My name is Meliza Lorenzo, and I am a continuing education student at FSDB. I decided to come back last fall because I wanted to attend First Coast Technical College (FCTC) and major in early childcare. I want to accomplish one of my goals for the future. I love to be around young children, and I have the patience to care for them. When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a teacher when I grew up - just not a general teacher. I wanted to become a teacher for blind and visually impaired students. In the next paragraph, I will be talking about my experience in the childcare program at FCTC.
The first couple of months were somewhat rough because my classmates and I found out that we were going to get a new teacher. The teacher who was assigned initially knew what she was doing to get us prepared for the state early childcare exams. However, when she left, we had many substitutes until they found the right teacher. It was a stressful time, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue in the program, but I still wanted to work with children. No matter what challenges I faced, I knew I could do it. Our new teacher had worked in a daycare center for 22 years, so she had a lot of experience to share with us. She taught us how to take care of children and keep them safe. We learned about the Florida Division of Children and Families and what they expected us to know for the state exams, including the areas of rules and regulations; health, safety and nutrition; child abuse and neglect; child growth and development; and observation and screening.
This year I got the opportunity to work with children ages two to five at FCTC. Working with this age group can be a little challenging. One of my struggles was getting the chance to read with them since I am visually impaired. I had to borrow twin vision books from the FSDB Blind Library. These books are both braille and print and have lots of pictures. One time I got the opportunity to read a book that was in braille, and the children I worked with were excited. I was a little nervous when I brought the book over to them. Once I got into the story, I was relaxed, and they enjoyed it and were fascinated by the braille. Every day I looked forward to working with children, including outside and doing hands-on artwork activities. The children liked having me around.
Also, I worked with children in kindergarten to second grade in the Blind Department at FSDB. Working at FSDB was not quite as challenging because I experienced learning the same way they do. I taught braille to younger students who were beginners, and I helped them with their classwork. I like being a role model for them.
I have also been helping out with my younger nieces and nephews at home. I also had the opportunity to take a parenting class with Anne Parsons in the FSDB Blind High School. She was the one who inspired me to continue in childcare and told me never to give up. My experience this past year has shown me that this is the right career for me.
Next year I look forward to learning more about working with children. I enjoy working with the little ones and would love to have the opportunity to work in the Early Learning Center at FSDB.
Submitted by Kathleen McManus, ELL Program/Instructional Services
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a tuition-free state public school and outreach center available to eligible Pre-K and K-12 students who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired. At FSDB, students learn how to do more, be more, and achieve more, fulfilling our vision of preparing them for a lifetime of success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. For a campus tour or to inquire about eligibility for enrollment, contact FSDB Parent Services at 904-827-2212 voice or 904-201-4527 videophone. For more information, visit www.fsdbk12.org