by All Seasons Founder, Sarah Sivright
I started writing a draft of this months ago, knowing it would take some time to decide just what to write. Now we are not at school; greeting each other in the morning, spending time with grandmas and grandpas, planting the gardens, listening to and writing stories, playing with friends, inside and out, telling the dreaded “knock-knock” jokes at lunch—hugging, so much hugging.
I thought I was going to be saying goodbye to all that in June, not in March.
Much of what I was going to write seems unimportant. But it’s not, it’s just not front and center.
I have to write about some of the things I’ll miss, so please indulge me for a few paragraphs.
I started in the early childhood field in 1985, as the “nursery school” secretary at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, watching and learning from great and awful teachers. But I’ve been lucky to be mentored by some of the best—teachers and parents—and landed back in Minnesota in 2001, with Amy’s children in my classroom at Dodge Nature Preschool. When she called to ask if I wanted to help her start All Seasons, I knew immediately I’d been offered something special.
Now I am ending my career with some of the best mentors I could ever have—Amanda, Amy, Jenny, Joanne, Kylen, Rita, Roxie, Sarah, and Tracy.
They love and care for your children in ways that inspire and humble me. They also make me laugh and cry, a tribute to the love and trust we have for each other.
And, of course, you parents. It can sound like a cliché, and the truth sometimes takes a while to sink in, but we are partners and need each other to be able to give these children the very best school experience.
Ah, the children. They are the teachers. And they are the ones I’ll miss most.
Helping that very last child get into snow pants on a cold day when they’d really rather stay inside, and learning what they need—physically and emotionally—to be ready to go out that door.
Watching that shy child peer at the grandma in a wheelchair–seemingly asleep–tentatively touch the wrinkled hand in greeting, and smile in surprise and pleasure, as the eyes open and the smile is returned.
Reading a story at group time, stopping for the questions and observations—always the best part of the experience.
Learning what each child needs to grow from reluctant, impatient, participant to eager, confident artist in the studio.
Laughing together at some silliness
Giving comfort to a child who has learned to accept help
Hugs–all the time—hugs.
I wouldn’t have all this to miss if Amy hadn’t held on to her vision for 20 years and asked me join her. I will never be able to thank her enough.
It seems impossible to imagine not spending my days with all of you, yet it also feels right. All is well here, with All Seasons in good hands, and our new school about to open in the fall, carrying our powerful mission to a new community. We don’t know what the future will bring, but I’m confident that we will continue to be a resilient, loving community. And I will stay in touch.