Here We Grow in 2019!
I have been thinking a lot about growth as we move into this new year. This is my second year as the Director of Haytown and prior, when my second daughter was a student, I was the President of our Board of Directors.
This year’s Strawberries are the first that I’ve known since they were babies. I remember Nora napping on hay bale during her big sister’s field trip, Charley staying close to her Grandma at Friday Story Hour, Alexandra toddling after Julia in a pumpkin patch, and pushing train cars down the hall with August when his family initially visited school. Many of our Blackberry, Raspberry and Blueberry students are younger siblings and I’ve known them since before Day One.
Watching your own children grow is amazing – we all know that. But it’s also beautiful to be invited to be a part of others’ lives and given the gift of watching their children grow too.
The teachers and I see it in big ways – we are convinced that summer sunshine and water make kids grow just like the flowers do. They leave us in May *this* big and come back to school inches taller in September.
We see it in subtle ways too:
- Our little Blueberry students, the Caretaker and Me program, have started ‘finding’ each other and there are moments that their play changes from parallel to interactive. We’ll catch them passing a ball, or sharing, or making each other laugh. They are excited to se their friends and call them by name. There is nothing sweeter than the start of these friendships.
- There’s the Raspberries pride in being able to say, “I go to school.”. These little two year olds have exhibited incredible growth in the past few months– they separate from their caregivers, know which coat hook is theirs, follow the class routine, and have become big fans of Mrs. Oborn and Mrs. Stazzone (or Mrs. Azzone as my 2-year old son calls her!).
- There’s the victory of a Blackberry using the potty for the first time, or verbalizing what’s troubling them and sharing their feelings with Mrs. De Cou and Mrs. Kinney. There’s the brightness in their eyes as they discover something new in the world and the patience and concentration it takes to carefully scrawling a perfectly imperfect smiley face.
- And there’s the growth of our Strawberries who exhibit such independence. I love watching them march into school backpack in hand, put away their own things, and be ready to take on the day. Mrs. Rodenberger and Mrs. Savage offer them so many creative learning opportunities and it’s a joy to watch them be challenged and grow.
I’m very proud of the ways our school staff and facilities have grown too. This year Terri Kinney, Nancy Stazzone, and Allison Oborn joined Sam DeCou, Carrie Savage and Amy Rodenberger as teachers and they’ve been doing an amazing job. It’s exciting to see them work together and share fresh ideas.
The addition of our new classroom has made it possible for us to expand our programs and offer school to younger children. The extra space has also made Friday school for Strawberries and Blackberries an option. It is my hope that that growing our schedule and offerings allows us to serve new and different families in our community.
Our Extended Days program has grown this year too. Classes are held four days a week with a designated day for karate, nature, sports and STEM. I love that the kids will have the opportunity to learn a skills once a week for nine months and can’t wait to see their progress.
We’ve also rolled out the Haytown app that keeps us all connected. It is constantly updated with new class information and photos, which is fun, but it also serves as a communication tool when it comes to winter weather delays and closures.
There are a lot of school options and we are so grateful for each and every family that chooses Haytown. One of the greatest joys is to feel spend time with our precious students, to know their families, and be a part of their lives.