SPARK: Tell us about yourself.

Marybeth: I have a degree in Child Development from The Ohio State University. This is my fourth year with the SPARK program. I was very happy to transfer to Massillon when this job opened up. I love it here! I worked in Canton SPARK for three years (I loved it there too). Prior to SPARK I worked in a special needs preschool, was a stay at home mom and was a substitute teacher. Being a mom is my favorite job. I have three children who are now young adults.

SPARK: Describe a typical day.

Marybeth: Most days I can be found doing home visits. At each visit I have a set lesson plan and book. I adapt it to each child’s learning needs. I also bring activities to work on other skills the children need to be ready for kindergarten. Some days I go out and recruit families for SPARK at school events or at events in the Massillon community. I tell families all about SPARK and encourage them to become a part of the program. I love talking about the importance of SPARK. I also meet once a month with our responsive services team. They are able to link our SPARK families with speech therapy, mental health, and other services children might need in order to be ready for kindergarten. No day is ever alike nor are any two children or families alike. That is the adventure I really enjoy.

SPARK: What is your favorite part of your job?

Marybeth: I love everything about my job except the paperwork! My favorite part of the day is when I go visit families in their homes. I really believe that parents are their children’s first and most important teacher. I love watching parents and children having fun and learning together. I see my main job as empowering parents. Parents want to do what’s best for their children. Sometimes they just need a little support.

SPARK: What would you say to a parent who is considering enrolling in SPARK?

Marybeth: There are so many benefits to being in the SPARK program. Our research with other SPARK programs across Ohio has shown that children who have completed SPARK scored, on average, higher on their KRAL testing (Kindergarten Readiness Assessment of Literacy). In addition, they continue to score higher on their 3rd grade proficiency test. And it’s free! Your child will receive free books, supplies, learning materials and assessments. And it’s easy! We meet at your home once a month and have four family fun groups throughout the year. SPARK gets your child started on the right foot.