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Staff Spotlight: Ada Aponte

2018 Recipient of the Ruby Marrero Rising Star Award

by Shawn Deiter

Children reach many exciting milestones throughout their development. As an assistant infant teacher for LVCC at South Mountain in Allentown and a mother of three children, Adelaidalinz Aponte—also known as Ada—has seen many babies roll over for the first time, say their first words, take their first steps, and more.

Ada, as an assistant infant teacher, plays an important role in child development. She assists the lead teacher in expanding on the child’s knowledge of the world by providing developmentally appropriate learning experiences. She builds an infant’s emerging language through singing songs and reading picture-filled storybooks. The gentle cuddles while rocking the babies to sleep encourage secure attachments with adults, crucial for forming healthy relationships later in life. Ada helps the younger infants build their muscles during floor time by pedaling their legs as if riding a bicycle. Her classroom also has a toy piano that she lays next to the infants. The more they kick the piano keys, the more music it plays.

“I try to keep it fun, simple and silly,” Ada said.

Ada has been taking online classes through Keystone College. She completed her Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate and made dean’s list this past summer, and is now working diligently toward an associate’s degree in early childhood education—all while working full-time and raising her family.

“I went back to school for my kids, to give them a better future and teach them the importance of a college education,” Ada said. “After I finish, I hope to become a head teacher for one of the LVCC at South Mountain classrooms and work my way up the career lattice.”

Ada’s commitment to her continued education and career is what earned her LVCC’s 2018 Ruby Marrero Rising Star Award. The award commemorates the same spirit of dedication and passion for children embodied by the award’s namesake, a beloved teacher from LVCC’s Judith Chase Early Learning Center whose untimely passing left a hole in the hearts of LVCC staff and families.

“Ada worked hard with the support of her family and the staff from LVCC at South Mountain to further her education,” said Jenna Miller, Ada’s center director. “I am so proud of what she has accomplished.”

In the infant room, Ada has found many opportunities to apply lessons from her college courses. While learning about sensory processing in a special education class, she designed a sensory development lesson plan. She encouraged babies to discover by using their senses. She filled re-sealable storage bags with liquid hand soap and items of the same primary colors—toy cars, crayons, and other small objects. She also added letters to spell out the color. The infants played with the “sensory bags” while sitting up to help them practice maintaining their balance. Ada spelled out the colors and pointed out the names of the items in the bags (in both English and Spanish). By introducing the babies to different textures, colors, and sounds, Ada helped them build on their cognitive skills.

During her ten years of employment with LVCC, Ada has worked with several different age groups. This requires an adaptable skill set to ensure the activities she teaches are developmentally appropriate for the children in each age group. One thing Ada has found, however, remains the same with every age level… the importance of consistency. Keeping a consistent schedule for meals, classroom activities, bedtime routines, even daily drop-off/pick-up times for childcare, can greatly affect a child’s behavior.

“When kids know what to expect, they feel safer and make better choices,” Ada said. “I encourage families to keep their child in a regular routine starting from infancy.”