My name is Kashia (pronounced Kay-sha). For as long as I can remember, I have always loved children (and of course, the babies too!). When just a kiddo myself, my favorite game to play was “house” where I was always a mommy who cared for the other children. Growing up in my mom’s family child care home provided me with invaluable experiences of working with children of various ages. I first babysat when I was 10 years old and once I became old enough, I substituted for my mom, caring for up to seven children at one time.
When I graduated from high school I decided to attend Colorado State University (CSU) and double major in Business Administration and Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), with HDFS focused on my passion, children and their families. Toward the end of my freshman year I began working at Respite Care, a facility that cares for children from infant until age 21 with developmental disabilities. Here I worked with children with challenges ranging from Asperger’s syndrome to traumatic brain injuries and gained training ranging from lifting and transferring children to giving children G-tube feedings. During the 2nd semester of my sophomore year I did my practicum at The Sunshine House in the infant room, gaining supervised experience on effective ways to work with infants. During the summer after my sophomore year the opportunity arose for me to become a shared nanny for a 3 month old girl and a 9 month old boy. Having always wanted to experience being a nanny, I chose to quit my other jobs and become their nanny. Being their nanny for 2 years was one of the best experiences of my life. I have lots of great memories of going to parks, the library, farm, and just hanging out and having fun.
The summer before my last semester at CSU I did my internship at The Farm at Lee Martinez Park. Through this experience I learned about planning activities and programs for children along with learning a lot about farms! As my internship ended the two little ones that I watched no longer needed my care. Although I was very sad to no longer care for them, I was excited to start caring for an 8 month old boy that fall. That December I graduated Magna Cum Laude (in the top 4% of my class) from CSU with my two bachelor’s degrees. As soon as I graduated I became a full-time nanny for the little boy that I was caring for along with his 3 year old brother. I continued to love being a nanny, but longed to work with a small group of children. Working with a small group of children would allow me to continue building close relationships with young children, but would also allow me to help children develop socially, a critical developmental skill that is sometimes hard to address as a nanny. Thus Caterpillar’s Leaf was born.
My HDFS degree qualifies me as an Early Childhood Teacher (formerly Group Leader), allowing me to teach in centers. Although I am qualified to teach in a center, I decided to provide high quality family child care and preschool for children in a small group setting. This allows more intimate relationships to be formed between myself and each child along with more consistent relationships to develop between children. A consistently small group of children will not only help children learn how to interact with other children, but will allow them to learn how to make and maintain friendships effectively. In following Attachment Theory (from theorists such as John Bowlby), I believe when children have secure attachments with their caregivers (in contrast to insecure-avoidant, insecure-resistant, and disorganized), they are able to use their caregivers as a secure base for exploration of their environments. When children feel safe in their environment, they will spend more time exploring and learning the necessary skills for healthy development. This is why attachment is a central element in the care I provide.
While I still love working with groups of children, at this time I am focused on being a stay at home mom with my soon to be 4 year old daughter. Currently I am looking to work with one family whose children are aged three or older. We plan to homeschool, thus Caterpillar’s Leaf is in the process of transitioning from my preschool and child care website to a blog about our homeschooling adventures.