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What Do You Value? – by Eliut Morales

Ms. Angel poses with a preschool boy in foam superhero masks

Ms. Angel poses with a preschool boy in foam superhero masksAt the Community Center, we understand the importance of teaching children skills to help them succeed. While some of our programs such as Creative Writing, Sewing, and Mixed Martial Arts teach children various hands-on skills, our Preschool program teaches children values that stay with them through adulthood. Lead Preschool Teacher, Arely Angel, sat with us to talk about her experiences at home and how they’ve helped her in the classroom.

When children are entering their preschool age, their minds are at a stage where they absorb information and behavior they see at home or in school. “I believe children are curious and accepting by default, but the values they learn at home are what shape them most,” said Angel. She pointed out that as parents, it’s important to realize that teaching children values and beliefs is not the same as forcing them upon them. “I want my children to follow their own beliefs. They know that even though sometimes we may not agree on everything, they are free to express themselves freely,” said Angel.

“I believe the way to get children to believe in or value something is not by forcing it upon them, but instead teaching them why you value these things and let them ask questions,” Angel added.

We live in a very diverse community. Whether it’s at school or at public places like parks, children will always be exposed to different cultures and beliefs. Angel brought up the subject of respect, and how even though people are raised under different circumstances, we must respect everyone else’s values. “It’s our responsibility as parents to teach our children not to be judgmental of others based on what they look like, what language they speak, or who they choose to love,” she commented.

As diverse as our community is, whether we see it or not, discrimination and inequality are present. Angel mentioned that she watches documentaries with her children at home about what life is in different parts of the world to make them aware of different lifestyles and cultures. “Our community has become more open and affirming, but I watch these documentaries with my kids to show them how discrimination affects people’s lives,” she added.

“As a Lead Preschool Teacher, I’m able to connect with families from many different backgrounds. When they enroll into our program, I accept the trust they give us to teach their children lessons that will be important to them later in life. A child’s mind is easy to mold, and it’s my job as a parent and an educator to help them become respectful and loving towards others,” Angel concluded.

Arely Angel is the Lead Preschool Teacher for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at a.angel@manassasparkva.gov

Eliut Morales is the Writer/Content Specialist for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at e.morales@manassasparkva.gov.

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