Pamela Davis is a teacher in the four-year-old room at Carolina Child Development Center. She and her co-teacher, Susan Stewart, work to prepare the children for kindergarten. Davis has worked in a day care environment for the past thirty-one years. She is now caring for the children of children she kept as four year olds.
Q: How long have you been working at Carolina Child Development Center (CCDC)?
I have worked here since December of 2002.
Q: Had you worked in childcare before coming here?
Yes. When I was at home my father was the pastor for the Church of God of Prophecy in Selma. When I was in high school we opened Tender Loving Care daycare in Selma that was part of the church. I started working before and after school there when I was in high school and then I got married and my mother-in-law’s family owned Doris’ Daycare in Pine Level, so I joined the family business. They owned two centers. I worked there for twenty-something years.
Q: What ages do you work with now?
Now I work with four-year-olds. For the past ten years I’ve been with the preschool program. In the family business I was an assistant director and director of the after-school program. I was the preschool teacher in the fall when school was in, and then during the summer I was the full time after-school director. I have worked with all ages.
Q: Are four year olds your favorite age?
Yes. Well, I love them all, but the four-year-olds are my favorite to work with. I just love kids. I love to see them learn. Watching them; at four years old they are just developing those school readiness skills so rapidly. They are maturing and developing those relationships and friendships.
Q: Do you have children yourself?
I have two incredible sons and a wonderful daughter-in-law. I have Lance, a 29-year-old, who is married to Jessica and they have a little one-year-old girl, Ava Marie. I also have Hunter, who is 14 and in high school.
Q: Have you ever wanted to work outside of childcare?
I did once. I was a secretary for a vice president of a company for about three years. I loved the job, but my heart was always with the kids. I also really liked being able to get out. I don’t like sitting still, so I would always volunteer to run any errands I could. When you work in day care you go in and out a lot.
Q: Who are some of the children that have stuck with you over the years?
This daycare used to offer more therapeutical services here. We had a little boy who came here who was autistic. He’s been one of the highlights for me. When he came here he was four and he couldn’t express himself; he couldn’t talk at all. Because he couldn’t communicate he would act out in angry ways. I guess he was the biggest challenge, but it was so rewarding to see how far he came.
I’m a teacher who tells the children all the time how much I love them. If they don’t know they’re loved... it’s the most important thing. Before he left he was able to say “I” and “love” and then he’d throw his arms around me. He couldn’t say “love” before he left, but he did learn to sign it (using American Sign Language) before he left. He’s in a school program now. Just seeing how he was able to get past the anger once he could express himself. He was so happy; just a different child by the time he left. Teaching him with love and understanding made such a difference to him. We’ve had many autistic children here. I enjoy the challenge of working with the children with special needs.
Q: Have you seen many changes with children over the years?
Yes. It seems that there have been so many changes. Children know how to do things now that years ago we never thought they could do. We’ve learned now to test their limits. Sometimes you challenge them and they’ll meet the challenge and go on to the next step. It’s so rewarding to see.
Q: What do you think has drawn you to working with children? Did you have younger
siblings that you helped take care of?
I do have a younger sister, but I really think it’s God. God put a calling on my life to work with children and young people. I’m the youth director for our church. I wake up every morning thanking God that He saw many children. They are a gift from God. There is nothing in the world like the love you feel from a child.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of working with children?
I love gardening and painting birdhouses. I’m taking two classes with Johnston Community College. I try to take two per quarter for my associates degree in early childhood education.
Q: What makes you most successful as a teacher?
I love singing. It’s how I get the kids attention and often how I teach. I’ve made up songs to teach things like the order of the planets. The kids practice while we’re waiting for things. We have color songs to teach the kids how to spell the colors. You get the kids on the carpet and praise them in songs and they love it! It’s just the fun and joy of singing. I love to watch them learn.
I also like to act as an example for the kids. I love the artistic aspect of trying to help them see the details in things. It’s neat to show them how to draw something and watch them copy what I’ve done and make it their own. When they draw a person at four we try to help them!
Correspondent Holly Lock