In Rebecca Sedor’s pre-kindergarten class at Nunaka Valley Elementary School, excelling socially is just as important as improving scholastically.

"The most important thing is they're (students) learning how to socialize,” explained Sedor. “Social-emotional learning is probably the biggest part of my classroom. It’s teaching us all how to live with each other.”

Sedor has a lot of experience helping little kids get along. Prior to teaching at Nunaka Valley, she ran an in-home childcare and worked at a Montessori school. In fact, her Montessori background plays a big role in her teaching. The lesson plan often involves a healthy dose of play time.

“Maria Montessori always said that a child's work is their play. Which is why we call it work in this classroom,” said Sedor.

With a pleasant personality and calm demeanor, Ms. Sedor feels right at home in the classroom. She was encouraged to pursue a career in teaching four years ago while working at an accounting firm.

"I was working in an office and every morning I would walk in and say ‘good morning!’ And, no one would turn and say good morning from their cubbies or their little cubicles," explained Sedor. "And my boss came to me and said, I think kids are missing out. I think you should be in a classroom.”

Experience and natural ability to teach aside, Sedor says it’s her love of her students that drives her to succeed.

"How much joy I get from being around the children. They're my best teachers. If I'm ever having a not-so-great day, I can just sit down and say ‘wow I don't feel very well today.’ And I get five friends who say, ‘oh, would you like a hug?’”

Sedor has now taught at Nunaka Valley Elementary School for four years and has been Montessori certified for 10 years.