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Building Relationships: Take Care of You to Take Care of Kids

Our Plant the Seed/Grow the Seed of learning team is made up of educators excited about supporting young learners and the increased likelihood of academic success afforded to children who are actively engaged in environments that inspire curiosity, are rich in language, and foster time between the child and the loving adults in their family.  While most of our presentations and professional talk surround the “little people” (young children) in the room, we are also very excited about the “big people” (the adults) and the relationships that begin to form.  Fully supporting part of our mission of “educating and supporting parents…” means being purposeful about authentically connecting with other caregivers.  This isn’t just a bonus…it is essential.

Ask any educator about the foundation of his or her classroom and they will often begin with discussing a sense of community or culture.  We create classrooms that are safe places to ask for help, offer perspectives that differ without belittling, and inspire collaboration as the norm.  Each of the former becomes a “tool” for students as they navigate new complexities and learning adventures.  This concept easily translates into adulthood and to the way we want our Plant the Seed/Grow the Seed of Learning sessions to feel.  None of us (the presenter included) wear a “nailed parenthood” badge, but all of us come with an eagerness to learn, share, and grow.  With every new experience we share, common question we discuss, and family we add to our personal adult network we develop a stronger sense of self-efficacy (a belief in our ability to find eventual success).  It is this self-efficacy that keeps us going when challenges come our way to persevere, recognize we are not alone, and find solace in the fact that one step at a time we will navigate through this crazy and wonderful life.

No two caregivers walk the same path…whether you are Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, or Uncle…if you are showering your kids with love, your significance cannot be overstated.  You are important, thus you need to treat yourself with the value you deserve.  Take care of you to take care of your kids…grow your network of supportive people at our events and ask questions knowing that everyone there is figuring out parenthood a little better each day.  With each interaction we hope your emotional bank account will feel a little fuller.  And if you arrive feeling “on top of the world,” take the courageous step to introduce yourself to a family that you don’t recognize.  So as you look down in awe as your little learner plays, giggles, and grows, don’t forget to look up and offer a greeting to the adult learners in the room…changing the world often begins with a smile and an introduction.

Ryan Berardi
Principal, Kissel Hill Elementary
Warwick School District