By Keshia Maximo
Samantha Baybayan is the head preschool teacher at Seagull Preschool at Mauna Lani. Her preschool enrolls children from ages two through five years old. Students do not have to be toilet trained to enroll; they learn to use the bathroom through the examples of the other children. She and her aide teach a class of 20 children. All classroom furniture is child sized.
The routine at Seagull Preschool is as follows: Breakfast from 6:30 to 8:30; Outdoor play from 8:30 to 9:30; Story time and circle time from 9:30 to 10:00; Free time from 10:00 to 11:00; circle time at 11:15, then Lunch from 11:15 to 12:00. Children learn to brush their teeth from 12:00 to 12:15, followed by another story time and naptime from 12:15 to 2:15. When they are all rested, there is snack time from 2:15 to 3:00 then playtime until their parents pick them up from 3:00 to 6:00. It is a long, 12 ˝ hour day that must be covered by a staff of eleven. Seagull Preschool enrolls a total of 70 children, Most of their parents work at the various hotels along the Waikoloa coast.
Since quiet discipline is necessary for a preschool to operate properly, there are special techniques that the teacher utilizes daily. For example, if a child misbehaves, Samantha uses redirection, which engages the child in another activity that will keep him/her busy or distracted. A crying child needs to be comforted on a one-to-one basis, so it takes a lot of multi-tasking to keep the other children in the class under control and safe. If a child becomes sick or has an accident, the teacher keeps the child calm, cleans him up, and calls his parent to let them know that his child are sick and should be taken home.
Children do indeed say the funniest things! While listening to the radio for a civil defense message, the song, “Smack That,” was aired. A student who knew all the words and started dancing to the song entertained her and the staff. And then there was the comment made by a little girl whose cute skirt Samantha admired: “Aunty, if you want one, you need to grow small.” It’s no wonder that Samantha loves going to work. She knows everyday will be a totally different and fun experience.
Samantha graduated from Waiakea High school in 1999, and then went to the Hawaii Community College, where she majored in early childhood education. Before working at the preschool, she was a hostess at the Fairmont Orchid Hawaii Hotel. She is married to Darryl Calicdan. Her memories include the football games, the quad, too many students at recesses, and lots of friends. Her sister, Chevy Jo Baybayan, is also a Waiakea High School graduate.