“It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have rewritten mine
By being my friend”
-”For Good” from Wicked the Musical
In the dark, cozy, cool, quiet, and still of nap time, we realized it was time to take down our graduate’s birthday handprints to send home; along with everything else each child had collected and stored in their cubbies, their art from the drying rack, and their extra clothes that found themselves a home here for the past year. The miscellaneous toys from home that ended up being a part of the classroom were gathered, too. As I watched Dawn gently take down their handprints, it hit me that our first actual school year was really over. Next week, we will be completely overhauling the classroom to get ready for our new Wonder friends that we will see in September and our graduates have already started at their new schools. We received photos of them walking into their new school or onto the bus for the first time, which was completely surreal and we are so proud of them.
Being an early educator will always be one of the best jobs in the world because it is all about building strong relationships with the children around you, and you quickly end up with 20 or more friends under the age of six. You start to get to know someone during their most formative years and if you’re lucky, you get to spend more than one year together. There is nothing like reflecting back and seeing how much a child has grown and learned during the time you’ve known them. There is nothing like the dynamic in our classroom, either- we are a family. We eat together, we play together, we sleep at the same time, and we laugh together. It’s truly magical.
I could go on and on about all the wonderful things about being an early childhood educator, but I have to address the hardest part of the job: seeing the children you have grown to love like your own move on to their next chapter in life. Things feel a little different this year, because we opened up a brand new school in the midst of a global pandemic. During one of the scariest times in our lifetimes, the teachers and kids mostly just had each other to help bring laughter, love, light, and joy into an otherwise extremely challenging , lonely, and dark time. We made it through this past year together.
As we say goodbye to our first full school year, we are beyond grateful for everyone that came together and repeatedly showed up to help us out, support us, or encourage us. Our founding families and Wonder Kids will always, always be an integral part of our school’s story. Every child that entered our doors this year helped lay the foundation for our school’s routines, philosophy, habits, and inside jokes. While the teachers have all worked really hard to create Growing With Wonder, we couldn’t have done it without the flexibility, understanding, and lessons learned from the Wonder Kids. They remained patient as we tried to perfect how our school runs and were always willing to make changes, and we are so thankful.
To our big kid graduates, We want to say congratulations and THANK YOU. Thank you for so,so much. Thank you for helping us create our school from the ground up! We want you to know how much of an impact you’ve had on the foundation of GWW. You helped us figure it all out! You helped us create our systems and routines and helped show us where we could make changes to make our school better every day. You are responsible for so much laughter, art, magic, and wonder we’ve experienced over the past year. We’ve seen you all grow so incredibly much, going from already incredible human beings to people who truly take our breath away every day with your thoughtfulness, kindness, caring, and love for adventure. Thank you for your desire to help us clean, set up the classroom, set up lunch, and for all your purposeful work. We’ve seen you develop a sense of ownership and pride for the classrooms and we want you to know that GWW will always be yours. Thank you for showing us how to play, how to roll with the punches, how to be flexible, and for igniting a passion for adventure in the teachers. Thank you for all the great walks we’ve gone on- there isn’t a better way to spend our days together than at the park or in the woods. We are completely astounded by the magnificent humans you are and we just know that you are all destined for greatness. Never hesitate to keep in touch, reach out, or join us for our traditions and parties. You are ALWAYS welcome in our school. Each of you are truly remarkable humans who are going to do incredible things in this world.
Although it is scary to send them off into the big world outside of our Wonder bubble, we are abundantly proud to send a group of empathetic, kind, compassionate, and thoughtful activists into the world. We know that their next chapters will be fun, exciting, busy, and challenging at times; we know that it might be a while before we see each other again. No matter what- these children have left their ‘handprints’ all over our school and our hearts. Our wonderful first year spent together at Growing With Wonder has changed its teachers, for good. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and we love you so much.
With so much love and Wonder,
Emily and the Wonder Team
We are Early Childhood Educators that consider introspection and reflection valuable tools that help us become the best teachers we can be. Please enjoy reading all about our adventures inside and outside of our classroom!