Youngsters in Madison City Pre-Kindergarten Center surround their teacher, Elizabeth Parameswaran, who is the pre-K center’s “Teacher of the Year.” CONTRIBUTED

Pre-K Center selects Parameswaran as top teacher

MADISON – Although she has taught in numerous capacities, Elizabeth Parameswaran values early childhood education as her favorite. She is “Teacher of the Year” at Madison City Pre-Kindergarten Center.

“I love the inquisitiveness, desire to learn and playfulness of our pre-kindergarten children,” Parameswaran said. For the child’s first educational experience, the center’s staff “strives to provide hands-on learning activities that inspire curiosity and problem-solving skills, improve attention and develop a lifelong love of learning in every child.”

“Growing through interactive play, guided discovery, multimodal instruction and collaboration provide the foundations for the magic of pre-K,” Parameswaran said.

Before her four years with Madison pre-kindergarten, Parameswaran taught pre-K through first grade at Premier Preschool, 12 years; Huntsville Achievement School, one year; and RISE Early Learning Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, four years.

For Madison pre-kindergarten, Parameswaran serves with the after-school program and as committee member for celebrations and budget; guiding coalition leader; and service project coordinator.

Parameswaran loves the subject of science for its valuable lessons for all ages. “This realm of education offers opportunities to develop understandings about physical properties of matter, attributes of living things and our everchanging world,” she said.

Although many worry that youngsters do not ‘get’ the science behind the experiment, the goal is to encourage investigations through experimentation, she said. “My mom even sewed a special science bag with only female scientists to inspire the class’ girls into more STEM-related fields.”

The children engaged wholeheartedly in ‘Skittles science’ and layers of liquids. “In Skittles science, children employ mathematical skills to create patterns with Skittles on a white plate. We then discuss the experiment’s possible outcomes before pouring warm water over the plate,” Parameswaran said.

“Water caused the color and sugar to ‘dissolve’ and ‘diffuse’ into beautiful rainbows. A few children remembered the scientific verbiage; everyone was awed by the project,” Parameswaran said.

Parameswaran’s class re-created the experiment with additional factors, like adding sugar. They formed new hypotheses related to their prior knowledge, she said. For an experiment about liquid density, they poured liquids (honey, soap, vegetable oil, among others) into two clear glasses, one with step-by-step sequences versus “all willy-nilly.”

This experiment “demonstrated how following directions would lead to success.” Students dropped in various materials into the solution, showing materials sank differently based on weight, she said.

“The verbiage of science rang throughout the classroom as knowledge and understanding grew. Through supporting four- and five-year-olds’ curious nature, exponential exploration and learning takes place,” Parameswaran said.

Parameswaran earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky.; master’s degree in differentiated instruction (concentration, autism spectrum), UAH; and certifications — early childhood education, elementary education, collaborative education (K-6).

Husband Sukesh Parameswaran works as Area General Manager for Sodexo at UAH and Oakwood University. Their adult children are Anthony, 27, who works for Army AvMC and is married to Alexandra; Kiran, 20, University of Alabama student; and Kasi, 18, Sparkman High School graduate who works at Bill Penney Toyota.

Like many MCS families, the Parameswarans have international connections. Sukesh was born in Malaysia. The Parameswaran family has traveled to India, Malaysia, Singapore and other countries.

“We love new experiences, historic sites, delicious cuisine and exploring little-known destinations. Wherever we go, my poor husband must endure my wildlife/animal (interest) — tigers in Jacksonville, alligators in Alabama and, ironically, squirrels in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s zoo,” Elizabeth said.

She also enjoys reading, yardwork, walking, hiking, movies with family and cooking.

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