What Are Our Alumni Up To?

Mount News: alumni magazine

By: Robert Schaich

“They focused on teaching us to know the child as an individual, not just a number.”

Teacher Maria Childs, shown with her family, is all about turning life lessons and experiences into inspirational reality. Whether it be applying classroom dynamics learned
at Mount St. Joseph University to her own teaching at Terrace Park Elementary School, or fulfilling her dream of becoming a children’s book writer, Childs continues to show that all of life’s goals are obtainable if one works hard and perseveres.

She graduated from the Mount in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Childs says the Mount’s education program helped develop her teaching philosophy.

“They focused on teaching us to know the child as an individual, not just a number,”she says, “Professors also modeled this by taking the time to meet with you if there were any questions.”

While teaching, Childs found that she wanted to create a stronger writing workshop in her classroom to teach children how to improve their writing. To achieve this goal, she attended a summer writing workshop at Teachers College, Columbia University.

“It was one of the best experiences,”Childs says. “The workshop focused on modeling, teaching ways to show kids how to write.”

One of her goals included writing her own children’s story, a dream that began when she started collecting autographed children’s books. Her first chance at realizing this dream came while she was working on her master’s degree at Miami University. Childs took part in the Ohio Writing Project, where she had to submit a piece of work for publication. That initial submission was rejected, but she persevered. After a few more attempts at getting her story published, Childs eventually put the story on the back shelf. A chance submission by her husband in January 2013 found a publisher who was the perfect fit. Childs’first children’s book, “Firefighters Don’t!,”was released on March 25, 2014. “Firefighters Don’t!”tells the story of a young boy who visits a fire station to learn about the responsibilities of those he admires. She didn’t have to look far for ideas for her book. Much of the inspiration came from her family.

Her husband, Scott Childs, is a third generation firefighter. Their three sons look up to him, and they also want to be firefighters when they grow up. Several of the scenes in “Firefighters Don’t!”were inspired by events in the lives of the Childs’children.

What has this adventure taught Childs?

“It’s been a very humbling experience,”she says. “It teaches you to have patience in general and that all of your goals are obtainable.”

What’s next for this successful Mount alum? She is preparing for the 2015 release of her second children’s book. It tells the story of a boy who finds a small token of family history in his grandmother’s attic. This sparks a passion in his heart that shapes his future and carries on a tradition. Childs continues to teach and inspire by example.