It is the time of year when we, as a school, take a moment to reflect on and express our gratitude for the school community.
In 2018, I attended the AMI Professional Development Course offered by Trainer Jennifer Shields. The focus of the course was on the pivotal role practical life exercises – and Grace and Courtesy lessons, in particular – play in cultivating a sense of community in our classrooms. It is in the practical life area that young child learns how to care for their environment and their community. They learn that putting away the materials they are using is not only a way to care for the materials they enjoy – but also a way to care for the other children in the class who want a turn to use the material next. They learn that preparing snacks is not only a way to feed themselves but a way to care for the other children in the class who are also hungry. Over time, they learn that by sharing their skills (how to do a work, how to tie your shoes, how to offer comfort to a friend who is hurt/sad) is another way that they can make a meaningful contribution.
During the course, Jennifer Shields reminded us that “we work in paradise”. Every day we come to a place where we have an opportunity to be surrounded by the wonder, curiosity, and love the children feel for their classroom and their school community. Being an early childhood educator is not an easy job – but it is intellectually stimulating and challenging as well as emotionally rewarding. For this reason, we are so thankful that you have trusted us to be the Guides for your children.
Over the past months, we have relied on parents in our community to be our partners. We want to express our gratitude to each family that has already contributed to bringing snacks for the community and to the parents who have donated their time to help with drop-off on days when we needed a little extra help. We want to specifically thank the parents who helped us plan the Fall Festivities Picnic and volunteered their time to supervise a craft table and clean up: Kaitlyn Bellew, Abby George, Felicia Fiero, Caitlin Grenier, Natalia & Neil Lum, Rita Long, Bevin Parrish, Melissa Morrison-Reyes, Becca Sandness, Megan Srour, and Pilar Summerville. And, of course, we are super thankful for all of the at-home work you do to prepare your children to come to school (good rest, healthy breakfasts and lunches, and reaching out to help us stay in-tune with your child’s needs).
One of the privileges you get as a Director is a front-row seat to see how hard our teachers work each day to prepare beautiful environments for the children. Each week, they reflect on the children’s interests and needs and plan individualized lessons to offer each child. Each day, they come ready to be fully present for the children. Our teachers are amazing. And, we are so thankful to have them leading our community.
We wish you all a joyous Thanksgiving Break.
For more on Grace and Courtesy in Montessori Education, check out Modeling Gratitude in the First Plane of Development
and The Roots of Peace Education: Grace and Courtesy Lessons.