mindfulness activities for kids

At the heart of Oak Learners are the teachers that work with students every day to create an environment for the learners to excel with every project, task, and endeavor they complete. We wanted to interview some of our teachers to see their perspectives on their teaching field, get to know them better, and see what inspired them to become a teacher. This is the second interview we have done with teachers at Oak Learners, so if you missed the first one, check it out here! For this interview, we spoke with Emma van der Jagt, a teacher at Oak Learners wanting to share her experiences! Enjoy!


When and Why Did You Get Into Your Field?

(Emma van der Jagt’s response) – I started working with children when I was 15 years old. A large reason I began working with children was because I wanted to continue with the recreation and sports I enjoyed as I got older. These activities included camp, swimming, skating, hockey, etc. It was a really easy transition to becoming a camp counselor, swim instructor, and eventually, that led to running those programs and training staff. I also had a hard time in school and felt I could relate to children who may not feel as though they had a teacher who understood them or who could adapt to their learning styles. This is what led me to become an ECE to help children have a positive start to school! I love working with children and their families to find their voices as advocates for their learning as well as finding strategies and tools to help with everyday tasks.


Give an example of how you see personalized learning making an immeasurable difference in the life of a child or their family

(Emma van der Jagt’s response) – Personalized learning is important for all children as well as adults as we continue our learning journey throughout our lives. Being able to identify various learning styles and strategies as well as identifying specific goals and challenges is critical in a school setting. Learning is limitless and we can find so many ways to incorporate learning into play and everyday experiences. It is so important to expose children to many different opportunities to find their interests and dislikes, as well as to hear and experience many different opinions and feelings from their peers. This helps with the development of self-identification and self-confidence.

One of the most beautiful moments I hear about is when parents and their children sit down at the dinner table or have a long car ride and their children are beaming with excitement about something new they learned or accomplished. The more opportunities we provide for personalized learning, the more learning our children can share with us.


Has there been a teacher who made a difference in your life? Tell us about it!

(Emma van der Jagt’s response) – One of the teachers that made a difference in my life was my grade 1 teacher. After a less than enjoyable Kindergarten experience, she embraced me with open arms and focused on my strengths over my challenges. She also taught me how to knit which was a great strategy to use during moments when I wanted to fidget.

What are the most important traits for someone in your job?

(Emma van der Jagt’s response) – Finding joy in having a dynamic day, patience, being caring and nurturing, having a desire to learn every day, being adaptive to changing plans, enjoying challenges/problem solving, and having a sense of humour.
emma with ukulele

What passions or hobbies do you have? Do any make their way into your job?

(Emma van der Jagt’s response) – I love to play the ukulele and sing silly songs. There are so many amazing ways to bring learning and singing songs together. It is such a great feeling when our students can come out of their shells and be silly and belt out songs together.
I also love being outdoors and finding new ways to explore nature and our community. I get to spend time outside every day and see our environment through the eyes of children.

What brings you happiness while working?

(Emma van der Jagt’s response) – Being faced with challenges and working together to find solutions with an entire team! I love working with families, co-workers, and students to come up with strategies to create an enriching learning environment.

If you’re interested, Oak Learners has great day school and tutoring options. You can check out the day school where students learn all kinds of skills and build on them with personalized study habits. If you want personalized one on one tutoring online or in-person sessions as well, Oak Learners offers private tutoring here! Good luck with studying!



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Kelly Farrell

Kelly Farrell is the Founder and Director of Oak Learners. She is dedicated to supporting learners of all ages and abilities reach their goals and love the learning journey. Kelly’s philosophy of education is based in the understanding that every child has the capacity to excel and succeed when they are given the tools and taught the skills to help them on their journey.
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