Idaho AEYC Member Spotlight: Genii Reber

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Genii Reber is a junior at Boise State University pursuing a degree in multidisciplinary studies with an emphasis on early childhood intervention. She is the recipient of an IdahoSTARS academic scholarship.

Genii worked in child care during high school and started a degree in early childhood education at the College of Idaho before taking a detour into law enforcement. In her early 20s, she returned to her true passion of working with children – initially as a private nanny for families in the Boise area, then by starting her own in-home child care center when her son was born. Her program is verified at Step 2 of the IdahoSTARS Steps to Quality program, and she’s working toward Step 3 as well as NAEYC accreditation.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to continue to work and help support my family doing something I love while finishing my degree at the same time,” she said.

Why did you become an Idaho AEYC member?

I became a member of Idaho AEYC to connect with other like-minded professionals in order to grow as a person and as an educator. The journey has brought me much farther and impacted me much more than I initially thought possible. The key for me has been to remain open, willing to learn and constantly striving to find ways to improve my practices.

What Idaho AEYC benefit do you most value?

I highly value the Idaho AEYC conferences. The Professional Development Institute conference in Boise last June made an enormous impact on my view of high-quality curriculum and our profession in general. The workshops on emergent curriculum, outdoor preschools and nature programs were packed full of information and amazing new ideas. I came home invigorated and inspired to reevaluate my approach. I had never attended an Idaho AEYC event before, and due to the generous student scholarship offered by First Interstate Bank I was able to attend.

What do you like most about working in early childhood education?

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I love children, specifically their eagerness for life, their excitement for exploration and their unadulterated view of what matters in life. My job as an early childhood educator is to cultivate that curiosity and provide children with the scaffolding and tools needed to inquire about the parts of the world that inspire them the most. Yes, children need physical care, emotional support, consistency and someone to model what it is to be a good friend, but ultimately I aspire to spark imagination, hope, curiosity, invention and true lasting learning in the lives of the children I care for. The early childhood profession has so much potential for lasting impact, not just because of the rapid rate at which children are developing, but because it is early in life that children are learning how to learn, how to engage with their surroundings and how to go about making a mark on the world around them. Well-rounded care accounts for all aspects of the child’s being and supports the whole child not just their academic progress. We as early educators play a large role in determining how our students view themselves and the ownership they will take in their own education.

What is your favorite children's book and why?

Children’s books make my heart happy. Ask my husband – I cannot pass a box of children’s books at a garage sale without digging through it. We could start a library with the number of children’s books we have in our home. The book that has had the most impact in my life recently is “Owl Moon” by Jane Yolen. One of my professors read it to us in class my first semester at BSU. It wasn’t until later that I realized the story mirrored my own. Reading that book taught me how my journey in life has impacted the way I perceive the world around me and how precious it is to see life through the eyes of a child. There is so much possibility, promise and potential in life we often miss when we become stagnant in our ways of thinking. This makes it that much more important to protect the energy and enthusiasm of our children. Learning should never stop, and we can learn right alongside the children we nurture. They have as much to teach us as we do them.

We want to feature YOU!

Please take a moment to fill out our Member Spotlight application and let us know what inspires your work with young children and what Idaho AEYC membership means to you! Your responses could be included here, in our monthly email newsletter and on Facebook.