Never Too Young (or Old) to Navigate Change

Posted May 24, 2022

Never Too Young (or Old) to Navigate Change
By Amber Scheibel

Change is hard. Some people have no problem with it, but others, like me, don’t readily embrace it.

Trying new things, putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, and starting new life experiences can be intimidating, overwhelming, and downright scary. I’ve known my whole life that this has not been one of my strong suits. Not that I let the fear of change hold me back or prevent me from trying new things, but it has always been something I stress about behind the scenes. As I sit back and reflect on my first year of teaching at All Seasons Preschool, I can’t help but remember how nervous and, if I’m being honest, a little terrified I was to start a new job.

I love being a preschool teacher. I truly feel it is my calling in life. I am good at it, I love working with children, I love getting to know the families, and I love connecting with people and developing relationships. It is what fills my bucket and I have been blessed to do it for almost twenty years… so teaching preschool is not something new to me. However, starting a new job is. You see, I worked at the same preschool, a preschool I loved, with coworkers I loved, for seventeen years. My coworkers became cherished friends who I spent time with (and still do) even outside of work. When the pandemic caused our school to abruptly and permanently close, it was heartbreaking. Factor in my aversion to change and the uncertainties that the pandemic created, I really struggled with ending my time there. I felt sad, scared, and unmotivated when I thought about what I would do in the future.

However, after a good part of a year spent at home with my family, I realized I needed to start looking for another job, doing what has always brought me joy – teaching preschool. I didn’t have high expectations that I would find a place that fulfilled me like my previous preschool did. Over the years, I have heard other preschool teachers and families complain about the lack of quality preschools and quality teachers. I always considered myself extremely lucky to work in an environment where I enjoyed my coworkers, was proud of the program, and where I could wake up each morning excited to go to work. Would I find that again?

Long story short, I did. After substitute-teaching at a few different schools, including All Seasons, it was immediately clear to me that this is a special community. This is where I wanted to work. Although it was outside of my wheelhouse being that I have never worked at a nature-based preschool before (and that I don’t particularly love bugs), I felt like I had the most opportunity to be challenged here. And the philosophy of the program lined up with what I truly believe a preschool should offer to children. Everyone at All Seasons greeted me warmly, full of advice, patience, and friendship as I navigated my way through new routines, new surroundings, and new experiences. I respect and enjoy each of my coworkers and directors here and they, along with my students and their families, quickly became people I appreciate having in my life. And I’m once again doing what I love to do. This is a fun job, and although it can be challenging at times, there is nothing else I would want to do.

Now, as the year comes to a close, I can’t help but draw parallels between my experience starting a new job and the emotions many of my students must have felt at the beginning of their preschool journey. Some have a seamless transition and are excited and eager to do ALL the things and meet ALL the people, while others are not comfortable leaving their parents or caregivers and being thrust into an unfamiliar environment with strange new people. The first few days, weeks, and for some, even months, can be a challenging period. But eventually, the children grow comfortable, learn to embrace the experience, and enjoy spending time with their friends and teachers. What at one point might have been viewed as a negative, scary experience now feels like home, a place they feel welcomed and are excited to go to each morning. And I feel the same way.

Spring Blooms

Posted May 10, 2022

Spring Blooms
By Sarah Kern

After an incredibly long winter, it seems that spring is finally here. We’ve gone from snow pants to shorts in record time. And as the waiting buds finally burst open, relationships are blossoming at All Seasons.

Our beloved grandma readers, once strangers to some, are now members of our All Seasons family. Marion, Bette, and Pat are seamlessly folded into classroom routines and events. A couple of weeks ago, both preschool classes had pancake breakfasts, during which families could stay and sample syrup made from our very own maple trees. Of course our grandma readers were invited, and they were thrilled to taste the syrup.

In the toddler class, visits to Grandma Stella’s apartment have become routine. Children are eager to show her their fancy dress up clothes, try out her real flashlight, and peek out her window.

In the classroom, too, true friendships are everywhere. Even our youngest students are beginning to seek one another for play and reach out a hand to help.

A treat this spring has been to join together our older and younger classes. The full day preschool class and our toddler class have met a couple of mornings on the playground to play together. Immediately the older children welcomed the youngest into their play. Toddlers crawled like kitties with an older group, and groups worked together in the sandbox to dig holes and build castles. When a large rain gutter was added to the hill, 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds alike gathered to send various sizes of balls down the ramp.

The seeds that we’ve been sowing all winter long are blooming inside and out, and now is the precious time of the year that we’ve been waiting for. It’s time to soak it up.