Kindergarten teachers focuses on students’ academics and emotions

CHICAGO — When it comes to kindergarten, the lessons are little gems — they are simple but significant. The May Teacher of the Month embraces the opportunity and makes sure her students are off to a good start academically and emotionally.

Diana Rocuant teaches at Reilly Elementary on Chicago’s Northwest Side.

There’s story time and learning exercises, but just as important is the time she spends with her students simply sharing thoughts and emotions in "the peace circle."

“I want to make sure my kids feel that I’m hearing them, not just being here their teacher to teach them the skills but actually hearing what they are trying to say to me,” she said. “It’s important. I can’t move academically forward if my students are not there emotionally.  They need to be met those needs and if we can meet those needs then we can move forward academically.”

Award sponsor and attorney Ken Allen visited the classroom and presented Rocuant with a $1,000 check.

“I was so surprised, and it was a little bit of a shock. I love it. it’s my passion. I love kindergarten,” she said.

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