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ELI Celebrates Jasmine Stewart, Tanner Teacher of the Year

Jasmine Stewart, lead infant teacher at Day Early Learning Center for Infants and Toddlers, has a quick answer when asked what makes her successful at managing a roomful of infants. “Patience,” she laughs. “Lots and lots of patience and being organized.” 

Jasmine was selected as the 2023 Tanner Teacher of the Year, an annual award in recognition of an outstanding Day Early Learning classroom teacher. The award is named after the Gene and Rosemary Tanner Family, long-standing supporters of Early Learning Indiana, in honor of their endowment that supports teacher training and professional development. 

Jasmine was chosen for her exceptional ability to create a safe and inclusive environment for her students and their families. “Her contributions to the school culture are invaluable; she always looks for ways to help others and creates a positive and uplifting culture among the team,” said Kat Christian, School Leader 

Jasmine will celebrate eight years with Day Early Learning this fall. She started as a substitute teacher, filling in at different centers, but quickly found her niche working with babies. She applied for an assistant teacher position at DEL’s Center for Infants and Toddlers and eventually moved up to lead teacher. Jasmine has cared for children since she was a teen, helping during children’s church and babysitting her nieces.

“The infant age is definitely my favorite,” she says. “Watching their development, being the person who helps them get started crawling and sitting up — it’s so much fun to see. I love being a person who they can feel safe with every day. That’s so important at this age.” 

Her favorite classroom activity is anything art related, sharing that the babies love playing with paint and exploring the textures and colors. Jasmine also incorporates music often in her classroom. “The ‘Good morning, [Name]’ song is definitely one that gets stuck in my head,” she laughs. “I’ll find myself singing that one at home by myself sometimes.” 

Jasmine says the Day Early Learning staff and administration have helped her grow and thrive as a teacher. “I feel heard here. If I need help or have a concern, the directors listen and try to understand and make changes.” She notes that her fellow teachers are some of her favorite people she’s worked with in her career. “My coworkers are so helpful and strong — we have a really solid team.”

Jasmine says communication skills are also key to interacting with parents daily. She prides herself on the connections she makes with families while caring for their babies and keeps in touch with many of them, even after their children have moved on. “I still talk to many of my past parents. It’s such an honor that they want me to be a part of their kids’ lives.” 

Outside of work, Jasmine stays busy studying for her early childhood education degree at Indiana Wesleyan.  She’s exploring options for the future but would like to work in child care administration or another capacity where she can work directly with families. She also enjoys bowling with family and friends and relaxing with a good Netflix show.

How did she react to being named Tanner Teacher of the Year? “I was shocked — I cried!” Jasmine said. “Just knowing that my work was noticed and appreciated makes me feel happy to be here. I really do love my job.”

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