April 2024 Staff Spotlight: It’s my hobby after all- Kimberly Butcher

Chrystal GillmingStaff Spotlight, Yuba Spotlight

It’s my hobby after all


Did you know you have glitter in your pocket?

Ask Kimberly Butcher, Early Childhood Education adjunct faculty at Yuba College, and she’ll explain the glitter in your pocket is the key to connecting with children.

“Kids are amazing because they’re so open, imaginative, and playful,” Butcher said. “I often say, ‘Take the glitter out of your pockets,’ meaning be playful and engaging and draw them in.” It works like magic. Sprinkle the imaginary glitter over the heads of young children while saying, “This will turn you into a duck,” and they will follow your lead as you waddle and flap your wings.

“It’s the easiest age group to captivate and flourish and grow,” she said. “These little guys grow at the fastest rate.”

Butcher has enjoyed a successful career in early learning, and currently serves as the Palermo Union Elementary Preschool Services Director in addition to teaching at the College.

Passionate about literature, Butcher initially went to California State University, Chico, to become a high school English teacher. After being saturated in English courses for two semesters, she pivoted and earned her bachelor’s degree in Telecommunication/ Technical Writing.

While in school, Butcher worked part-time jobs cleaning houses, housesitting and babysitting. One of the families she helped with childcare told her of a private preschool at their church in need
of help. A college junior, Butcher’s ECE career started as a preschool assistant which then led to a teacher position, she never left the field.

“It’s been great for my students as it’s one thing to have book knowledge, but I’ve been in every position,” she said. “I’ve been the aid, the teacher, site supervisor, program director and I’m standing in front of you. When you ask questions, I have perspective from all of those different roles.”

Butcher returned to CSU, Chico, to earn a master’s degree in education, to go along with just about every type of credential one can earn in the ECE field. She’s been sharing her decades of ECE and leadership experience with students at Yuba for about seven years, which she considers a hobby that she does for fun.

When teaching late evening classes, Butcher gets creative in how to keep her students engaged and not falling asleep. Her courses are often dynamic and involve the students being on their feet, putting themselves in the shoes of the earliest learners.

How does one observe physical development? You can’t assume a child knows how to skip and gallop; it has to be taught—even in the college classroom, so aspiring early learning educators can recognize where a student is at developmentally and how to teach them.

“The first time I was evaluated, (Yuba’s ECE Faculty/Coordinator) Denice Burbach looked at me and said, ‘Wow, I never would have thought to teach it this way,’” Butcher said.

There will come a day when Butcher won’t be there to sprinkle glitter or clean up bloody noses, and she’s enjoying growing people up in the ECE field. “That’s why I love teaching at Yuba,” she said. “If you look at the demographics, it’s lower incomes and a lot of barriers to getting educated. I love that I can be a support to people who want to learn more. The ECE team is amazing. They’re always there to help each other.”

Butcher is a strong advocate for ECE learning taking place in a classroom setting vs. online, and hopes students understand the value of in person learning. She also participates in teaching conference classes as a way to get in front of young people working in or interested in the field.

“It’s my hobby after all,” she said.