Teacher Spotlight: Katie Tyndall, Covenant Christian School

April 6, 2021

Teacher Spotlight: Katie Tyndall, Covenant Christian School

By Kate Krieger-Watkins, staff writer.

Teacher Spotlight is a presentation of Shelby State Bank, with offices in Ludington, Pentwater, Shelby, Hart, Hesperia, Manistee, Montague, Whitehall, North Muskegon, and Fruitport. 

LUDINGTON – Following in her grandmother’s footsteps, Covenant Christian School, pre-k teacher and director of early childhood programs, Katie Tyndall always knew she wanted to become a teacher.

“I’ve had a love for teaching and children from a very young age,” she said. “My grandmother was a teacher, and I remember as a child playing school in her basement with all her teaching materials. It wasn’t until I was able to really get into a classroom and work with students that I quickly realized my passion within education was with the younger age group. Having that opportunity prompted my decision to pursue education as a career. Now, I have a job that I love and look forward to every day.”

Tyndall didn’t start her post-high school career as an education major, she actually decided to study business.

“I graduated from Mason County Central High School in Scottville,” she said. “Upon graduation, I obtained a bachelor’s in business from Ferris State University. After working and having various opportunities in education, and loving it I made the decision to go back to college and get a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Ferris State University.”

Before returning to Ferris for the second time, Tydall received a part-time position at CCS, which helped make her decision to study education that much easier.

“I have been with Covenant Christian School for eight years,” she said. “I began there as a part-time art teacher, along with substitute teaching, when needed. I was then hired as a long-term substitute teacher in the first and second grade classroom. Through this opportunity, I was prompted to return to college to obtain my bachelor’s in early childhood education from Ferris State University.”

Tyndall is in her fifth year teaching at CCS and she couldn’t be more happy that the experience has come her way. Not only does she get to teach the age group that she loves, but she also gets to help make decisions for the programming at the school as well.

“This will be my fifth year as a full-time teacher at CCS, and my second year as the director of the early childhood program,” she said. “The early childhood program (CCS Starters) offers half-day educational childcare for three year-olds and a full-day program for four to six-year-olds, both programs run Monday through Thursday.”

CCS offers play-based preschool programming and Tyndall said she enjoys this method of instruction because the students really start to guide their own education and learn what their likes and dislikes are through the method of play and instruction.

“I’m very fortunate to work in a program where our primary kiddos get to learn through play,” she said. “We have blocks, legos, a dramatic play center that changes regularly. We also go frequent our outdoor area throughout the day. We still learn to read and count to 100, but we approach it differently than more traditional classrooms. I wish this was more normal in other kindergarten classrooms. I think we have seen a shift with all the expectations put upon teachers and young children.”

Through the method of play, Tyndall’s students get a lot of hands-on experiences as well. She stated that through much of the hands-on experiences is where she really sees student’s discover new things and new ideas of how the world works, which is very beneficial in building a solid academic and social foundation.

“I went into early childhood education because I love working with young children,” Tyndall said. 

“I enjoy pouring into them both spiritually and educationally, laying that foundation for the rest of their academic career and lives to follow. Through the program at CCS, I get the opportunity to be with students for two years, their preschool and kindergarten years. 

“This is great for forming relationships with students and their families along with getting to know their learning style. We have a lot of fun in my classroom and use the Reggio Emilia Approach to learning, which leaves room for adaptation based on student-led, hands-on learning experiences. For example, during one of our lessons, we decided to build forts during our outdoor time. Venturing to the woods attached to our school’s playground, students had the opportunity to learn so much about working together and problem-solving, in such an alternative way, outside of the classroom. 

“This activity led to the exploration of different kinds of trees and writing opportunities which was partnered with the endless excitement that came with learning. This month, we are going to begin hatching chickens, which is one of my favorite experiences with the students. It’s so rewarding to see their anticipation grow as it gets closer and closer to hatch day. When we start seeing that first pip, their eyes light up with joy. This is why I love teaching. I get to facilitate an environment that brings joy and learning to students.”

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