These young students have very little memory, if any, of a time that masks weren't worn everyday. They also haven't spent much time playing with other kids.

At just 3 - 5-years-old, students at early childhood centers have not had the most normal school experience.

Kids this age haven't spent much time socializing with other kids that they weren't related to. They also have been wearing protective masks for pretty much half their lives.

Sending them into a school for the first time is really scary for them and their parents too, whether covid was here or not.

There's a teacher in Rockford that wed like to honor for making great strides to help some children get the early education they need, plus some EXTRA love and understanding to help them learn other life skills that the pandemic may have stunted,

97ZOK's New Teacher of the Week, Katrina Belue from Summerdale Early Childhood Center in Rockford

Illinois Teacher Goes That 'Extra Mile' So First-Time Students Feel Safe

Katrina was nominated for this honor by her former assistant, Sue Gutierrez, she writes,

"I've never known a teacher who puts her all into teaching until I met Ms Katrina. She lives, breathes, & thinks about her classroom 24/7. I used to be her assistant but with the pandemic, I had to give up my job to keep my husband safe.

She contacts parents all the time, especially if their child is doing well. Who gets calls for that? Most of the time it is when your child is naughty. She works with each child individually to help them if they are struggling with something in particular, even the parents. Personally, she is the best of the best. I miss working with her & being there for the little ones...Room 10 @ Summerdale ECC will always have a piece of my heart ."

Illinois Teacher Goes That 'Extra Mile' So First-Time Students Feel Safe

As 97ZOK's Teacher Of The Week, Katrina Belue was surprised with a beautiful floral arrangement from Broadway Florist and a delicious cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. You can nominate your favorite teacher right here.

20 Hilarious Little Lies Rockford Parents Tell Their Kids

To each their own, some parents may frown on telling lies to their kids. Thank goodness it isn't any of these parents because these lies crack me up.

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