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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Starting up

The first few days of a new centre opening are tricky.

We have a new staff team with the benefit of a few days together but nothing can really prepare them for that first day.

When all the new families walk through the door with bedding, extra clothes, lunches..... everyone hesitant about where things go, how things work.....everyone wanting to talk to staff.

Parents linger. Children sense this is a BIG thing.

Some children walk in ready to play and meet new people and settle in fast.

Others much less ready to say goodbye show us their emotions.

It's a busy, full, sometimes trying day for all

Jennifer and I play a supporting role on these first days.

We step into the classroom when it seems another pair of hands would be helpful.
We heat up lunches, clean up messes, set up the nap room.....

So that the teachers can focus on the the important work of relationship building.

Of course we end up connecting with the children and families too but we try to stay on the periphery because we are exiting from here slowly to resume our regular work, attend to our full in boxes and messy desks (that would be me not Jennifer!).  We will be around all of September but less and less each week.

We have faith in the staff, children and families here that they will get through the firsts of Cranberry with grace and good humour...they will weather the inevitable bumps....celebrate the increasing times when joy replaces tears, chatter between children grows and a semblance of what we call "normal" settles over the centre....... this is no small thing ...a transformation worth watching and celebrating....marvelling as this Cranberry community grows into itself.

Jennifer wrote this reflection from her makeshift workplace in the Cranberry office yesterday....

Through the Looking Glass…by Jennifer Chen

Here is my temporary work station at Cranberry…right beside a big window peering into the Infant/Toddler Program.

I have had to hold back from going into the Infant/Toddler Program during this gradual entry period because they need to bond with their educators who see them regularly.  It is important for the children to build these relationships with their educator - to build trust and consistency.  

Yet I find myself wanting to make a connection with them…through the window.  Once these children settle in, I will be in there more often but in the meantime, here is our story…

I see Caelan being curious about the lady who mysteriously stands right by the window.

I see Abigail and Ariel communicating…without words

I see Victoria finding joy in clapping two puzzle pieces together

This is a good place for see and be seen .. to make connections, to observe the ordinary moments unfolding.  This will build a foundation for me to work with these children and their educators in the coming months as we live into our vision of "Changing the world by Honouring Childhood"