Larisa Miller Lawrence

Larisa Miller Lawrence
Hesston College Preschool Director
Phone 620-327-8161
Office Laban Peachey Center

Affiliated Departments or Programs


  • A.A., Hesston College
  • B.A., University of Northern Colorado, Greeley
  • M.S., Early Childhood Education/Family Studies and Services, Kansas State University, Manhattan, in progress

Personal Statement

I teach at Hesston College because I enjoy the daily contacts and interactions I have with the students involved in the ECE Lab Preschool program. I am involved with educating college students but not in a classroom setting. I teach and direct in the Early Childhood Lab Preschool on campus. The students are gaining knowledge and background in their Early Childhood courses and then bringing that knowledge into the lab to get the "hands-on" experience with the preschool children. It's a wonderful way to educate future teachers, by having the education coursework piece and lab experience merge together. I find great satisfaction in helping college students gain skills and confidence by working with and teaching young children.

Professional Affiliations

In Addition …

What draws you to the field of education?

I have always enjoyed teaching and am interested in helping others learn skills to become teachers themselves.

What about teaching energizes you?

The learning that takes place. The moments where students learn skills and gain confidence.

What are your favorite courses to teach? Why are they favorites? What do you like about them?

I teach the students in a very different way than most other instructors. I work with the students in the preschool lab. They are gaining hands-on experiences and I am there to help guide this process. It's exciting and energizing to walk the students through their learning in this way. I am helping them gain skills to be a teacher.

How has your background and educational experience shaped you as a teacher?

I have had a variety of experiences that have given me tools and skills that I now use in the classroom setting. I have worked with a variety of age groups from infants to college age, and each of these experiences have helped me learn ways to be more open, flexible and adaptable to situations and people.

Who are your role models or mentors? How have they influenced you/your life/your faith/your approach to teaching and/or your discipline?

I have several people whom I have looked to for guidance and learning! One person is Nancy Hedberg, a dear friend of mine. She is a person that I confide in, seek advice from, and who has taught me skills in all areas by her example. She is a retired teacher and has given me some really good advice on occasion that has helped me see a different perspective. My parents have always been tremendous and have offered support and encouragement throughout my teaching career. They have influenced me in countless ways.
      Tami Keim, fellow colleague, has influenced my very early teaching experiences here at Hesston College. From 1991 to 1993, I was a student myself in the Early Childhood Program and Tami was the instructor. She provided guidance and learning more about this field. The experience I gained in my early college years at Hesston helped pave the path I've taken in regards to teaching and other pursuits related to working with children in my career. I value the experiences I had at Hesston. These experiences laid a foundation for the career I pursued after I left Hesston.

How will Hesston's Education program challenge students academically?

I think the Early Childhood Program here at Hesston will challenge the students as they gain concepts in the classroom and apply them in the lab preschool setting. It's more than just sitting and observing, there is active involvement in this program!

What are the advantages students in Early Childhood Education find coming to Hesston?

I hear former students say how their experiences in the lab preschool helped give them a foundation for their teaching journey they are now experiencing.

What do you most want to know about prospective students?

What are your interests? What are you most passionate about? This may lead you to finding what career you may want to pursue.

How do students and faculty in this program connect beyond/outside the classroom?

In the preschool lab, students and faculty connect on a daily basis. I touch base with them when they come in the preschool and we discuss lesson plans, activities and their responsibilities that specific day. They are part of the team, so we are communicating on a continual basis.

What do high school students need to know about Hesston's learning environment?

Hesston's learning environment is very individualized. Instructors are known to work one on one with students if needed. Hesston wants students to succeed and they accomplish this in a variety of ways.

Where do this program's alumni go and what do they do after Hesston?

Alumni go in many directions: elementary/secondary education teacher licensure, assistant teachers in preschools, para educators in public school systems, social science/family studies degrees, social work degrees, Head Start teachers and much more.

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