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Giving children a jump on learning

Although the word “task” usually implies an unpleasant and difficult burden, Loretta Moore was elated when she was asked to join Alabama’s Preschool Task Force.

When the special education coordinator Eleanor Bailey recommended her as a member, Moore said decided to give it a try.

“When I found out,” she paused. “I just felt honored to serve on the force. To be able to contribute and add my input to different laws concerning preschool education is just a great honor.”

Created in 1999, the Task Force was formed in order to develop plans to improve the academic readiness and well-being of young children in Alabama.

Even though Moore just joined the task force, she has played a role in recommending changes to the state code, creating a family focus interview, beginning and developing early learning standards and establishing the Early Learning Progress Profile to asses the progress of students in the preschool program.

“I’ve had a lot to do with the standards of social and emotional skills implemented in the classroom,” Moore said. “I want them to explore other environments. I wish they could go on more field trips.”

Moore uses the Leap Frog learning system to educate her mild to severely developmental disabled students and loves to see the daily progress the children make.

“Any progress made is my happiest moment,” she said. “Even if it’s something as simple as holding their own spoon and feeding themselves.”

After graduating from Talladega College with an undergrad degree in early

childhood handicaps, Moore attended Alabama State University where she received a masters in mental retardation.

Nineteen years ago, she began her career as a preschool teacher at Westside Elementary School.

“I started as a floater and about two or three years later, I started to head this program and I’ve been here ever since.”

Although she was born and raised in Demopolis, Moore said she hasn’t felt a need to leave the city or her school.

“I love my job, I love being around my family and I met my husband here,” she said. “I love this age group. Their minds are like sponges.”

Moore said her students are learning at all times while in her classroom.

“Even if they are playing in the kitchen, they are learning recipes,” she said. “If they are playing with a ball, they are learning shapes and colors. People are amazed to see how much they retain.”

“We are proud of her. We shared her Task Force news in the faculty meeting,” principal Mary Glass said. “Since she joined the faculty, we’ve updated the preschool program as necessary and we are just proud to have her on our faculty.”

To improve her teaching skills, Moore said she attends workshops and conferences to learn how to provide the best service to her students.

“We learn some really innovative ideas and I come back and implement them in my classroom,” she said. “We learn different strategies to use and various methods of teaching to reach the more severe students.”

Although Moore and her husband, the Rev. Fred Moore, have three children of their own, she still has a “passion” for them and continues to strive to reach the needs of her “unique” students.

In her spare time, Moore sings, does community work, volunteers at her church and enjoys spending time with her family. In the future, she hopes to further her knowledge in special education with another degree.

Until then, Moore will continue to mold young minds in becoming intelligent and independent.