Sharon Valencia: 'This is where we're molding them to be the amazing adults they can be'
Seaside Child Development Center
Preschool teacher Sharon Valencia knows she’s in the right place working at Seaside Child Development Center with children ages three to five years old.
“This age group is very important; this is when they develop the most. The most important age is from birth to five years old. So, this is where we’re molding them to be the amazing adults they can be,” Sharon said.
Sharon says her work as a preschool teacher is incredibly fulfilling every day.
“They give you so much love, and you could be having a bad day, well you leave it at the door. When you go in there and all this love and affection, when I walk in in the morning all the kids run up to me and give me a hug and say 'good morning,'” said Sharon.
Her journey to working with preschoolers didn’t begin with a career path in child development. After moving to the Bay Area to pursue a career in nursing, she soon realized her passion was actually working with young children.
“As much as I loved doing nursing, I worked with children and I realized that’s where I get to make nurses, that’s where I get to make the doctors,” Sharon said.
Originally from Fiji, she and her family moved to Seaside when she was two years old. She says she can relate to many of the challenges migrant families face as they resettle and work hard to build a future on the Monterey Peninsula.
“I came from a low-income family. So, it’s really important to show that it’s okay to keep going, we can keep going, we can do it, whatever we put our goals to we can make it. So that’s what I want to keep giving out to our community,” said Sharon.
Sharon went to Seaside High School and later graduated from Monterey Adult School. She went to Monterey Peninsula College for an A.A. in early childhood development, earned a B.A. in family science from Concordia University and worked for Early Development Services in Monterey County for eight years before her current position with MPUSD.
“It felt really good because I’m actually the first one in my family to get any type of degree, a high school diploma, an AA and a bachelors…I learned so much in between everything and I realized that was my passion, that was my goal in life was to work with children,” Sharon said.
Sharon currently has a three-year-old daughter who attends Marina Child Development Center and is expecting her second child soon. She’s grateful for the opportunity to give back to her community.
“We’re full of love, we’re full of hugs, we’re full of silliness and we’re developing in many different ways with the children and our children are developing with us, as teachers as well,” said Sharon.