Hi, good morning. This is Teacher Irene and teacher Linda's spotlight our staff on podcasts. And today we have Elsa Lewis. Hi Elsa.
Good morning. Hi.
So Elsa, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure. Well, I'm the youngest of four children. And I have five children. And I'm from Chicago. So I'm loving the cold weather we get now and then I've been working at the center as the Assistant Director for four years. And I've worked at the Center for 10 years prior to that when I was running the family childcare, home Education Network.
Fantastic. So Elsa, I have a question for you. And that question is, what did she buy? And then the last year that you really enjoyed?
Oh, well, with COVID The last year, literally, tomorrow is a year that I've been working from home. And it's so easy to shop from home on the internet, right? So I think, well, I could I could name something that I bought on the internet like children's books, which I love to buy. But I think my favorite thing that I acquired this year is our new dog. We have a dog named Simba. And he was a rescue at a rescue center that my daughter volunteered at. And this poor little puppy has gone through trauma. He's about seven years old. And he's gone through something because he's pretty frantic around people except for me, he has completely attached to me. And he's very cute. He kind of looks like a little gremlin. He's a terrier and poodle mix. And he filled us a spot, definitely for our family because we have been a dog family and lost our nine year old dog right at the beginning of COVID. So he filled a big spot and has made himself known. So I think he's my favorite purchase.
Oh, that's perfect. I love that. And then now teacher Linda has a second question for you.
I do. And I think it's wonderful that he's become so much a part of your family. You've inspired me to think about getting a dog in the near future, too. So thank you for that.
Oh, you bet they're great.
My question for you is what brought you to work at the Children's Center?
Oh, well, what brought me really is a who brought me. I met a former director of the Children's Center Arlene Rhine. I met her in 1984 when we were on the CAC committee together and CAC is the county actually was SCAC, the Southern California Association for the Education of Young Children. And that's like a sub branch, I guess I could say, of our national association, which the Children's Center is accredited by that association. So Arlene and I were on that committee together. I was at the Children's Center for meetings quite a few times I at that time, I was working at the lab school on campus, and just kept moving kept moving forward for all those years. Jeez, 37 years I think, at CSUN, through different programs, through the lab school through time, through the speech and language department doing all sorts of different teaching and administrating. And then I moved into teaching classes for UCLA Extension, always staying close to Arlene and all all the other string of professional early childhood professionals through SCAC, and doing workshops on campus for teaching staff. My background includes music, so I was doing early childhood music trainings for teachers, classroom teachers, but aren't necessarily musicians. And I just kept staying connected with Arlene and then I took some time away from the full time working and kept doing the part time to have five children. And when my youngest hit first grade, I decided to go back to work full time looking at you know, reaching out to all that string of professionals I knew and Arlene said, Hey, I need someone temporarily at the Children's Center for our family childcare, home Education Network. And at that time, I was you know, kind of funny, it was with five children and all their friends over I was sort of running a family childcare at my own home So I took that job Oh, pardon me, that's my dog. I took that job. And I ran that program for 10 years until we dissolved that program, basically due to some campus liability regulations and, and subcontracting. And then I had the opportunity to apply for the assistant director position, which I got. And I've been doing that for the last four years. So that's how I came to work at the Children's Center.
Oh, Elsa, thank you so much for sharing that. I mean, I've learned a lot about you that I didn't even know and what what a really great career you've had so far. And I know I think I can speak for all of us that we're so happy that you're with us, and that you're helping to guide us through what we're doing at the Children's Center. So thank you so much for joining us today.
It's been fun to go from colleges, to colleges to colleges. Now I started in childcare centers, in my Bachelor's at University of Kansas, but it's funny when I talk to you about it, I think, wow, I've always been in a college or upper education setting, helping grownups bring little lives forward. And parents bring little lives forward, which it really is part of me. I mean, I've told my 92 year old mother, thank you for being a foster parent, we took infants into our home as I grew up. So I took care of babies when I was six. And live babies not dolls, I put those down. So it's been interesting. My mom also was the office manager at the University of Illinois, their children's center on their campus. So, you know, full circle, I guess it comes around. And it's nice to hear myself say this out loud that I've really always enjoyed a university setting because of the education of every single person going on at the same time. And it's, it's inspiring to be in that, that group, that web. So thank you for having me.
Well, our pleasure. Thank you for coming. And we hope that you have a great day.