Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Small thing, big insight

"The most unlovable child is the most in need of love." - Anonymous

I am late for the school day. I've parked my car about a block away from the school and am walking towards the building, for a mentor visit with a new teacher.

"Bye, Jack!" calls an adult voice as a car door closes and a young student moves from the car to the sidewalk. "Bye, Mom!" he answers. The car speeds away. The child is not even on school property yet.

A late-arriving student.
I've been visiting weekly all year, and I recognize this little guy.
A late-arriving student, from my teacher's preK class.

There's no adult walking this child to the door of the school?

Because the school day has started, there's no principal, no teacher, no administrative staff to meet this child at the school door.

Instinctively, I slow my walking, to accompany him inside, saying,

"Good morning, Jack. You are such a big boy, walking yourself into school."

"Well, my mom has to work."

He's figured out his significance in the world.

Jack's been a difficult learner for my teacher, not wanting to participate in activities, often slinking back with a frown on his face, muttering, "I don't wanna. I don't have to." He whines a lot. He has difficulty with his peers. The teacher has worked hard to help him feel more successful, to feel a sense of pride at his accomplishments, to be a friend.

Am I being melodramatic when I say: But he is invisible to his parents! How will education ever offset that?

Again, I am aware of the significance of small things. Walking your 4 year old child into school - a small must.

If kids come to us from strong, healthy functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important.” —Barbara Coloroso


  1. Hi Maureen,

    Thanks for your comment - I really like your blog too - I love this story about Jack and your beautiful quotes. I am going to read it at my next staff meeting for us to all reflect upon.
    From Paulette (Designing Early Childhood Australia)

  2. Here's a quote from a recent Diane Racitch article in the NY Times:

    "Families are children’s most important educators. Our society must invest in parental education, prenatal care and preschool. Of course, schools must improve; every one should have a stable, experienced staff, adequate resources and a balanced curriculum including the arts, foreign languages, history and science.

    If every child arrived in school well-nourished, healthy and ready to learn, from a family with a stable home and a steady income, many of our educational problems would be solved. And that would be a miracle."

    Here's the link to the rest http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/01/opinion/01ravitch.html?_r=1

    Thanks for walking him in, with care.

  3. Maureen! what an important point to make here, and how sad to think of a 4 year old having to be so grown up.

    I have so enjoyed keeping up with you via your blog over the past year - it's wonderful and I always learn something new. We have missed you at SSDS but are glad to know you're out there working with little ones, and best of all, helping teachers incorporate some of your joyful and creative approach to the classroom.