A few weeks ago, I visited one of the Early Learning Centers, and I noticed that they are as short-handed as the rest of the other areas in human services. But, despite that, the children were lively! One small group ran up to the Center Director, Josie Jones, filled with joy, calling out, “Miss Josie!”
If you ever need a boost of energy or the feeling of freedom, spend an hour or two with a group of three-year-olds. In that Center, you could see love in action. These staff created a safe, enabling, and inspiring space for children to discover words, ideas, and possibilities. These children love each other, they love their teachers and staff members, and the commitment to helping them develop their capabilities to learn is evident in the methods the staff use. For example, the staff’s tone of voice, how the teacher manages time, and the different techniques and materials used — help the children understand.
It is incredible and beautiful to see how we model inclusion. Children who have extraordinary needs, and those who are not English speaking (yet), are supported together to learn and care for each other. Additionally, the staff love their mission in life and love these children. You can feel and see it, showing that love makes discovery possible.
When meeting the Early Learning Centers leadership team, you see a group of dedicated and hardworking individuals helping the teachers and support staff succeed. You see them brainstorming what resources to acquire, how to use them best, and how to measure and describe success.
We typically have a teacher for one year in our school years, but that year can be life-changing. These teachers give up time to learn how to be better teachers and face challenges that are not easy to surmount. But they come back and overcome them. I am so grateful for the work of our schools; love makes that work possible.