Employee Of The Month: Lateisha Telfair
It was while working as a bank teller that Lateisha Telfair discovered what she wanted to do with her life. “I always had a love for children. Working at the bank, we had the opportunity to go to schools and volunteer and read stories to the children. Just reading to them and hearing them laugh and chuckle and getting feedback, I knew I would have to do this,” she said. Today, Telfair is head teacher for the Toddler 1 Class at NCC’s Community Hills Early Center in Newark. Hired in September of 2008, Telfair’s students range in age from 14 months to 30 months. A graduate of Newark’s West Side High School, Telfair prepared for her current position by taking courses at Essex County College leading to the CDA, Childhood Development Associate, which she received in 2000. The year-long program offers three courses that prepare students to take the national Childhood Development Certification (CDA) exam. The courses provide the theoretical and practical foundation for obtaining a CDA certification, which is necessary for working as a paraprofessional teacher in an early childhood classroom. “I got it while I was working at Kindercare,” Telfair said, noting she worked at the Newark childcare facility for about a decade with toddlers and children in the after-school
program before applying to Community Hills. Her day at Community Hills begins around 7:30 a.m. and she typically stays until 6:30 p.m. Center director Tawanna Brown said Telfair is nurturing to both the children and parents, and is “personable, pleasant and high-energy.” “She is a teacher who has the whole package,” Brown said. “Whenever we have
events going on, she’s our in-house cheerleader.” Tamesha Moore, the head teacher in the infant class, said when something needs to be done, Telfair can be counted on to jump right in and assist. “She goes beyond her job description to help others,” she said, pointing out how she helps feed the infants breakfast. According to Telfair, a lot of the teaching of the toddler age group is done through play. For example, she said children love the telephone, so it is used to teach everything from numbers and colors to dialing ‘911’ in an emergency and the children’s own phone number.
“We also use singing. Whatever it is you want them to do, you just put it into a song,” she said. “We also have this area called ‘dramatic play’ where the children can put on all different kinds of clothes and pretend to be somebody else. They love it when I dress up with them.” With two assistants and a foster grandmother assisting in her classroom, Telfair said
all 21 children are ensured of receiving the attention they need, noting the class is broken up into smaller groups. A carefully developed lesson plan dictates what the children learn each week. “They all definitely get one-on-one time,” Telfair said, explaining if a child is teething or just not feeling well, she can easily pick up on it. “Children have their own little worldand they give as much to me as I am able to give to them. They make my day every day,” she added.