EAST HYDE PARK

INFANT-TODDLER TEAM

PLAYFUL PANDAS (Infants)

east.infants@little-inspirations.com

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SPARKLE JENKENS - TEACHER

Hello! My name is Sparkle Jenkins. I've been working with children for 6 years. I'm currently pursuing my BA in Early Childhood Development at Ashford University. I obtained my CDA in 2017. As a teacher I believe I am responsible for providing infants, toddlers and young children a safe, nurturing environment where they can have positive learning experiences. I strive to model respect for children as well as their parents. Respect for children as well as parents is important for the child to have a great learning experience. Children are motivated to learn when they have opportunities to make choices in an environment that is enriching and stimulating. I believe children learn best through play. They learn through all their senses by tasting, touching, seeing, hearing and smelling. By watching and imitating people close to them, they learn language and behavior. This is why it is important to model the behavior you want the children to display.

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CARMEN MEZA - ASSISTANT TEACHER

Hi! My name is Carmen Meza, or Ms. Carmen if you please. I’m one of the Assistant/Substitute Teachers at Little Inspirations. I go from classroom to classroom to assist the Lead and Assistant teachers in anything they may need, so you may see me in different classrooms every other day. I have 2 years experience working in a childcare setting, but 5+ years in babysitting for friends and family. I was introduced to Early Childhood Education while in my Sophomore year in high school and since then I have enjoyed working with children and seeing all their little quirks and personalities develop. I am currently in school at Northeastern Illinois University to complete my B.A in Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in Bilingual Education (Spanish & English). The thing I love about ECE is seeing the development, and being able to play a part in those foundations to their future education is an amazing feeling. I just love to see that moment where they learn something new and are able to understand it. In my spare time you will find me attending college, listening to true crime podcasts and spending time with my family and my nieces and nephews (I have 7!). You will also find me babysitting my preschool-aged niece and middle school-aged nephew.

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LONDON CASON - ASSISTANT TEACHER (EAST INFANTS/TODDLERS)

Hello, my name is London Cason, and I am an Assistant Teacher for Infants/Toddlers! I recently graduated from National Louis University with a B.A. in Applied Educational Studies. However, one day I plan to go back to receive my B.A. in Special Education. Why Special Education? Because it has been a dream of mine to work with children with special needs, especially deaf/hard-of-hearing children. My disability is a big inspiration for that. I am hard of hearing myself, which sets me apart from the Little Inspiration staff in a big way! However, I don’t let my disability stop me from reaching my goals. Working with young children gives me such a high as an educator because every day is new. Every day I see growth in every child, and that growth is always celebrated in their learning. I choose to teach because of the simple fact that I want to help. I want to help grow their little minds and as well as grow within themselves. You will be surprised at how much growth happens within a month of an infant’s or toddler’s life! When I am not working, I am a daughter, big sister, aunt, and friend who loves to read, write, and just live life with a smile 😊 

TINY TURTLES (Toddlers)

east.todds@little-inspirations.com

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MOCHINIQUE JAMASON - LEAD TEACHER

In 2019, I graduated as an honor student from National-Louis University with a B.A. in Early Childhood Practice. I have been in the field of education since 2012, and have developed a set of skills that I take pride in. When it comes to nurturing the minds of young children, I feel most confident that I can provide families and children with adequate support as they partake in new learning experiences. As a mother of 3, I believe that it is most important for me to lead by example; therefore, I apologize when I am wrong, and I speak less and listen more when it is most appropriate for effective change. In doing so, I am giving my children and anyone I come across the best version of me at that time.

“In life, experiences will force you to self-reflect—that is when you do your best to accept accountability, modify yourself, and be who you truly aspire to be.” -Mochinique

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SHANICE SMITH - ASSISTANT TEACHER

Education: Pursuing a BA in Nursing. 5+ years experience in ECE

Tell us something fun about yourself: My family and friends nicknamed me “detective” because I can always find or figure out things given minimal details.

What do you love about teaching or early childhood? What I love the most about teaching ECE is being able to see a child develop and grow. I absolutely love to see when a child has grasped a concept and is eager to learn more.

What’s your favorite area of play and why? My favorite area of play for children, without a doubt, is dramatic play! This is my favorite because dramatic play gives children a chance to use their amazingly creative imaginations to place themselves in their own world of play. Dramatic play is also my favorite because it is a time where children can interact with other children freely.

EAST HYDE PARK

INFANT-TODDLER TEAM

PLAYFUL PANDAS (Infants)

pp@little-inspirations.com

Sparkle (2).jpg

SPARKLE JENKENS - TEACHER

Hello! My name is Sparkle Jenkins. I've been working with children for 6 years. I'm currently pursuing my BA in Early Childhood Development at Ashford University. I obtained my CDA in 2017. As a teacher I believe I am responsible for providing infants, toddlers and young children a safe, nurturing environment where they can have positive learning experiences. I strive to model respect for children as well as their parents. Respect for children as well as parents is important for the child to have a great learning experience. Children are motivated to learn when they have opportunities to make choices in an environment that is enriching and stimulating. I believe children learn best through play. They learn through all their senses by tasting, touching, seeing, hearing and smelling. By watching and imitating people close to them, they learn language and behavior. This is why it is important to model the behavior you want the children to display.

