Heidi Loucks loves working with young people. As the KidsCare coordinator at Ox Bow Elementary School, she has an impact on them throughout their day.
“I love my littles. That’s my drive. I think in this day and age, this age group is impressionable and they need to see positive all the time, regardless of what environment they’re in,” she said.
Loucks has been working at the site since early 2020, but has been impacting young lives since her children were little.
“When my children were young, I worked in their preschool classroom,” she said.
She said children tell you a lot, without ever speaking a word, if you look for the signs.
“From day one, I’ve always sat down and gotten to know them. I observe when I get new kids. Body language and eye contact tell me a story about how I can approach a child,” Loucks said. “I can tell when they walk in the door what kind of day we’ll have. Little people have a vibe and energy that can tell you things.”
She also takes cues from how the kids interact with their parents when they drop them off in the morning or pick them up in the afternoon.
“You can tell when a parent walks in — how the kid interacts with them — it tells me how I should interact with that kid.”
Her goal is to create a routine and let the kids know what the expectations are when they come to KidsCare.
“I want them to enjoy their time here, but I also run a tight ship. You have to have organization in the chaos. If you have a routine, they know what to expect. Kids thrive on a schedule. They want to know what comes next,” she said.
Despite the early morning hours and the afternoon parent pickups, Loucks said she doesn’t mind the schedule. For her, the kids are main focus — and the driving factor behind why she loves what she does.
“Sometimes you don’t realize how important you are to these kids until you step away. I took some time off when I was sick and loved the reception I got from them when I came back. I had one girl tell me KidsCare wasn’t the same without me,” she said.