JOHNSON CITY, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day and Larissa Rabarsky is preparing her students at Saint James Catholic School to catch a leprechaun.

Larissa Rabarsky says, “We’re focusing on Saint Patrick, we have leprechaun traps for the leprechaun to come and visit and try to catch him, if you will.”

Rabarsky is closing in on her 10th year teaching Kindergarten at Saint James. Prior to landing in Johnson City, she taught at several other pre-school programs.

Larissa Rabarsky says, “Coming out of an interview here I was like this feels like my place. And I ended up getting the job here and it has been my place and I feel like this is my home. My home away from home and my family here and the community here is wonderful.”

She says her goal as a teacher is for her students to understand that learning does not have to be taxing, but rather rewarding and fun.

Larissa Rabarsky says, “They’re so impressionable at this age, you want to build a strong foundation for learning for them, you want to show them that learning is fun and engaging and you want that to continue throughout their school year.”

Rabarsky says that she tries to bring a level of engagement to every lesson that she teaches. Whether it be teaching math with a dice game, or learning the months of the year through song, her students are rarely at their desks with noses in textbooks.

Larissa Rabarsky says, “I don’t really like to have them sit a lot at their desk. I want them to get up and move and sing and dance and play with games and things that make learning fun with them not really knowing that they’re learning but they are.”

Rabarsky’s colleague Kim Marco is a second grade teacher at Saint James, and says that she has taken several tips and tricks from observing her over the years.

Kim Marco says, “She’s the Kindergarten teacher that everyone dreams of and they say Kindergarten is the most important year, and it definitely is and she sets them up for their future here, and she just loves kids, and they know it, they feel it.”

Rabarsky says she knew she wanted to work with younger kids when she herself was a young kid.

Larissa Rabarsky says, “I’m hoping that they can come back and say, oh yeah, I remember my Kindergarten teacher, and she made it fun for me and I remember now why learning was fun.”

She says her mission with each new group of Kindergarteners is to inspire them to never stop learning and to find the excitement in every new piece of material.