Laurel McGiffin (Ms. Laurel) has been the teacher at Steilacoom Preschool since 1988. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and before coming to Steilacoom Co-Op she worked with children through the Metropolitan Parks Department of Tacoma. Ms. Laurel’s love of children and her skill working with them is evident in each session of school.
“Next to my home and church, preschool is where I like most to be. My husband John and I just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We are the parents of 5 children, one daughter and four sons. We have 16 grandchildren! I was born and raised in California, but have lived here in Lakewood for the last 37 years. In my “spare” time I like to nap, plan fun things for preschool, play with my grand kids and watch Hallmark movies with my husband. John and I also teach the 4/5 year old class at church. My favorite color is lavender, my favorite food is pizza with lots of olives, mushrooms and cheese, and I love reading children’s literature, playing the piano, and holidays.”
Ms. Laurel believes children learn best in an environment that allows them to touch, smell, taste, hear and see things themselves. Not only must the learning be multi-sensory and hands-on; it must encourage children to take risks. It is taking a risk to play with messy paints, try on dress up clothes or talk to someone new at school. The child who is allowed to explore becomes secure in his or her own ability to learn something new and different, i.e. letters, numbers, and writing.