URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Learning starts at a young age, and preschool teachers play a big role in setting a foundation for the future.

At Little Hearts and Hands in Urbana, Courtney Hambleton is one of the teachers working to make that happen in her class of 2-year-olds.

Hambleton started working there at 16 when her aunt started the business in her house. That’s when she got hooked and wanted to turn that volunteer time into a career.

Now, she’s singing songs, playing games and teaching young kids the skills they need to make the next step. Hambleton said it goes beyond the classroom, too.

“I’ve bonded with a lot of families outside of here. My flower girl was a kid in my class,” she said. “I’ve known these kids forever. Then they come back here too sometimes to work which is amazing.”

At the end of the day, she hopes to create a nurturing, loving space in her classroom.