Throughout the year, visitors tour our program regularly. We’re often asked, “What makes your program different? What sets your program apart from other schools?” Our answer is always the same: relationships. Relationships are what makes us unique.
Why are relationships such an integral part of our program? Because as humans, we are social beings and crave connections. These connections provide us with a safe space in which to grow and learn, to take risks.
They help us learn to trust one another, which can have a lasting impact on the relationships we’ll form throughout our lives. Relationships are valuable in every aspect of our program. They are the umbrella over everything we do.
Staff is the backbone of our program. We strive to treat each other as we treat the children: with respect and dignity, honoring each other as individuals, and with acknowledgement of the unique gifts that each of us has to offer. To do this, we have to know each other, so we spend time building connections and bonding with one another, both personally and professionally, in small and large groups.
We value our relationship and shared partnership with the First Unitarian Universalist Church. A relationship we have nurtured for over 40 years. Having open communication and a mutual interest in each other’s programs and events helps strengthen our relationship with each other. We offer support and care, so both the church and SYC mutually benefit.
The teacher/caregiver partnership is another essential relationship here at SYC. We know that you know your child best and we offer you support during your family’s journey at SYC that will hopefully also carry you far beyond the preschool years.
Emails and informal conversations before or after class give us a chance to connect with individual caregivers and get to know each other, as do more formal opportunities such as parent-teacher conferences.
Parent Coffees and parent education nights are offered throughout the year. Teachers help create these safe spaces where parents, in small and large groups, join in conversation about relevant topics, sharing their challenges as well as their successes. Caregivers support each other and our community gets stronger.
A relationship is not one sided. We want to hear from you throughout the year. Need someone to bounce an idea off of, wonder why we do something, have a concern about our program or about your child, want to celebrate a milestone? Tell us! We want to grow and evolve alongside you and your child.
The social and emotional development of children is often talked about as the most important piece of our curriculum. We want to meet each child where they are. We want to honor their uniqueness, quirkiness, and their authentic selves. We must develop and build a relationship with each child so that they can trust that we will care for them and keep them safe in our classrooms. That is why we will not talk about your child in front of them unless they are included in the conversation. We want to respect them and respect the relationship we are building. We believe that each child is a real person who deserves to be respected. That their feelings are valid and ideas are worthy. It’s our job at SYC to offer them the time, space and materials for open ended play, to keep them emotionally safe, and to guide them through conflict resolution.
These first school experiences lead to children beginning to build relationships with their peers. Through conflicts we gain experience on building and repairing relationships. We will offer children support in exploring this new territory. We will honor your children’s right to decide who they chose to play with and who they call a friend. Through the context of relationships our goal is that your children will experience being in a group, gain confidence saying what they need and practice listening to others.
Nurturing a relationship takes effort: setting limits, providing support, keeping an open mind, and most importantly, listening. Our hope is that by honoring and strengthening all of these relationships, we will continue the tradition of SYC being a safe place where children, parents and teachers come to learn and grow.
So you see it’s not always the newest toy, latest fad or the shiny walls that make a program unique. It’s the relationships that are built within and outside of the four walls that makes our program so great. We look forward to continuing to build our relationships in the 2016-2017 school year.
…Susan Roscigno & Amy Rudawsky, SYC Co-Directors