Early Learning Center Teacher Spotlight: Dawna Finnern
It’s the excitement of learning at the heart of Dawna Finnern’s love of teaching, and if you step into her classroom, you can see it in action. Slime with hidden gems. Circle-time songs and friendship connections. Letter bingo. Glitter crown creations. Building blocks of all sizes. A play-based setting that encourages discovery and confidence.
“This is the time that kids are first exposed to school. We want to make sure they develop a love of learning,” says Dawna. “They are so excited to greet me every single day. It really shows them how important relationships with teachers are.”
Nine years ago, Dawna joined the staff at the Edina Early Learning Center. Currently, she is the lead teacher for two pre-Kindergarten classes and a weekly multi-age preschool class. These classes include an Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) component, allowing for more connection for Dawna and her students and their families.
“With ECFE, we really get to know the families pretty well. It adds a comfort for the kids, plus it brings a feeling of community,” she says. “When our early learners have both comfort and community, they are able to participate in activities that they may or may not have chosen to do otherwise. We call it ‘our little school family’.”
The ECFE class allows parents to join their child in the classroom and time for important parent-only discussion.
“There is a sense of community here. I truly value family and this is a place that feels like family,” says Dawna. “I really love teaching at the Early Learning Center.”