Saturday, August 30, 2014


This essay, written and submitted by my partner and I, and was first published in the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle newspaper in July 2010.

Each day when he learns something new, he says, “Yay!” with great enthusiasm. His body arches and he giggles out loud.  We, his grandmothers who care for him three afternoons each week, applaud and answer his glee with our own celebratory outpourings. 

As retired educators, we know the benefits of honoring success and providing a stimulating environment through cooperative, exploratory, and imaginative activities. Our almost-five year-old grandson radiates joy, excitement and love of learning as he manipulates his body and various objects and pours through books with intense concentration.  Within his relatively brief tenure as a learner, he has made amazing strides. 

As he enters kindergarten in the fall, we ask his future teachers:  What will you do to keep this flame alive?  How will you ensure that our grandson’s curiosity and love of learning continue?  How will you applaud his (and his peers’) successes and encourage his interest in the unknown?  Will you resist the temptation to provide all the answers and instead encourage him to ask higher-level questions? Will you have the confidence to guide him in seeking answers through various means?  What meaningful steps will you take to broaden his literacy in reading, writing, speaking, music and movement? What will you do to assure his parents and us that when we walk into his classroom, we will not find him sullen and discouraged and lost within the masses? 

Oh, what a travesty that would be. 

I post this letter for our newest grandchildren who will be entering through the school house doors within the next few years, and in honor of all kids who will be starting school this coming fall. 
Barb 8.30.2014

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