Mother – daughter teaching duo
By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Molly Mazat
Terry Mazat and her daughter Molly, remember a time when there was just a single gas station and no schools in Castle Pines. Starbucks was not even a “thing” and at 10 p.m. every evening the elk would roam by to say hello. Both love the beauty of Castle Pines just as much as they love the people and teaching the community’s next generations.
Terry has lived in Castle Pines with her husband, Jim, for 26 years. Friends of the Mazats thought they were crazy for leaving their Denver home to live so far south. The quiet community and beautiful scenery painted the perfect backdrop for the Mazats. They raised both of their daughters, Sarah and Molly, on a cul-de-sac just off of Clare Drive. After a routine walk with her dogs through Claremont Estates, Terry found a house on the market and after much renovation left their home of 23 years. Today, their newly-renovated basement serves as Terry’s home preschool, Children’s Place.
Terry and her students, ranging in ages from 3 to 5 years old, can be found traveling the world on their pretend airplane where they cook, learn math and science, all designed around their country of destination. During their Native Americans lesson, they build a tepee and cook Indian fry bread over a fire. Children’s Place is licensed through the state and can take eight children, making it a very plentiful learning environment with a lot of hands-on activities.
Terry graduated from Purdue University in Indiana. She tried a couple of different majors, but the inspiration she gained from her third grade teacher kept bringing her back to the field of education. For more than 13 years, Terry taught kindergarten, first and second grades in Denver Public Schools and continued teaching at Cherry Hills Christian School, where Sarah and Molly attended.
Fifteen years ago, with little advertising other than word of mouth, Terry started her in-home preschool and has never looked back. Over the years, she has taught several children from the same families. Terry’s first class of preschool students are now seniors in high school.
Resident Mary Kasal’s three children attended Children’s Place over the course of nine years. It was Molly who mentioned her mom’s preschool to Mary. Today the Kasals reminisce about the fun activities and their first babysitter “fun Molly,” nicknamed by Mary’s oldest for being the perfect mix of a fun yet stern babysitter. Although Mary misses their daily talks during drop off, she knows Terry is just an arm’s reach away and she truly has enjoyed watching Molly grow into a beautiful young mom herself and feels blessed to have had both Terry and Molly in her kids’ lives.
Following her mom’s example, Molly has always been drawn to working with kids. She has assisted her mom at Children’s Place preschool, run summer youth camps, and has provided community babysitting. Currently, she works with Buffalo Ridge Elementary (BRE) Before After School and Summer Enterprise (BASE) program. Molly helps the children enrolled in the BASE program experience and grow each day with hands-on programs.
Molly was introduced to BRE BASE three years ago by a good friend in Castle Pines. Program Director Paul Brandt said Molly has been a wonderful addition to the staff and she is adored by the kids and families. Molly has really enjoyed working with and getting to know both the kids and their families while being able to create good relationships with them all.
As a single parent, BASE has been a blessing for Molly as she juggles work and kids. With the uncertainty of COVID-19 quarantines, BASE provides flexibility for Molly to be at home when needed. Her oldest daughter, Grace, attends BASE after school enjoying the company of her friends.
Molly is a true native to Castle Pines and is raising her two daughters Grace and Harper in the same community she grew up in.
“It has been crazy to see the changes over the years with all the new homes being built, but it is still a wonderful place to live and raise my girls,” Molly said.
When the day comes to an end, you can find this dynamic teaching duo and their growing family enjoying the beautiful parks and wildlife of the Castle Pines community.