The Heart of a Teacher

Deepa Thankam is Celebrated by Students for Being Their “Mom-Away-From-Home”

Montessori Kids Universe Chester, which serves children from six weeks to six years old, becomes a home-away-from home to its students. Their teachers are beloved—and none more so than Deepa Thankam. 

The school recently honored her as “Teacher of the Year” for her dedication and commitment to the students. “She’s very helpful in all the classrooms and especially loves to hold the babies,” says Lamis Osman, director. “She’s reliable, dedicated and puts 110 percent into her craft every day. The children love her. They go home and talk about her and all the fun they had throughout their day." 

Thankam discusses her passion for teaching:

What do you love about your work?

I have been at Montessori Kids Universe Chester since September 2022 but have been in Montessori education for four years. The Montessori/Reggio education uses hands-on materials and firsthand experiences, which creates naturally goal-oriented students. I value this education because it provides an individualized, independent, hands-on approach to learning. The students have fun and follow their curiosity. They learn at their own pace and follow their interests, rather than focus on group learning or depend on activities that are initiated by the teacher. Rather than learning from books, the children have fun with interactive live learning. And I love working with kids.

What is your favorite memory?

Once, a five-year-old student called me “mom.” I thought it was a mistake, but he told me, “You are a mom in the classroom because you take care of me.” 

I do think of the students as my children. Parents are busy working so this is like a second home for them, a place where they are learning in every way: physically, mentally and socially.

What advice do you have for parents?

I have raised two boys, who are now 18 and 19. The time you get with your kids is precious, so spend time with them. When they come home, all they want is love and affection. Dedicate 30 minutes each day to give them undivided attention. Play with them, read them a story, ask them about their day. They want to hear you tell them that they are doing well. Children thrive on affection—they want hugs. 

When kids grow up, they won’t remember their toys. They’ll remember the quality time they spent with their mom and dad. What you do today are the memories they will have in their futures. 

Learn more at MontessoriKidsUniverse.com/Our-Schools/MKU-Chester.

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