Human Development and Family Studies student finds her passion teaching children

Diamond Nichols
Diamond Nicholson

Diamond Nicholson wants to make a difference in children’s lives. And not even a virus can stop her.

Nicholson chose Colorado State University after she participated in the Black Issues Forum. After visiting the campus and seeing what a supportive community CSU offers, she knew she wanted to be a part of it. Nicholson originally declared a psychology major wanting to work in the field of counseling, but after talking to faculty about what she wanted to do, they encouraged her to pursue human development and family studies.

“At first, I wasn’t convinced. But sure enough, my first year, first semester, I changed my major and I’m so grateful I did because one day something just clicked and there I was wanting to be a teacher and a founder of a childcare center!” said Nicholson.

Working at the Spring Creek School

While Nicholson was working at King Soopers in 2018, she began to search for a job related to her degree. After interviewing with the Children’s Workshop, her availability didn’t work out so she was referred to interview with the sister school, Spring Creek School, and was hired on the spot. Nicholson also applied to CSU’s Early Childhood Center for an internship opportunity.

“I was taking the HDFS 477 course which is the prerequisite for any internship,” said Nicholson. “When it was time for me to pick which sites to apply for, Professor Krafchick and I agreed that it was best for me to apply to the  Early Childhood Center as well as another site because they fit the most with my major. I was accepted into the internship but, it was difficult at first because they were actually physically closed so it was really hard for me to get hours. Because I’m working at a childcare center already, my supervisors were able to work to combine the two.”

Finding her passion teaching children

Nicholson says her favorite thing about her internship with the ECC is that the center is Reggio Emilia-inspired teaching. This style of teaching focuses on the students (mainly in preschool and primary school) where students lead themselves in their education. Nicholson says she tries to apply the skills she has gained from the ECC to Spring Creek’s center as well.

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the ECC shut down in March when CSU moved to remote instruction and work, reopening on July 1. But this didn’t stop Nicholson from teaching.

“COVID-19 has affected my internship and my summer plan because it honestly has made it better than I expected,” said Nicholson. “Although it caused the ECC to shut down and I cannot physically go there, I am here at Spring Creek more than I would have been able to be at the ECC. I am gaining more experience, I believe, then I would have if things would have been ‘normal.’”

Nicholson says that the biggest thing this summer has taught her is how incredible and intelligent children are. This must be understood and applied to teaching young children for them to thrive in their academic and personal environments.

“Children are already citizens and contributors of society,” said Nicholson. “They are creative, innovative, empathetic, intelligent, kind, and curious. They should be treated as such and not like little robots who are predictable and the same across the board. This summer experience has reminded me of that and that is what I am holding on to the most.”

Plans after graduating

Nicholson will be graduating a semester early this fall and hopes to continue working at Spring Creek. She is hoping to return to CSU in summer to obtain her master’s degree in early childhood education.  Once Nicholson completes her master’s degree, she hopes to teach in a low-income area for a few years. She eventually wants to open up her own Reggio Emilia-inspired child care center in a low-income area.

“I am very excited for my future, I know God has a nice little trick up his sleeve for me!” said Nicholson.

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.