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This semester, I felt this once in a lifetime opportunity was proposing itself to me. I am a single mother, and my daughter is currently in pre-school. I’ve spent the past two years, preparing and planning for her first years in grade school. My hope was for her to have a nature-based education, where she would feel supported in finding her passions in life. It became a very difficult task to find something that I could afford and make work for the both of us. The idea that came to me was self-designing a co-op, where I would take the role as my daughter’s teacher and begin her in literacy lessons. I figured the beginning of the year would be the perfect time to engage her into a reading readiness project before she begins Kindergarten in the fall. With these thoughts and ideas, I began to design a curriculum. This included lots of research on teaching young children how to read, as it is something I have never done before. Creating the curriculum brought back memories of my own experience learning how to read. Through my own experience as a young girl, I felt guided with intuition into creating a curriculum that would be successful for my daughter. Our lessons are Monday through Thursdays from 9 am to 12 pm. I realized that this would only cover half of my hours for my self-designed co-op to be approved and as I already work in town at a local clothing store, my advisor and I decided that this would be a wonderful way to fill in the hours. 
 A week before co-op began, I was offered the opportunity to step into a manager position at Kismet. I gladly accepted that the raise and leadership role are things I need in my life to continue to grow. I am almost halfway through the semester and one thing I can say for sure is my plate is full! It has been a mind opening and empowering experience in both roles I am currently taking on.  As the manager of Kismet, it has become my responsibility to keep up with the image and appearance of the store, create displays, keep up with the store’s social media and assist and support sales associates. Overall, it is a very creative job that I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve had no challenge in stepping into a leadership role. I personally believe that if I come from a place of empathy and understanding, it builds a healthy relationship of respect and honesty. The positive side to my relationship with my employees, is they’re my friends and I have known them before becoming the manager. We work as a team, to take care of our store and each other.  The feeling of having creative freedom within a store that is mine to care for, is exciting and inspiring. I have enjoyed creating displays, decorating our window display and styling the mannequins.  Check out this link to Kismets instagram to get an idea of the store and the creative projects I have been designing! The role I take in my daughters reading readiness project, is that of a teacher and a mother. We begin our lessons after breakfast. I like to let her choose how she wants to begin class. Is she in the mood to stretch and use our bodies or start with a slow, mind game to ease our way into the lesson? I feel as teachers, it is vital to understand that each student has a different way of learning and the best way to teach them is usually the way they are wanting to learn, with guidance of course. This is how I have led my lessons with my daughter. It has been successful so far. She has already learned letter annunciations and can identify what any word starts with. We have now begun learning to pronounce three letter words. Our final project that we have started to plan out together is creating a book. Amelia is choosing her topic and will use the three letter words we have and will continue to learn in our classes. Our final goal is for her to be able to read her book. I realize that this may be too difficult of a goal for a three-month time period, but regardless of a time frame, I know it something she will achieve and a tangible memory for her to hold onto forever.  
My day-to-day experience begins with a slow morning of breakfast and tea. We begin our lessons that usually start with some annunciation yoga. My daughter, Amelia goes through the alphabet and acts out a word of each letter. She walks and roars like a lion would and so on. Her energy is up and excited after our morning letter yoga. We usually begin a card game that entails picking a card from our deck of letters and guessing the annunciation. Both games have helped Amelia tremendously in memorizing the sounds of letters. We usually end our sessions with sounding out three letter words and planning a little bit more of our final book. After morning lessons with Amelia, it is time for me to head into Kismet. My projects at Kismet vary from day to day. Some days I spend most of my time cleaning and helping customers. Other days, I am decorating the store and taking and uploading pictures for our Instagram.   I believe this co-op is helping me step into a leadership role. Regardless of my major, being a leader is a helpful tool I would like to learn for any career that I pursue. As early childhood education is one of the options of my choice in a major, this test drive is a great way to see if this career path is something that works for me. I believe that upkeeping a local business is a wonderful way to support and create a community. I enjoy meeting locals and creating relationships. It’s a simple way of networking that not only benefits myself but allows communication and love to spread through a community.     
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My name is Miranda Hamms. I am a 25 year old, full time student at Antioch College and full time mom. I spend free time enjoying learning, art therapy and diving into the world of philosophy. A passion of mine is working to help create social justice in areas such as suicide awareness, BLM and indigenous people movements.

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