Helena Magazine

Schools Q&A: Laken Roper – Kindergarten teacher at HES

Published 1:08 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2022

How long have you been a kindergarten teacher at HES?
This year will be my fourth year of teaching kindergarten at HES.

What brought you to HES?
While on my journey of pursuing a degree in elementary education, I had the privilege of being mentored by some pretty incredible educators and administrators at Helena Intermediate School. There, I completed my student teaching where I was placed in two fifth-grade classrooms. This experience left a place in my heart that was unforgettable. I loved the school, the students, and the community. My hopes were to earn a teaching position at one of the Helena schools where I knew my daughter and I would be surrounded by positive, caring and supportive people…After a last-minute call from a friend, letting me know there was an opening at Helena Elementary School teaching kindergarten, I took a leap of faith and applied for the position. I was a nervous wreck at first, thinking about the transition from teaching fifth graders to teaching kindergarteners, but I felt led to go for it. I am so glad that I did because I got the job, and I have been there ever since, loving what I do.

What are some things your students do that make you smile?
As a kindergarten teacher, there are unlimited amounts of things that my students do that make me smile. From their sweet little faces to the hilarious stories they share, to the numerous compliments they give me throughout our day, or the trinkets they bring me from home, they always put a smile on my face. On top of that, seeing my students get excited about school and eager to learn will forever put the biggest smile on my face. That is what is so rewarding about what I do!

What is your favorite part about teaching at a Helena school?
I love how our school is not just a school. We strive to involve the Helena community as much as possible. With the help of our PTO and community volunteers, we host various activities and events for our students to enjoy with their families such as a “back to school bash,” a “spring fling,” a “boosterthon fun run,” as well as a few others. It is all for the kids; seeing them light up and get excited about our school events is what makes it all worth it and memorable.
This is what makes everyone come together as one big husky family, and what makes teaching at a Helena school so great!

Why are the kindergarten years so important for children?
Kindergarten is a year that is so important for children. It is one of the most critical years for a child’s early development. It provides many opportunities to build on their social and emotional learning skills as well as their language and cognitive skills. It is the foundation, the building blocks of a child’s education experience. In my kindergarten classroom, I feel that it is important to provide my students with opportunities for exploration and play-based learning with their peers.