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Mrs. Jen Terry – Cedar Ridge Elementary School

My youngest son has had the opportunity of being in Mrs. Terry’s kindergarten class this year. He has absolutely loved going to school each day and thrived in her care. As a mother of five and former teacher myself, I’ve been able to work with many teachers over the past twenty years. Mrs. Terry is certainly one of the best teachers I’ve had the privilege to know and is very deserving of recognition. It’s hard to describe all Mrs. Terry does in a few paragraphs, but I’ll begin with first impressions. When you walk into her classroom you immediately wish you were in kindergarten again and could stay all day. (This is partly why I volunteer to help in her class!) If you can imagine what it would be like to walk inside a favorite storybook you can begin to visualize her classroom. Every square inch is organized and filled with color, art, activities, books, book characters and of course the children’s work proudly displayed. A wonderful artist herself, Mrs. Terry has created a children’s workshop where every nook and cranny is beckoning (and encouraged) to be explored. As children enter the room they are often greeted with soft, upbeat music. It’s apparent the children feel loved, comfortable with the routine, and anxious to see what Mrs. Terry has planned. Parents are always welcome in the classroom and often come in to help with hands-on activities. Mrs. Terry also loves children’s books and her enthusiasm and knowledge of books is contagious. She is happy to share her library of children’s and parent resource books with all of us.

Mrs. Terry refers to her students as “my kids” and her love for her students extends beyond the classroom. I recently saw her attending a dance recital for one of her students and I know she is often invited and always happy to attend her students’ extracurricular events. Older students she has taught over the past fourteen years still come back to her classroom to visit because of their lifelong connection.

One of my favorite things about Mrs. Terry is what she has taught me this year. As an advocate for children, she cherishes childhood and stresses the importance of allowing children to progress and bloom at their own rate. She not only teaches our children, she also teaches us as parents to enjoy this magical stage with our children. A favorite quote of hers from Rousseau states: “Hold childhood in reverence, and do not be in any hurry to judge it for good or ill … Give nature time to work before you take over her tasks, lest you interfere with her method.” She gently reminds us to savor the experience of childhood alongside our children. A recent note home encouraged children to make snow angels, jump in mud puddles, walk in the rain and ask lots of questions.

The children’s homework backpacks are filled with fun games and activities that encourage interaction between parent and child. I can’t imagine how much time she must spend preparing kits that make it easy for busy parents to sit down with their child and have fun learning and playing together.

The other day at parent teacher conference I watched my son’s face glow with pride as Mrs. Terry celebrated his accomplishments so far this year. When asked if there is anything he dislikes about kindergarten his quick response was, “When I have to leave.” I’m grateful for Mrs. Terry’s dedication and for her help in reminding me to savor this time with my son.

-Jaime Clement

Mrs. Terry brings her passion for art, books, and learning into the classroom. She cares for each of her students and works with each one to insure they are learning. She makes each day exciting and interesting – full of new things and new ways to think.

She always gives more than is required in effort, time and love for her students. I learn so much from observing the way she teaches. Mrs. Terry deserves an A+!

-Cortnie Graham, an aide at Cedar Ridge