Becoming Miss Barnett
Teachers have always had a great impact on me, but there is one teacher in particular who has had the most profound influence on my life. That teacher is Mrs. Barnett, a preschool teacher from JCC Chicago Early Childhood at Am Shalom – and she just happens to also be my mom.
I grew up getting a behind-the-scenes look at the world of education. I attended JCC Early Childhood for preschool and continued to visit my mom’s classroom there when growing up. When I was able to visit her class, I was completely captivated seeing her ideas translate into hands-on experiences and engaging projects that developed her preschoolers’ curiosity and made them love learning. It was that experience that made me want to help others love learning too.
Over the past five years, I have taught second grade in Chicago, and I recently launched Pup Quiz®, an educational company providing hands-on math materials to help teachers, parents, and students. Pup Quiz® was initially created in response to what other elementary teachers and I were seeing in our schools. There was a major need to provide flash cards, tangible tools, and collaborative games to make math more fun, offset screen time, and increase students’ social and emotional learning. Much like in my mom’s preschool classroom at the J, elementary students craved tactile learning.
When the pandemic hit, my priority shifted. Students’ homes became their classrooms, but many families did not have school supplies, books, or educational materials. Moreover, there were millions of children across the country and over a hundred thousand students in the Chicago area that didn’t have access to e-learning during the pandemic. My priority was to get Pup Quiz® to these children to make education more equitable. As a result, I have been coordinating Pup Quiz® math kit donations and deliveries to families in need. Since the pandemic began, over one thousand children are now using Pup Quiz®. As a teacher, it is truly incredible to see how many children love math now because they have a kit filled with games and activities in their homes.
Seeing the impact of Pup Quiz® during the pandemic inspired me to give back to my JCC Chicago community as well as the community at large! I am excited to be distributing Pup Quiz® to JCC Chicago’s Early Childhood programs to help continue their efforts in fostering children’s growth and love of learning.
I am grateful to have experienced my mom’s classroom environment and her work with JCC Chicago. She showed me the value of a great education and how to help others love learning too. I’m proud to follow in my mom’s footsteps as Miss Barnett, and I look forward to inspiring the JCC students with Pup Quiz®.
Lindsay Barnett teaches second grade in Chicago at the school where her grandfather and great-uncle attended over 75 years ago. She received her Bachelor of Science in Communications: Radio, Television, and Film as well as an Interactive Arts and Entertainment Module from Northwestern University. She then earned her Master of Science in Education in Elementary Teaching at Northwestern. Barnett’s studies in the visual arts and education help her to constantly think about the ways in which teachers can effectively engage children with kinesthetic and visual learning styles in addition to those with auditory predilections. To that end, she co-created Pup Quiz®, an educational company providing hands-on math materials to help teachers, parents, and students.