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Love, Listening, and Problem Solving: Laird Tempe PRE Teacher Shares a Day in the Life

Post Date:02/13/2019

Karen Lederman Teacher with four students surrounding herNo need for a morning coffee! Stepping into Karen Lederman’s preschool classroom at Laird School is all one needs for a daily dose of energy. Walking into Lederman’s classroom, one encounters giggles, smiles, and a friendly greeting from her students. Their attention is then directed back to their tasks where their inquisitive minds are at work – learning and exploring new subjects and activities.

“They are always curious and eager to learn,” said Lederman. “They each have something to say and need to be listened to. They are all so genuine and say what is on their minds!”

With 11 years of combined teaching experience in preschool, Lederman is now in her second year of teaching preschool students at Laird School. Principal Dr. Nancy Uxa describes Lederman as a “solid rockstar” that is committed to her students’ success. No two days are alike in Lederman’s classroom, but there are goals that students are consistently working toward.

“Something we work on often is their independence, using their words, and problem solving – especially with their peers,” explained Lederman. “Just today, I heard a student ask another if she could use her toy fruit when the other student was done using it. I feel that problem solving with others is something that children will use throughout their lives.”

Karen Lederman Teacher with one student she is helping student is smiling at cameraLederman is proud to be a preschool teacher and part of the City of Tempe funded Tempe PRE (Preschool Resource Expansion) program. Tempe PRE was launched in 2017 by the Tempe City Council to increase access to high-quality preschool at no cost for qualifying families.

Initially starting as a two-year pilot program, The Tempe City Council recently approved two additional years of funding for Tempe PRE. Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, the City of Tempe will have a combination of free, reduced-rate tuition, and full-pay tuition spots available in their program. Applications will open on March 4, 2019 and will list eligibility criteria and rates. Interested parents/guardians must fill out an application to be considered for the upcoming school year.

“Tempe PRE is an excellent program,” said Lederman. “It is so beneficial to preschoolers and their families. Not only are preschoolers set up for success in kindergarten, but families don’t have to worry about providing quality care for their child. It’s a win-win!”

As a product of Tempe schools, attending Rural Elementary, McKemy Middle School, and McClintock High School, Lederman knew she always wanted to be a teacher. After growing up in the Tempe Elementary School District, she feels that working as a preschool teacher at Laird School is much like the feeling of coming home.

Two preschool boy students playingLederman notes a genuine care and love for students among the staff and administration at Laird School. She believes that Laird staff share a common goal of earning the trust and confidence of their students at the beginning of the school year. Working with these “little humans,” as she likes to call them, is the best part of her job.

“I firmly believe that the brain will be ready to learn when a child feels safe and supported,” said Lederman. “Our students aren’t just numbers, they are individuals.”

Thank you Karen, for your caring heart and dedication for your students! We are proud to have you as a shining example of how relationships matter in our schools! If you are interested in learning more about the Tempe PRE program, please visit

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