London Cason.jpg

LONDON CASON - ASSISTANT TEACHER (EAST INFANTS/TODDLERS)

Hello, my name is London Cason, and I am an Assistant Teacher for Infants/Toddlers! I recently graduated from National Louis University with a B.A. in Applied Educational Studies. However, one day I plan to go back to receive my B.A. in Special Education. Why Special Education? Because it has been a dream of mine to work with children with special needs, especially deaf/hard-of-hearing children. My disability is a big inspiration for that. I am hard of hearing myself, which sets me apart from the Little Inspiration staff in a big way! However, I don’t let my disability stop me from reaching my goals. Working with young children gives me such a high as an educator because every day is new. Every day I see growth in every child, and that growth is always celebrated in their learning. I choose to teach because of the simple fact that I want to help. I want to help grow their little minds and as well as grow within themselves. You will be surprised at how much growth happens within a month of an infant’s or toddler’s life! When I am not working, I am a daughter, big sister, aunt, and friend who loves to read, write, and just live life with a smile 😊 

SLIPPERY SEALS (Older Infants)

ss@little-inspirations.com

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ZAKIYA Brown-Lavigne - LEAD TEACHER

Hello! My name is Zakiya, Mrs.Kii if you please. I am so excited to be your child’s Preschool teacher and to be a part of their learning process! I graduated from MVCC with an Associates Degree in Elementary Education. I currently attend GCU for my Bachelors of Science with a special education endorsement and a minor in psychology. I am a wife, student, caregiver, teacher, and smile-promoter. I’ve always had a passion for developing young minds and helping children find new ways to navigate their environment. 

Since I was a child, I always remember babysitting my younger siblings and cousins; I truly enjoyed it. I grew up thinking I was going to be a psychologist. Even though I loved to teach others new information, I wasn’t really sure if that was something I wanted to do... until I started working with children with developmental disabilities; it was then I started to fall in love with teaching. I learned so much from the children. 

I volunteered for the special education program at my high school, alongside being a mentor for elementary students once I graduated. I worked at Moraine Valley as a student aide in the children learning center for my remaining 3 semesters. I love to see how children grow and evolve to the world and environment around them. The endless encounters and opportunities for development and responsibility at a young age is what mainly attracted me to Little Inspirations. I love how much space is given for them to explore their curiosity. Outside of work I love reading books, writing books, watching movies and just spending quality time with my loved ones.

unnamed.jpg

CARMEN MEZA - ASSISTANT TEACHER

Hi! My name is Carmen Meza, or Ms. Carmen if you please. I’m one of the Assistant/Substitute Teachers at Little Inspirations. I go from classroom to classroom to assist the Lead and Assistant teachers in anything they may need, so you may see me in different classrooms every other day. I have 2 years experience working in a childcare setting, but 5+ years in babysitting for friends and family. I was introduced to Early Childhood Education while in my Sophomore year in high school and since then I have enjoyed working with children and seeing all their little quirks and personalities develop. I am currently in school at Northeastern Illinois University to complete my B.A in Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in Bilingual Education (Spanish & English). The thing I love about ECE is seeing the development, and being able to play a part in those foundations to their future education is an amazing feeling. I just love to see that moment where they learn something new and are able to understand it. In my spare time you will find me attending college, listening to true crime podcasts and spending time with my family and my nieces and nephews (I have 7!). You will also find me babysitting my preschool-aged niece and middle school-aged nephew.

TINY TURTLES (Toddlers)

tt@little-inspirations.com

Mochinique.jpg

MOCHINIQUE JAMASON - LEAD TEACHER

In 2019, I graduated as an honor student from National-Louis University with a B.A. in Early Childhood Practice. I have been in the field of education since 2012, and have developed a set of skills that I take pride in. When it comes to nurturing the minds of young children, I feel most confident that I can provide families and children with adequate support as they partake in new learning experiences. As a mother of 3, I believe that it is most important for me to lead by example; therefore, I apologize when I am wrong, and I speak less and listen more when it is most appropriate for effective change. In doing so, I am giving my children and anyone I come across the best version of me at that time.

“In life, experiences will force you to self-reflect—that is when you do your best to accept accountability, modify yourself, and be who you truly aspire to be.” -Mochinique

Shanice.png

SHANICE SMITH - ASSISTANT TEACHER

Education: Pursuing a BA in Nursing. 5+ years experience in ECE

Tell us something fun about yourself: My family and friends nicknamed me “detective” because I can always find or figure out things given minimal details.

What do you love about teaching or early childhood? What I love the most about teaching ECE is being able to see a child develop and grow. I absolutely love to see when a child has grasped a concept and is eager to learn more.

What’s your favorite area of play and why? My favorite area of play for children, without a doubt, is dramatic play! This is my favorite because dramatic play gives children a chance to use their amazingly creative imaginations to place themselves in their own world of play. Dramatic play is also my favorite because it is a time where children can interact with other children freely.