Heather is a kindergarten teacher from The Woodlands who believes it’s never too early to start teaching kids about the office of president, the election process, and civic responsibility. So she wrote a book aimed to educate youth on these matters and, more importantly, instill patriotism.
Interviewed by Sara G. Stephens
HFM: Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
HP: I’m 28 years old and engaged to my best friend of 10 years. We are getting married Fourth of July weekend! I don’t have children yet, but consider my kinder babies as a part of my family. I have an identical twin and younger sister, and my mother is an educator as well.
HFM: Where do you teach?
HP: I have taught kindergarten for 6 years in North Texas and relocated to The Woodlands. In the fall I will be teaching Kindergarten at The Woodlands Christian Academy. Being in the classroom has been integral as I started writing for children.
HFM: Why did you move to Houston?
HP: Well, I am engaged to my best friend of 10 years! He is from The Woodlands and returned here 4 years ago for his career. I have lived in North Texas my whole life, but when we started dating, I instantly knew Houston would be our home.
HFM: Have you discovered any favorite places here?
HP: We LOVE Tommy Bahamas’ brunch-it’s our favorite go-to! Market Street is such a fun place for us to walk around, grab a coffee, and window shop. We are still exploring new places together, which is a fun way to learn the area more!
HFM: What do you most enjoy about teaching kindergarteners?
HP: Their imagination, their creativity, their personality, and their desire to explore the world around them. There is something so special about a kindergartener. It’s important to recognize the unique balance of setting a high academic standard and love for learning, yet also foster an environment for them to play, explore, and create.
HFM: You recently released a book called “Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS,” which introduces kids to the office of the president. For what age group did you write the book?
HP: I wrote “Passing the Bone” for elementary students (K-5). It has something for every child–humor and exposure for the early readers and historical facts and references for the older elementary students.
HFM: What prompted you to write the book?
HP: I realized that children were largely unaware (and apathetic) to basic government history and current events. Children spend the majority of their day concentrating on reading and math, and rightly so. I believe that by presenting them with historical facts in a way that they understand and connect with, they aren’t just walking away with a history lesson; they are engaging as young citizens, discussing the election process, and developing patriotism-a trait we need to instill in the next generation.
HFM: What gave you the idea to have the book narrated by Presidential Pup “Bo Obama?”
HP: I decided to tell write “Passing the Bone” from Bo’s perspective because I felt what better way to address the changing of office from the First Dog’s perspective? Most children love animals, especially funny ones! In my teaching experience, children instantly connect to a story when it involves animals and humor. Also, the changing of office has never been addressed by the First Dog before, so what better what to involve children in the election than through Bo?
HFM: What can kids learn from the current presidential race–good or bad?
HP: They can learn the office and responsibilities of the president, both of which are age appropriate and non-partisan. Children learn there is a process to being elected and the marks of a leader-integrity, honesty, service, patriotism, respect, etc.
HFM: What’s the most important thing kids today–across age groups–need to understand about politics?
HP: I think it’s important for kids to understand why they should care about politics. One day, they will be the leaders of our nation. Adults can disagree about politics, but it’s important to remember we share the same goal-to make America the best it can possibly be. We all want America’s best days to be ahead, and that’s important for children to know during an election. They also need to understand that it does make a difference to vote and be involved with the issues and laws of our country. It’s a right and privilege many other nations do not have!
HFM: What do you think kids today need to understand about the importance of patriotic pride?
HP: It’s essential to instill a love for their country while they are young! Kids today need to understand how America became the greatest country, the hard work and sacrifice that have gone before them, and the importance of their contribution to our country. Children are young, but they are capable of being great citizens! They can become little patriots by serving their community, appreciating their leaders, being grateful for our military, and showing respect to their fellow neighbor.