2016 Blackboard Award Honoree: Jeanne Graham

Jeanne Graham accepts her Blackboard Award; photo by Karen Haberberg

Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2016 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE!

Jeanne Graham
Ages 2-3, Nursery School
Beginnings Nursery School

Tell us about some of the special joys and challenges you’ve experienced as a teacher.

There is so much joy I get from teaching. I became an early childhood educator because of my love for children and my fascination with how they explore new ideas and conquer their challenges. I have found working with children inspirational because every moment is full of wonder, learning, and change. The amazement, smiles, eager eyes, and, most importantly, the laughter, are a rich reward for me.

Please share a special project or achievement that you are particularly proud of from this year.

This year, I am especially proud of the curriculum that developed in the PM Fours’ class. At Beginnings, each classroom is unique in that the curriculums are constantly evolving in response to the children’s changing needs, learning styles, interests, and questions… They created a studio in the classroom that we’ve never seen before, bursting with ideas and productivity. I was impressed by their ability to use this space—which was filled with paper, tape, hole punchers and markers—in such an autonomous way.

Jeanne Graham with her students; photo by Karen Haberberg

Over the course of your career, what do you consider your greatest accomplishments?

One of my greatest accomplishments was to visit Reggio Emilia in 2009 and experience firsthand what motivates and influences my own personal philosophy. I was not only provided with an unparalleled opportunity to research and observe the Reggio approach, but the experience supported and enriched my own professional development.

What keeps you motivated and committed to being a dedicated and hard-working educator?

I am driven and motivated every day by the children. Seeing them become the best they can be, watching learning unfold and seeing small victories in their world is the best feeling a teacher can have. It is extremely rewarding to support children to explore, learn about and develop their own individual interest and passions. The relationships I have with the children in my class are collaborative; children and teachers are learners together.