Rebecca McKenney (1st Quarter, 2006)

by Josh Barsch on August 20, 2010

1st Quarter, 2006
Teacher Scholarship Winner
Rebecca McKenney

“During my high school years, I began to notice that I had a sincere interest in young children. I loved to spend time playing with my young siblings and the toddlers at my church. When a parenting magazine came in the mail, I would intently read it from cover to cover, absorbing the information. I enjoyed watching children’s videos and television programs, and I found myself hooked on some children’s music. At my brother’s t-ball games, it was not the game itself that put a smile on my face; it was watching the coaches interacting with the children.”

A Portion of Rebecca’s Winning Essay:

Rebecca McKenney

During my high school years, I began to notice that I had a sincere interest in young children. I loved to spend time playing with my young siblings and the toddlers at my church. When a parenting magazine came in the mail, I would intently read it from cover to cover, absorbing the information. I enjoyed watching children’s videos and television programs, and I found myself hooked on some children’s music. At my brother’s t-ball games, it was not the game itself that put a smile on my face; it was watching the coaches interacting with the children. The happiness and pleasure that the adults and children received from each other was incredible to see, and watching the coaches instructing the children and having fun at the same time sparked something in me. It was then that I started to consider the possibility of becoming a teacher. When I truly thought about early childhood teaching and all the things I had learned through time spent with children, I felt in my heart that I was meant to be a teacher.

There are many things that helped me to make the decision of studying Early Childhood Education. Through my time with children, I have seen tiny newborns grow into active toddlers and inquisitive preschoolers. It was amazing to see them reach each new milestone, to see them gain new skills and to hear their vocabularies increase. I was present when two of my brothers read their very first sentences, and the pure joy and excitement this gave them is something I will always remember, and something I look forward to seeing again in the future. At times I would just observe my little sister as she played with toys, looked through a book or studied her reflection in a mirror. Watching how intensely she concentrated on these simple things made me wonder how her mind works and how she views the world. When doing activities with little ones, I have had the pleasure of seeing their eyes light up in wonderment as they learn and discover new things. I love that young children are so open and so eager to gain knowledge. The world is so new and exciting to them, and every day is an adventure. I was once worried that I would grow bored spending every day in a classroom, but then I discovered that young children can learn through music and movement, dramatic-play and storytelling and art and cooking. This creativity and freedom really appeals to me, and I realize that an early childhood classroom could never bore me. I love to see children beam with pride when they are being helpful, and I love to see the smiles that spread across their faces when they receive praise. Children show their thanks in such wonderful ways. When my sister throws her arms around me for a hug or my brother says, “I love you”, I realize that a teacher may be overworked or underpaid but never unappreciated.

I have a strong desire to be a teacher who truly makes a difference in the lives of children or at least strives to. I think it is so important for children to feel loved, wanted and special. They should feel that their ideas, hopes and feelings are important. Children need someone to be excited about their dreams and then provide them with the encouragement, support and education that will help them to one day reach those dreams. I think childhood is such a precious time. Everyone deserves to have a wonderful childhood filled with love, laughter and learning. Sadly, some children do not get such a time, and it makes my heart ache to think of it. I believe some of the things I experienced as a young child have had some effect on the decisions I make now and my views of myself and other people. Therefore, I think it is very important that children’s first experiences are wonderful, because those experiences may be a significant element in shaping their futures.


Although I may be part of a child’s life for only a short time, it is my desire to give them a wonderful start in life by encouraging and supporting their dreams and interests, opening their eyes to the fascinating world around them and hopefully creating many happy memories that they can carry with them into the future. I feel that God has blessed me with this gift of working well with children. Now I hope to use the gift God gave me to help children discover their own gifts. As a teacher of young children, I hope to be a person a child can look to for guidance and instruction, not only in their schoolwork, but also in life.

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