A Trip to Let It Shine
— written by Sharon Messmann, LSEM teacher/coordinator —
As LSEM Coordinator in Texas, I was excited to make a visit to the Let It Shine Preschool Academy at Bethany Lutheran Church in Austin Texas. Teresa Danner is a young woman with a spirit of entrepreneurship and love for children. Upon moving to Austin, Texas with her husband and children, Teresa contacted LSEM with a dream for establishing a preschool for children with special needs. Under LSEM partnership, Teresa used her professional education and work experience as an occupational therapist to design and now directs the Let It Shine preschool. Her teachers, Leo Perez and Dolly Atkinson, have experience in speech therapy and special education. Together all three make an awesome team!
Teresa shared that “Let it Shine has been open for almost a year and a half and has significantly helped children and families progress and prepare for public school. Let It Shine blends therapeutic concepts and academic concepts to support the children and meet the child where he or she is at.”
During my visit to the preschool, I saw happy children painting, playing with magna tiles, puzzles, toys, and moving freely in their classrooms while interacting with teachers and aides. Children were also petting and loving on the golden retriever Abner, Bethany’s comfort dog. I learned that many of the Let It Shine children came to Bethany after they were not successful in traditional preschools.
One touching story to me was the mother who had tears in her eyes when the teachers told her positive attributes of her child. Her tears were because previously she had only heard negative feedback concerning her child and what he could not do. Obviously, Let It Shine builds on children’s strengths (what they can do) and helps them reach new milestones! Parent education is also a component of the Let It Shine preschool.
Let It Shine is a beautiful ministry to families! Wow!