Early educator

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Teacher Linda Wayne has worked at The Children’s Center for 22 years. -- Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

More than 20 years ago, Albert Lean Linda Wayne struggled as she transitioned her son from wearing diapers to using the toilet.

Linda Wayne helps two of her students sort through Legos Friday in her classroom at The Children’s Center. Wayne enjoys teaching the children during play activities. -- Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Little did she know at that time that potty training and taking care of 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-year-old-children would become her full-time job.

Now, along with other duties, she potty trains day in and day out as a teacher at The Children’s Center, 605 James Ave.

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“A lot of teachers would rather do diapers than potty training, but I don’t mind,” said Wayne, a teacher in the Moonbeam Room. The preschool names its classrooms after objects in the sky, such as Rainbow Room and Starlight Room.

With the help of parents, Wayne has potty trained dozens — if not hundreds — of children.  The key, she said, is consistency.

Every hour to two hours, if not more, she encourages the children to sit on the toilet. The toilets at The Children Center look like regular adult toilets, only smaller and lower to the floor.

Linda Wayne ties the shoe of a student Friday in the Moonbeam classroom at The Children’s Center. -- Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

She said she and the other teachers strive to help parents in their goals with their children, and not to take their place.

“They’re all different,” Wayne said. “Some are real easy, some are medium and some are much harder.”

Wayne said she started working for The Children’s Center 22 years ago. The last six years she has worked in the Moonbeam Room.

A former stay-at-home mother, she said she always wanted to work with children.

“I like playing with the kids,” Wayne said. “I love to be on the floor and play with the kids — playing with blocks, reading to the kids.

The Children’s Center teacher Linda Wayne plays with her students after lunch time Friday in her classroom. — Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

“They’re special. They’re our little future that I can see in them.”

At 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years old, the children are learning to share and to take turns.

She said she loves going to the park with the children in warm weather and enjoys cooking with the children once a week, among many other activities.

Though her job does have its challenges, she said she still is able to call it fun. She diligently works to make sure she pays attention to each child in her class.

“I like to go home thinking, ‘Have I talked to every child today?’” she said.

She said she appreciates her job and her co-workers.

“We have a great team,” Wayne said. “We all help each other.”

In her spare time, Wayne said she enjoys camping with her husband, reading and traveling.