Our children teach us what life is all about.

Yesterday morning as I was washing the hands and faces of the little ones who had finished their breakfasts my daughter leapt from her chair and shrieked, “Spider!”

I of course sprang into action to remove the eight legged invader from the table because spiders are a source of much fear for my eldest child … but the little arachnid was still, it’s legs curled up so it looked like a ball rather than a creature. I began to sweep him on to a piece of paper to toss into the trash.

“It’s okay, he’s not a live spider. He must have died,” I said offhandedly as I cast a glance at my daughter. The other kids had moved on to trains and cars and racing round the circle of the living room.

“Maybe he fell against the window and died,” she said matter-of-fact, chewing on the hem of her sleeve.

“Maybe.”

I whisked the little spider-body to the trash for a less than ceremonious “funeral”. When I looked at my little girl again her eyes were welling up with tears.

“I kind of feel bad for the spider,” she said, her voice cracking as I walked towards her and knelt beside her. Her entire five year old self fell into my arms and she cried for the little spider who died on our kitchen table.

Children have such big hearts, filled with empathy for even the smallest creatures on this planet.

Yesterday I learned to slow down as I helped my child find her way through her sadness. Grief is a hard thing to cope with, even when that sorrow is for the lost life of a little spider; children’s feelings are just as valid as our adult emotions.

Every moment I spend in the profession of early learning and care I am growing as an educator. I learn as much every day from the children that I work with as they learn from me and I’m lucky to have such kind little teachers.

Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day

Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day is set aside to acknowledge the huge difference ECEs make in the lives of families as well as the impact they have within the broader community.

Early Childhood Educators are experts in child development. We are passionate professionals that assess children’s needs and design curriculum to scaffold and support children’s individual stages of development and growth. We strive to cultivate healthy and trusting relationships with children and their families so that learning can blossom.

Everyday Early Childhood Educators are committed to providing exceptional learning opportunities for young children in environments that are caring and welcoming. We build bridges with families between school and home that allow us to work collaboratively to support each unique child.

Yet our work is still undervalued in society; we are seen as babysitters and those of us that work in the school system are often just thought of as assistants rather than teaching partners. This has to change! Research has demonstrated time and time again the importance of quality early learning and care programs and it is time that we begin to acknowledge the value of the educators who are committed to creating these high quality learning environments for children.

If you have an Early Childhood Educator in your life let them know how important they are today and everyday.

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. – Henry Adams

It Feels Like Autumn

One of my child care little ones is dozing on the couch, snuggled in a blanket that has followed me from home to home since college. She has an early start and I’m glad she can have some rest before the business of our day begins.

My son is happily chomping a cheese stick and practicing his signs, following along to the cheerful songs of the show Signing Time.

I am in the kitchen sniffing out the perfect seasoning for a vegetarian version of chicken noodle soup; I settle on thyme, rosemary and a bay leaf or two. It’s a cloudy and cool day that feels like rain, soup is like a warm hug in this dreary weather.

The end of August is always a difficult time; when my big kids head off to other adventures, each taking a piece of my heart with them. I hope I have prepared them for all of the things that await them in this next exciting chapter and that they will always carry with them a thirst for learning.

It’s an exciting time too.

Brand new little ones will step through the door as the warm weather fades and summer makes space for fall. They will become acquainted with the quiet nooks and crannies of the Monarch Woods during our forest adventures, learn the joy of singing with our music instructor, and listen with rapt attention to stories I have told a thousand times before.

With the fall comes conflicting feelings of joy and sadness. Despite the goodbyes that break my heart, the new hellos always manage to mend it again.