One of our parents recently ended an email with this line: Thanks for all you do to create a great home for everyone!
Wow. That’s the goal, isn’t it — for everyone to feel at home in this space, not just our kiddos, but our faculty, parents, older/younger siblings, and visitors. People in all walks of life, all ages, ethnicities, genders, etc. Some of our kiddos have what are recognized as ‘special needs’ but really, doesn’t everyone have a special need? Something that makes them different? New teachers have needs that are different from those who have been here a while, ditto new students and students graduating into the next program. Single and divorced parents have different needs, and so do married parents. Parents of multiple kids have different needs than those with one kiddo, families with a newborn (or two!) need different support than a family with a preschooler.
Our preschool class read the book “Elmer” this week, and talked about differences. A perfect example — even though they all used the same template to create their very own “Elmer”, each one looked different. This is their topic this week: accepting differences. Their class now has a quote on the wall with their fish from “F” week: We may all be different, but in this school we all swim together! (I’m not quite sure where the quote originated from, but check out Pinterest for different versions of this.)
It’s part of being human — isn’t it? — to feel separated by our differences and connected by our similarities. How amazing, then, to feel accepted for what we have been led to believe should keep us apart. How wonderful, to be just who I am in a place where everyone else can be just who they are. What a blessing, to be in a Quaker community where everyone is accepted and encouraged to grow into becoming their best self.
Here at Oak Lane, ‘different’ doesn’t mean ‘better’ or ‘worse’ — it simply means ‘different’. And — as our kiddos always say when they want to express acceptance — that’s okay.