This marks the first year that the Woodbury Chamber Commerce has added an outstanding pre-school educator to their annual awards, and the recipient of the new award is Emily Prendergast, 26, from the Primrose School. Prendergast has been at Primrose since May.
"It really makes me feel good that the parents have such faith in me," she said.
Working with young children wasn't necessarily something that Prendergast went to school for, she received her Bachelor's in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and her Master's in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but working with little kids was something that seemed like the right fit, Prendergast said.
During college, Prendergast worked for a daycare center and it was something that she loved doing. With her social work degrees, Prendergast was able to get a job at an adoption agency, but it turned out to not be what she wanted.
"I loved doing it, but I absolutely missed working with kids," she said. "I didn't have as much interaction as I thought I would and I totally missed it, so I decided I wanted to do something with kids."
Prendergast said working with the 11 2-year-olds in her early pre-school class is such an enjoyable job, she has a lot of fun.
"I just think its fun, they are so creative, they have the best imaginations," she said. "I love seeing when they learn something new."
Prendergast said her favorite part about working with such young children is the opportunity to see such creativity and vivid imaginations at work.
"My favorite part is when you can get down on the carpet with them and do whatever it is they are doing," she said. "Just listening to their imaginations."
Those vivid imaginations can pose some challenges when 11 2-year-olds all start running around the room playing, Prendergast said.
"They can definitely can get going," she said. "It's a challenge trying to get them all back on track a little bit."
For Prendergast, being positive and having a good attitude is one of the most important things when it comes to running a pre-school classroom.
"Staying positive and staying happy around the kids is an important thing," she said. "Just making sure that even if a kid is doing something that you don't like, don't be so negative about it."
In the future, Prendergast said she may look into gaining a background in education, but whatever she does she said she wants to keep going with pre-school.
"It's so fun to see how they've changed and know that you were there to help a little bit," she said. "It's great to see when they learn something new."