The professional journey of an Ivy Tech alumna and now author

beth-reichmuth

by Beth Reichmuth
Alumna, Central Indiana

I grew up on the eastside of Indianapolis and graduated from Warren Central high school in 2004. Since I was a child myself, I always loved working with young children. In 2005, I began attending Early Childhood Education courses at Ivy Tech’s Lawrence campus with the intention of transferring to IUPUI for a degree in Elementary Education. During my ECE courses though, I began working at a play-based childcare center near the Lawrence campus. To my surprise, I fell in love with being an early childhood educator.

During my ECE course work at Ivy Tech I learned invaluable strategies, theories, and developmentally appropriate practices to support the children in my care.  And I also found a true passion in myself for supporting young children by building authentic, respectful relationships with each child and their family.

I completed my Associate of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Ivy Tech in 2008. I then decided to build on this education and follow this new passion all the way to Mountain View, California to complete a year-long intensive Montessori Teacher Training program through Association Montessori International.

After spending two years in Montessori environments, I made the move from Mountain View, California about an hour north to San Francisco. There I began working as a nanny to a 2 year old child on the autism spectrum and his family. In that role I partnered with expert specialists and continued build on the base of knowledge acquired at Ivy Tech to learn how to respectfully, playfully, and successfully support children with a wide range of sensory and behavioral challenges. During this time, I also completed a mentorship-based Instructor Training program with the child safety organization, Kidpower, Teenpower, Fullpower International.

After nannying and offering personal safety classes to young children and their families for 3 ½ years, I began my current position as a teachers at play-based, special-needs inclusive preschool in San Francisco. I have worked as a teacher at this school for the last 4 years.  Here I have found inspiring colleagues to collaborate with and amazingly thoughtful families to partner with.

While working at this incredibly diverse and welcoming school, I have been the teacher to a child who is identified as a boy, and loves wearing skirts and dresses. As teacher, and an LGBT person, I know how important it is for each person in the school community to feel that they are seen and celebrated in that community. When I looked for a book to reflect this child’s experience though, I found many books that focused on the bullying that gender-creative kids can face, but no books that just simply and playfully offered the message, “Whatever your experience of gender is — you are an important and loved member of this community.” So with the support of my colleagues, administrators, and the families we serve, I began to create a book to contribute to filling this void in children’s literature.

imjayletsplay

Image from I’m Jay, Let’s Play website

It is because of the incredible support of this school community that I was able to find the encouragement and support needed to author and raise funds to fully publish my first children’s book, I’m Jay, Let’s Play.

I’m Jay, Let’s Play is a sweet story, about Jay’s morning at preschool playing with friends, that models gender fluidity as a normal and delightful part of the lives of young children. It will be available for sale in San Francisco Bay Area bookstores and online at Amazon.com as of June 1st — just in time for LGBT Pride month.

This professional journey has been so much more interesting, satisfying, and exciting than I could have ever guessed when I first enrolled for classes as a high school graduate at Ivy Tech 16 years ago. Though my path may have seen wandering at times, it is apparent now looking back that the love and passion I found during my coursework at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana for supporting and celebrating young children continues to provide me with a solid foundation and from which to grow, explore, and succeed as an early childhood educator in an ever-evolving field and world.

Warmly,

Beth Reichmuth

 

 

2 thoughts on “The professional journey of an Ivy Tech alumna and now author

  1. Good for you, Beth! Thanks for posting your story. It’s always great to hear about the success of our students.
    Deb Pierce
    Professor, Early Childhood program

    Like

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