September 12, 2018

They Are Loved

By Mary Hunter Maxwell

When my mother found out that I was going to be the director of the Preschool at Second-Ponce last summer one of the first things she did was call up “Miss Chi-Chi,” who was the director of our neighborhood church preschool when I was a child.

“Remember that rambunctious little girl who may have spent time in your office after a biting incident? She’s going to run a preschool! Do you have any advice for her?”

When my mom started telling me this story I was a little bit embarrassed and fairly sure that advances in technology and our understanding of the way children’s brains develop had probably rendered any practical advice Miss Chi-Chi might have outdated.  In the time since I attended preschool paper ledgers have given way to Excel spreadsheets, the expectations of children entering Kindergarten have increased exponentially, and entire libraries have been written on the science of play and its impact on development.

“Never let yourself believe that you are too busy to bend over and tie a shoe, wipe a nose, or give a hug. The children, teachers, and parents all need to know that they are loved.”

What wonderful advice, and so fitting for our particular preschool. We are a small school with love at the center of everything we do. We know that children who feel loved and cared for can relax at school and focus their energy mastering the skills they need to be successful in school (and life) going forward.

I had Miss Chi-Chi’s wisdom on my mind last week when we had our annual beginning of the year Popsicle Party. There is always so much to do just before school starts, but for that two hours I was able to set aside the emergency plans and curriculum goals and just be with the children. I had the opportunity to wipe several sticky hands, give a few pushes on the merry-go-round and receive more hugs than I could count. It was a beautiful morning, and I’m looking forward to more like it soon.