IHSD alumna-now-staff, Elizabeth Ponce, shares her #FavoritePreschoolMemory. What’s yours?

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I remember being in class with one of my favorite teachers, Ms. Lorreine (sp?). I didn’t speak much English and being of an extremely shy temperament didn’t help much. With her, I, however, remember feeling very safe. As I became felt more secure in my new environment, I remember vividly playing with my new friends outside at the Pacifica site that IHSD once had. I can still remember the structures that were there and how the outside area looked.

A second special memory I have is the visit from the firefighters, specifically the sound of their breathing in their masks as they showed us how they crawled on their hands and knees in a burning building. They turned off the lights to make the room feel darker and had us stay quiet, so we could hear the sound of their breathing.

I have grown up with IHSD.

Lastly, the pony rides that we had are also marked in my memory. It was my first experience with an animal of that size, and at the time it looked enormous! They put cowboy dressings on us and led a short pony ride. I sure did enjoy that day.

I have grown up with IHSD. I began school with IHSD at the age of 2 and a half and remained there until it was time for Kindergarten. Every summer, my mom would have my sister and I come and help clean all the toys and prepare the classroom for the upcoming school year. During middle school and high school, I became a volunteer at IHSD’s Serramonte site. I would walk up the hill every day after school, and I would make it in time to read and help set up for snack. I left IHSD for about 4-5 years as I went to Skyline, where I graduated from with my Associate’s in Early Childhood Education. In December 2009, I noticed an open position for a Head Start Home Based Specialist and thought it would be amazing to come back to my roots. Fortunately, I was hired and officially came on board on January 22, 2010 and have been here ever since.

I can truly appreciate how IHSD makes a difference in the community by creating strong foundations for the children we serve.

IHSD is definitely a family oriented place. I can truly appreciate how IHSD makes a difference in the community by creating strong foundations for the children we serve. We also help build on the skills that families have by encouraging growth-based goals, including them in the classrooms and agency, and providing connections to their community. We become part of their circle as we celebrate with them on their accomplishments, both internally and externally, and support them during hard times. We have a special opportunity to connect with our enrolled families in a way that many other education programs/school do not.

– Elizabeth Ponce, IHSD staff member and alumni