I have worked with children for more than 15 years, and I've never had a dull day! It's a very rewarding job. Currently I teach children sports at KEVA Sports Center in Middleton. In this fun and active setting, my major goal is to get the energy levels up while keeping the participation enjoyable. Children ages 18 months to five years are my primary focus. Kids in this age range have a short attention span, and can be easily distracted. Yet if they're having fun, chances are they will want to return to that activity again and again.
It's hard to know when you are going to have an impact on a child's life. I put a lot of effort into all the classes and programs I teach, but I am never 100 percent sure how much of the lessons each child will retain. When the light bulb goes on in a child, and they grasp the concept I am trying to share, it's one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Better yet is when the child comes back to the next class and says, "Coach Tracy look what I can do." Then I know they not only retained the information I gave them the previous week, but they are also proud of their ability to complete the skill at hand.
Feedback from parents is also rewarding. They tell me how their children can't stop talking about the program, and are asking repeatedly when they can come back. Often a parent will say that something as simple as kicking a ball back and forth with me was the highlight of their child's day, and when they get home, they want to kick the ball with their parents, too. This gives me great satisfaction and reminds me it's the small things that matter in life, and with kids, little things can have a big impact.
Click here to follow KEVA on Facebook and share your thoughts on what you find most rewarding in your relationship with your kids, and those meaningful, "ah-ha" moments when they learn new skills.
KEVA Sports Center is Wisconsin's premier sports and recreation facility, featuring classes, leagues and programs for nearly every age and skill level. From soccer, basketball and volleyball to bocce, bags and lacrosse, KEVA is the place to play.
Click for more information about these KEVA programs and promotions:
My first sport (18 months to 6 years)
Athletic Kidz (7 to 14 years )
Birthday Parties (all ages)
MaMom's Resale (youth items resale)
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Verona resident Melissa Wardy got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.
"Kids spend so much time in and around school, it's the only place where some have a chance to develop an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle," says Katie Hensel, founder and executive director of Tri 4 Schools.
"I'm envious, mom," said my twelve-year-old daughter as she hopped in the car after theater camp last week. "All the other kids in my group seem to really like, and to be really good at, singing, dancing and acting. But I think all those things are just okay."
"People are looking to book space here all the time," says Remy Fernández-O'Brien, communications and facilities coordinator for the Lussier Community Education Center, a private, nonprofit community center on Madison's west side. "They want to throw their child's first birthday party here or hold a Girl Scout meeting. We're really busy year-round, but it's especially lively here in the summer."
Last week, in response to the county-wide Sleep Safe, Sleep Well public health campaign that encourages parents to "share the room, not the bed" with their sleeping infants, Isthmus contributor Ruth Conniff penned a lovely opinion piece in defense of bed sharing entitled "Confessions of a Co-Sleeper."
As much as I'd like to believe there is latent genius in my daughter's early finger paintings, I'm pretty sure her works are not distinguishable from those created by the pointer fingers and pinkies of thousands of other children from across the world.
Seeing Romeo and Juliet this past weekend was a definite reminder that I need to prepare for something that might resemble a (near) West Side Story around our place pretty soon.