Home Business St. Thomas business @Work: Teacher's Aide

@Work: Teacher's Aide


Dec. 16, 2004 – This holiday season when you're shopping for a special child in your life, you might want to make a stop at Teacher's Aide. High quality puzzles, stimulating games, and innovative learning materials are all at your finger tips. The store is a virtual treasure trove of gadgets, ideas and opportunities that make learning fun.
Velven Samuel opened Teacher's Aide a little less than two years ago. According to Samuel, there had been a store on the island specializing in educational resources. "With the closing of that store, trying to find items for class projects for my nieces and nephews, I realized we needed something badly," she says.
Instead of sitting idly by, Samuel worked to fill the void, beginning with doing her homework. She searched the Internet, asked questions of educators, and even took classes in early childhood at the University of the Virgin Islands. "As I continued to take the classes, my desire to open the store grew," says Samuel. "I know the developmental domains and how to go through the domains properly. I needed to have that foundation if I was going to do a good job getting materials for the store that would be good."
Teacher's Aide serves teachers by supplying materials for the classroom to bring the texts alive. "Of course we see parents as a child's first teacher, or anyone who has young children in their lives. I try to find materials that will help children go through stages of life, to help them grow cognitively," says Samuel.
Teachers tend to gravitate toward bulletin board aids, puzzles and flashcards on different subjects. With parents, the preference is on skill-building books and quality toys that are colorful and durable.
"I like quality materials. I like customers to be satisfied with what they purchase from us. I look for things that will stand up as children manipulate them," Samuel says.
Although there are staples in the store you can find all year round, Teacher's Aide has added some extra items for Christmas.
"Our focus is education, but we want parents to realize toys are supposed to teach our children. Even in imaginative play, they are learning. Whether they are playing with a doll or a puzzle, we want our parents to realize learning is fun and we should use every opportunity to teach our children something."
The helpful staff is ready to offer suggestions and identify inventory that helps build certain skills. Samuel also relies on the help of a teacher who volunteers at Teacher's Aide, there to give pointers to teachers and parents.
"It's a warm and friendly environment," says Samuel. "We see ourselves not just in the retail business, but as an educator for families on what is developmentally appropriate. And we really want to see ourselves as a piece of the village it takes to groom a well-rounded child or individual."
Teacher's Aide is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The store is located on the first floor in Lockhart Gardens Mall.


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