Soon after earning her undergraduate degree at Mount Saint Mary College, Rachel Pucino landed a job as a Teacher Assistant (TA) at a new Montessori preschool just around the corner from the Mount campus.
Pucino, a Newburgh resident, graduated this past spring with her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Psychology. Starting this semester, she began pursuing an MSEd in Childhood Education and Special Education at the college.
Rebecca Norman, associate professor of Education and Graduate Program Coordinator at the Mount, connected Pucino and other student candidates with the Newburgh Jewish Community Center (JCC) after they showed interest in hiring a Mount student for the TA position for their new preschool, Little Friends Learning Loft.
At the preschool, Pucino supports the various needs of each student throughout their school day. Her hope is to create an environment where both she and the children are learning and growing together.
"I have an amazing lead teacher to look up to who is excited to help me learn and we are both dedicated to helping children from our community grow into amazing students and individuals," she explained.
Pucino is grateful to Norman for advising and teaching her to be an impactful educator: "I have already learned so much information on how to become a successful teacher through her class," she said. "My experience at the Mount prepared me for real life experiences and educated me to be prepared for new job opportunities that would come my way, like this one."
Little Friends Learning Loft at Newburgh JCC encourages imaginative play and child-led learning through a nurturing environment founded on the Montessori principles of hands-on learning, self-discovery, cooperation, and independence.