to enlarge
<strong>Photo by L. Brian Stauffer</strong><hr /><br />
Proctor, professor, speech & hearing science, with graduate
students Mary Ratliff (at left, seated) and Mary Newman (at
right, seated). With some fo the testing equipment used to
evaluate coginitive abilities of those who have suffered
from brain injuries.
by Bill Wiegand
is a child development supervisor at the Expanded
Child Development Lab.
Work is child’s
play for Brooke Reifsteck, a child development supervisor at the Expanded
Child Development Lab. Along with two full-time colleagues and a steady
flow of student teachers, Reifsteck cares for 17 3-year-olds enrolled
in the full-day child-care program. Reifsteck joined the university’s
staff in January 2003 right after she graduated from Eastern Illinois
University in December with a degree in early childhood education.
me a little about what you do every day.
I work from 7 to 3:30 in full-day child care for children of students,
faculty, staff and families in the community. We’re responsible
for daily care for the kids, making sure they’re safe and healthy.
We also plan and implement age-appropriate activities for them, to keep
them stimulated and excited about learning. We have an emergent curriculum:
We look at the types of things they’re interested in, and then
we plan activities and experiences around those things. For example,
they’ve been interested in knowing what time it is lately. So
we took the clock off the wall and traced it and we listened to it.
Today they were drawing their own clocks – which also helps them
work on writing numbers and adds to their knowledge of how things work
– how life works – because it’s all time-scheduled.
many kids do you have typically?
There are 10 to 20 in a room. Three moved away, so now we have 17. There
are two other teachers who work with me on a full-time basis. The school
day for the kids is 7:30 to 5:30.
did you choose this field of work?
My original major was math and I was planning to be a high-school math
teacher. I still love math, but after having a few experiences in high-school
practicums, I decided that high-school teaching wasn’t the place
for me. I kind of experimented around a little bit and found out that
I really love working with 3- to 4-year-olds.
your favorite part of your job?
working with the kids and the families. Every day is a new day. Nothing’s
ever boring. It’s great to hear the stories the kids come in with
every day. It’s amazing how much they know in only three years
the most challenging part of what you do?
Keeping things consistent for the kids. We get student teachers and
workers, and it seems like there are different faces in our room all
the time. Sometimes it’s a challenge in consistency for us as
teachers to make sure what’s going on in the room is really working
for the staff that’s present at that time. We really have to work
hard to make sure that the kids are seeing the same things all the time.
One of the things that makes this place great is that the kids are from
all different backgrounds. It does make things challenging every once
in a while, but it keeps everything interesting for us. And the kids
don’t know any different; they love each other the same.
What kinds of things do you like to do when you’re not working?
just started grad school, and I’m working on my master’s
in special education.
I coach the dance team for Villa Grove High School, which is where I
went to high school. I’m really involved with that, especially
throughout the winter. It’s a competition team, and we compete
in the Illinois Drill Team Association. The team went to the state competition
this year, which was held at the Assembly Hall on March 27, and won
fourth place. They did a hip-hop routine and a pom routine, and the
pom routine was the one they got fourth place in.
Were you on the dance team when you were in high school?
my little sister graduated this year, so she was on it this year when
I taught it. Family is really huge for me; I spend a lot of time with
my family, especially my nephew who just turned 2.