Thoughts from Hartsbrook’s Early Childhood Faculty

For you dear caregiver...

For you dear caregiver…
As we find our way through this uncertain and disorienting time, we teachers are reaching out for the gifts in our education that provide us and the children a sense of security, calm, joy and purpose in our days together. Care, trust, rhythm, nature, gratitude, and working together are guides in our work. While at home, we are finding that spending time with these wise teachers reminds us of our sources of strength and wellbeing. We hope that by sharing them with you, they might offer you reminders of your own and your children’s sources of strength and wellbeing.

for ourselves
We need to care for ourselves as parents and teachers, in order to have the resources to care for our children. This care is much easier to preach, than to practice. Are there simple ways you tend to your own well-being even in the midst of family life? A cup of tea, meditation or mindfulness, physical exercise or time alone? Are there things that you can do with your children that take care of everyone’s needs at once? Singing, dancing, reading, quiet time for everyone, creative time for everyone, walking, snuggling on the couch, time outside?

for our children
As teachers, we find a few moments of present and intentional care with the child before us can be much more satisfying (to both child and caregiver) than a whole morning of trying to tend to everything at once. Our full, undivided attention for just those few moments can offer the child buoyancy to float through the rest of the morning.

for our home
Right now, your home is the center of the universe for your family. What might make it an especially nourishing place to be? How can you care for yourselves by creating very simple beauty, joy and peace in your surroundings? A jar of branches from the yard? A candle on the table? A creative artspace?

for our community
Are you able to turn your care, as a family, toward giving to others in the community who may need help? A neighbor, a friend, a foodbank?

Dear parents, trust yourselves. We teachers have such admiration for you, and the shining families you’ve created. Trust your gifts and capacities. You are just exactly who your child needs. Trust your children. They are wise and worthy guides. They have a knack for showing us just what they need. When they need more movement or quiet, a firm boundary or a little tenderness. Trust that there is a source of goodness in you, your child, your family, our community, our world that can carry us through adversity – together. Trust Love.

The rhythm of our days and seasons brings a sense of reassuring order to our lives. The sun rises and the crocuses bloom, regardless of the state of things. Each of our families have their own rhythm and routines we rely on. The times of the day when we know just what will happen are islands in the storm. What are those times for you? For your family? For your children? Rhythm is our friend in times of uncertainty. As we take time to think through our day or week, we can plan our days and find time in nature, in rest, in play and in nourishment. Your children will help you.

One of the Early Childhood teachers reminded us yesterday, to take a restorative walk between online meetings. When we each stepped outside, our perspective changed. The birds were singing, the buds swelling, the sun shining. Suddenly, All was Well. Time spent in the spacious sensory world of nature is a balm for body, soul and spirit. Children and caregivers alike can move, breathe, rest, feel the ground beneath our feet, and be held by something greater than ourselves.

In Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer describes the “Words before all other words” that are traditional to her Indigenous American culture. Before anything else there is gratitude. Gratitude toward sun, earth, water and sky that has made this life possible. When we take a moment, in times of stress, to remember a few things, large or small, that we are grateful for, we can often return to our center and positive outlook.

Working Together
Joining with our companions, side by side, to get things done brings a sense of togetherness in times of isolation. and a sense of purpose when we may feel powerless. Are there times in your daily rhythm that you and your child enjoy working together? Cooking, setting the table, sweeping, gardening, yardwork, cleaning? Children love opportunities to help, to do purposeful work that contributes to the wellbeing of the whole.

Hartsbrook Early Childhood Faculty
With love, Michelle Brooks, Janine Harrison, Valerie Poplawski, Rachel Kennedy, Chris Shaw and Magdalena Toran