Mrs. Rae: One Terrific Toddler Teacher

Rewind to my opening lines in my first MidWeek column one year ago.

“We have a morning drill in my house. It’s the race to get my son and daughter up, dressed, out the door and in the car before 7:45 to make it to preschool in time for breakfast. Really, how hard could that be?”


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Mrs. Rae’s photo collages and toddler tidbits for Hana

Apparently, very. One year later, my batting average is still horrendous.

Obstacle 1: Logistics. No matter how hard I try, it always takes longer than I anticipate to head out and check them into school.

Then, there’s the snuggle factor. I love that my son likes to start his day with snuggle time. I don’t want to rush that. If I could freeze a moment in time, that would be it. Our morning hugs end far too soon, and I know there will come a day when he’s too “cool” to cuddle with Mommy.

The logistical obstacles are a daily challenge. But something has eased the emotional separation: their wonderful teachers.

Even on those days when they give me puppy-dog eyes and beg me to stay, the second I leave, I know they have a blast playing and learning.

How can I be so sure? Well, I have pictures and daily reports to prove it.

We were spoiled from the get-go by their first preschool teacher, Rae Shimokawa, at KCAA Kuapa in Hawaii Kai. She’s a finalist for “Hawaii’s Favorite Preschool Teacher from a Multi-Site Preschool” awarded by PATCH, or People Attentive to Children.

Here’s what some parents say about Mrs. Rae:

“She fills their day with so much fun, song, play, and activities that they don’t want to go home!”

“She puts up tons of pictures and uses them for artwork. Plus, she sends home a daily report of activities, and how much of each lunch portion they ate, how long they napped for and reminders for the following day.”

Rae says, “Every day I learn so much from kids — they teach me how to take things one day at a time, and to wake up and think, ‘Today is a brand-new day.’ I want children to think learning is fun so they can be lifelong engaging learners, and I try my best to foster a supportive learning environment.”

PATCH received 200 nominations for “Hawaii’s Favorite Preschool Teacher and Family Child Care Provider” for 2014. There are 10 finalists in three categories.

Vote through July 1 at

Quick Take: Children’s Discovery Center’s Keiki Swap Meet is Saturday (June 28) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s free and open to the public in Kakaako Gateway Park, directly across from the center.

For more information, go to or call 524-KIDS.