Children at T.G. Givens Early Childhood Center have their own Mister Rogers.
Let me introduce Shawn Reeves, known affectionately at Givens as Mister Reeves. He’s every bit as good as the host on the popular children’s television show, “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.”
For several years, I’ve admired Shawn as he interacts with children in his role as enrichment teacher at Paris ISD’s pre-kindergarten center. And since the coronavirus pandemic closed down schools for the year, he has taken front and center almost daily in many of the school’s virtual learning experiences.
His passion for children can be seen as he takes them on virtual tours of the Cox Field Airport hanger, the Endangered Ark elephant sanctuary in Hugo and a local bee farm. His latest adventure took students to Justiss Elementary School, where he introduced them to a kindergarten classroom and the school many would attend next year.
Perhaps Shawn’s best work has been on Fridays at the Yee-Haw Corral, where he reviews the curriculum theme of the week. His animated personality is known to keep the interest of young children, and frankly, adults as well. To see examples of his work, check the T.G. Givens Early Childhood Center site on Facebook. You will be amazed, I guarantee.
During regular school, Mister Reeves has a field day with children in the Givens gymnasium or in the discovery center, in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) lab or outside in a learning area and music garden with its drums, chimes and various items for making sounds. All students spend 30 minutes daily as the instructor rotates through the different areas throughout the week.
Following is what my friend said about his job when I asked him to send me a summary of his thoughts about working with young children.
“Our students are still learning through play, so I always give them room to explore, make choices and develop their social/emotional skills,” Shawn said. “It is awesome to see students use their young minds to explore different methods as they find solutions to problems and obstacles. I also enjoy watching their imaginations and creativity blossom when they are given the opportunity.
“Children are as diverse as it gets. They each need the chance to learn and progress in the way that is best for them, especially at this crucial stage of their development. I love giving them the chance to actually experience as much as possible rather than just hear someone talk about it or watch a video. I guess I’m still a kid at heart because that’s how I learn best too.
Shawn emphasized that he never has a dull moment.
“I will say, there is never a dull moment,” he said. “All in all, I love my job as an early childhood educator. I have the privilege of sharing in the lives of these awesome children and I hope that their time with us during these formative years will help build the solid foundation and an excitement for learning that will continue for years to come.
A product of Paris ISD schools himself, Shawn has a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry with an emphasis in Recreation Management. After a few years away from Paris, he and his wife, Michelle, now a kindergarten teacher at Aikin Elementary, joined his mother, Judy Reeves, former Aikin teacher, in opening ABC Learning Center, which they operated 22 years before his mother retired and he and Michelle joined the Paris ISD faculty.
To say the least, the students at Givens are fortunate to have their own Mister Reeves.