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‘Everything is brand new’: Preschool instructional assistant puts passion for children in action

Angie Estes has always loved children, even since she was young herself.

“When I was 11 I said to my mom I was going to have 16 kids,” Estes, an instructional assistant at the Clark County Preschool, said.

While she later decided against having 16 children of her own, her love of young people remained unchanged, and Estes became a teacher, working with elementary students for six years before coming to the preschool where she’s spent the past seven years.

“My number one job is to keep them safe and comfortable,” Estes said. “Other than that, I do story time with them every day, monitor them and do small groups with them.”

Throughout the day, Estes and other teachers at the preschool work with the students to teach them the alphabet, numbers, their full names and other skills they need to progress on to kindergarten. She said the change in the students over the course of a single school year is astounding.

Estes said her favorite thing about working with preschool age children is that they are like “blank canvases.”

“They’re little sponges soaking up everything they see, she said. “Everything is brand new. They learn to stand in line, to share and have empathy for others.”

She said the best part of the school day is in the morning when the students arrive, because they are so excited to be at school.

“We do so much that by the end of the day the kids rest, and they’re ready to nap,” Estes said.

When she’s not working with students at the preschool, Estes said she enjoys watching University of Kentucky basketball and spending time with her twin grandsons.