Job shadow: University’s Children Center

Sophomore Abby Frederick says she would like to have a big family with two to three children someday.

Right now, her life is different than that far away dream – she works with about a dozen 2-year-olds at the University Children’s Center.

Frederick starts her day at the Children’s Center at 7:45 a.m. She is the student helper for Nancy Ryba in the Fireside Room.

“Whatever she needs, I’m there,” Frederick said. “There are days that can get really stressful sometimes – and intense, but you do learn a lot from the kids.”

Frederick said this is the best job on campus, because it is close to her classes. She is a music education major and plans to be a teacher, so she said she needed a job that would help her develop patience.

“People think it’s an easy job to play with kids all day,” Frederick said. “It’s harder than people think … We have to make sure they don’t get hurt and stop fights.”

She is also in charge of helping parents when they drop off their children. Frederick said there are days when children will have a hard time saying goodbye to their parents, so she tries to encourage them to play with toys or get them to focus on other stuff.

Frederick has a routine for her Monday and Wednesday shifts, which is very helpful for the children, she said.

“They know what to expect and what to do,” Frederick said. “So the kids don’t get scared when they get here.”

She always wears comfortable clothes, knowing that she will have to get down on the floor or sand to play with the children.

First she has a play time with them until 9:30 a.m. Then, while Ryba reads a book to the children, Frederick and another helper set up for breakfast.

During breakfast Frederick said it is important they eat with the children to encourage them to eat all their food and eat healthy. Afterwards, she makes crafts with the children. Her day usually ends at 11:30 a.m. while the children are playing outside in the park or on the indoor playground.

“There is no real break,” Frederick said. “It’s always go, go, go with the kids.”