From the writers and designers to the travel agents and assistants, stay-at-home careers seem to be quite the norm these days. Even for the preschool teacher.
Personally, I couldn't imagine any pursuit requiring bigger cajones than the latter. Which is why I give mad props to local mama Mindy Noe for transforming her home into a place for tiny tots to learn and play... Mother, wife, teacher, director—she does it all. And after my recent interview with this all-around superwoman, I'd say she makes it sound easy...
Source Weekly: What first sparked your interest in teaching?
Mindy Noe: I had wanted to be a teacher ever since my first day of kindergarten. The smell of the paints, the cute little desk, and of course the teacher (who got to use Sharpies and tell everyone in such a kind voice what we were going to learn about that day)—it all just appealed to me. I would even arrange my bedroom at home into a classroom and make my little siblings pretend to be my students.
SW: Why preschool?
MN: To me, this is such a fun age. I can be silly and laid back while still giving the kids that spark of excitement for learning. I've been teaching preschool in Bend for eight years, and my absolute favorite part is when the kids get fascinated with something—like the Amazon rainforest or a pink dolphin or an anaconda—and then come up to me a month or so later and say (out of nowhere), "Mrs. Mindy, look at this picture I drew of an anaconda—it's the biggest snake in the world!" Or, "Mrs. Mindy, let's go to the Amazon and catch a pink dolphin!" It's these little moments that remind me how excited they are about what we say and do.
SW: What was it like turning your home into the Village Preschool? How do you find balance in separating the two now?
MN: It was actually a really easy transition for me, since I was an employee of the Village for many years before purchasing it from the previous owners and making it my own. Now, when I come downstairs at 7:30 to make my coffee and open the school for the day, I'm in full work-mode. And although balance can be tricky, I'm only Mrs. Mindy until we close at 6:00. Then I take a deep breath and I'm home. I make dinner, help my son with his homework and catch up on the day with my husband.
SW: What makes the Village Preschool unique?
MN: We focus a lot on independence and creativity here. We do circle time, yoga, and stations that involve art, math and science. We encourage the kids to make their own choices, and we offer help when they need it. For me, it's all about letting them be who they are. And I can't say enough wonderful things about my amazing staff! I'm so proud of our school here, and all the positive feedback from families in the community just continues to make me proud!