WINDSOR, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Our Golden Apple Award honoree is a pre-K teacher who has dedicated nearly 3 decades to educating young students.

Karri Kamnisky is reading a book about llamas to her class of 18 mostly 4 year-olds at Floyd Bell Elementary. They’re learning about the letter L. Once reading time is over, the children will move around the classroom stations for activities centered around L.

Kaminsky says, “”It keeps them busy and it keeps them moving. They’re not stagnant, doing one thing all day long. They have a lot of opportunities to move around. We’re rarely sitting at our tables.”

According to Kaminsky, the students have a lot of energy, so the days are tiring but very rewarding. Her classroom aide Amanda Powell says Kaminsky is always kind, gentle and caring as she teaches the kids letters, numbers and shapes.

Teacher’s Aide Amanda Powell says, “Every day we learn something completely new that I didn’t know as an adult. It’s always fun to come to work and just be here with the kids. She’s great with them.”

Kaminsky says the children respond better to consistency, praise and a quiet voice. And they’re a lot more capable then people might think.

“Giving them the opportunity and the time to figure something out on their own. Not just giving them the answer, but giving them that time to figure it out on their own. It’s internalizing their success.”

Kaminsky says this is a time of great change for kids this age and this is a time for great transformation.

“Something happens in January. It’s like this magical month. You worry, worry, worry all the way and then all of a sudden, all of the light bulbs come on in January. The pieces you’ve been working on start fitting together for them.”

Kaminsky says that beyond the academics the students are learning who they are as a person. She says her ultimate job is to prepare them to leave her.

“I want to know that I’ve given them every opportunity to get what they need to be successful when they go to kindergarten, when they go into first grade and they continue.”

Kaminsky says she credits the support she receives from her colleagues, the Windsor school district, the families and the community. She says teaching younger students is what she’s always wanted to do, and she doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.