When I was a kid I went to a public elementary school with polished wooden floors and desks lined up in rows. It was a two-story red brick building that often felt stark and forbidding. Most of the teachers were friendly and kind, although my enthusiasm for learning varied from year to year, based on my teacher’s ability to make school interesting. For the 1950s, it was a typical learning environment. I remember wooden chairs painted primary colors where we sat to read our Dick and Jane books in kindergarten. In first grade I sat at a wooden desk attached to the ones in front and back of mine. Because I was so small, the teacher placed a custom-built platform under my feet so they would have a place to rest. There were no engaging spaces with pillows and soft lights, inviting young readers to enjoy the adventurous world of books.
One thing I love about this time of year is the teachers’ attention to detail. With great care they create engaging spaces they’ll inhabit with their students for the next ten months. Ideas they’ve thought of during summer days are expressed in August preparations. Artful signs, kid-friendly containers, and carefully planned displays become signals that this is a place to inspire children. Through communications, conversations, and personal interactions, families receive the message that the Seed is a safe, welcoming environment. It’s certainly our intention that everyone who arrives at the Seed feels this way.
Administratively we offer this kind of invitation to our staff as well. We want our teachers to feel comfortable and trusted to do their work. We have faith in their abilities to bring to life children’s imaginations and curiosity. One of our main tasks is to see that each person, child or adult, who is a part of Awakening Seed feels comfortable and supported being themselves and part of the community.
At the end of the second day of school, Andrew, our new Preschool 3s teacher, stopped by our office for a quick chat. After talking about a few details of the new year, he stood up to leave. Before walking away he turned and said (with a big smile on his face), “I can’t believe you pay me to do this job. I’m having so much fun!” It’s this kind of enthusiasm that keeps the engagement level high, and makes coming to the Seed each day an adventure for all of us. We hope you feel it in the same way we do.