It’s not every student who follows in their preschool teacher’s footsteps, but that was the case for Child Development Services (CDS) Family Support Assistant Jacklynn Pacheco-Anaya .
When she was three-years-old, Jacklynn attended an early education program where Elena Flores was her preschool teacher.
“I don’t have a clear recollection of her at that time, all the adults looked the same to me,” explains Jacklynn, “but my parents said I was very shy and Elena soon got me dancing with the other kids.”
Jacklynn and her family kept in contact with Elena over the years. When Elena joined the CDS staff at Easterseals 10 years ago, Elena continued to visit.
Jacklynn says, “We had foster children with our family, and I would visit the school when we would drop them off. I enjoyed seeing Elena and all the teachers interact with the kids, and how all the staff were excited when the kids showed up for school. It brought back memories of how that made me feel comfortable when I went to preschool and made school a place I wanted to be every day.”
When it came time to find a job, Jacklynn reached out to Elena for opportunities at Easterseals. “I saw the impact adults could have on the kids and wanted to have a chance to have that same impact.”
As a Family Support Assistant, Jacklynn now is one of the first adults the kids see at school. “In addition to seeing Elena every day, I get to greet the kids and make school a happy place where they feel welcome.”
For back-to-school support, check-out our previous blog posts on “Back to School Basics” and “Advice for Navigating The Back-To-School Experience With Someone on the Autism Spectrum“.
Here are photos of Jacklynn from a book she made with Elena. Elena still makes books like this with her students.