For today’s FRIENDS Friday celebration, I would like to share with you a message that I received a couple of weeks ago from Erin Shapleigh, our Education Coach in Melrose. She sent this to me on the one-year anniversary of the school’s opening last June. I trust you will be as inspired by her note as I was when I first read it. Here it is, in exactly Erin’s words.
“As I sit here welcoming all of our families through the door after a long day, I can see that they are eager to pick up their children after their hectic workweeks have come to an end, and anxious to hear about their children’s days, it is at times like this that I am grateful for my attentive teachers who are so available to the families. I do not have any worries as I hear the teachers recount the children’s discoveries from today, calm the parents fears regarding behavior and confidently tell them how amazing their children are.
I am thinking back to everything our school has gone through over the past 12 months, both the good and the bad, because that is life and that is how we grow. When we were opening our doors last June with 3 families, to today opening our doors with all of our classrooms at full capacity, I cannot help but smile. We have enjoyed growing pains, and have grown alongside all of our families.
We have had opportunities to see children take their first steps, say their first words, and utter their first sentences. We have taken part in celebrating teachers and children as they have celebrated their “first birthdays” with the Little Sprout family, we have seen children complete and graduate from our Preschool program, prepared to enter public schools and have enjoyed learning new approaches as educators. We have had the opportunity to master touring new families, and fine tuning our tour method so that we can provide every family with all the information to make the best decision for their family. We have faced challenges with our waitlist and have learned to ask for help when needed. We have seen first hand the magnificence of imagination flourish on our playgrounds, as we embraced the natural environment (even though we would truly prefer a climber). Our teachers have learned to ride plasma bikes and ride alongside our children, appreciating the power of laughter and a smile. We have adjusted to change and have learned to roll with the punches, we are adaptable, we are educators, and we are a family.
Thank you for all the support, love and attention everyone has given to Melrose. From the hiring, to staffing assistance from the home office and other schools, the training hours to help build these teachers into everything they demonstrate the potential to be, the dedication to answering family questions and seeking knowledge, the musical sprouts who have helped to foster an appreciation of rhythm and a passion for tempo, the building of shelves and classrooms and a go with the flow approach every time the toilets in preschool need to be repaired, the iPad and Kaymbu support that allow our parents to feel a level of inclusion that is paramount to other providers in the direct area, and everyone that has helped play an instrumental piece in allowing Melrose to be amazing, I want to say thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. We look forward to year number 2, and all that is set to come our way!”
I told you… inspiring, right?!? What I love about Erin’s message is that it perfectly captures the essence of our Real Passion and Family First values. It is a wonderful reminder of just how important our work is. It also invites us to reflect on how challenges can be flipped on their heads to be embraced as opportunities to learn and develop.
Thank you, Erin, and thank you, Team Melrose, for living our values!