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June Message from Deb Green

The Hardest Part of my Job

Last week was tough. I had to let 50 families know that their child was not accepted into PIC's Pre-K Counts program. This is Pennsylvania’s fully subsidized preschool program for income-eligible families.
 
We only have space for nine children for the upcoming school year. Turning away families who are trying to get the best possible child care and early education experiences for their children is undoubtedly the hardest part of my job
 
From all my years in the early learning field, I know all too well what these children will miss. I also know that they only have one chance to get the foundation and skills needed in order to meet their full potential in school and later in life.
 
To make this a little clearer, let me share the best part of what I do.
 
My favorite moments of the day are the occasions where children pass by my office, sometimes on an errand with their teachers, or often en route to the A-Z Room or the lower-level courtyard to play. During these encounters I learn so much about the experiences of the children.
 
Recently, I watched out my office window as a group of children found a worm on the courtyard and responded as if they had struck gold. For twenty minutes they gently passed the worm from one palm to another, giving the worm a name and negotiating between themselves where they should return it to the soil. 
 
On another occasion, two brothers saw one another outside of my office door and with sheer delight the older brother embraced his younger sibling saying, “I just wanted to show you how much I love you!” 
 
Spending even just a few moments outside always makes my day. On one of the very few sunny and hot May mornings, a group of children inaugurated the wading pools with jumps and splashes, and then giggled with sheer delight as the teachers turned the hoses on them.  
 
On the our Nature Playground, I watched a child delight in showing his Dad how he can walk and balance on a log, while another child took great pride as he showed his Mother the plants he had planted in the garden earlier that day.
 
There is no denying that for each of these children, these moments were rich learning experiences filled with wonder and discovery, learning observation skills and to respect other living creatures, collaboration and cooperation with peers, social-emotional development, gross motor growth, and let's not forget fun. 
 
I marvel at all we do here every day and it breaks my heart that so many children are missing these once-in-a lifetime opportunities. 
 
Yet, as I write this I remain encouraged. This is the first time in my career that people beyond the early childhood education community are paying close attention to early learning and the possible creation of universal pre-k. This is our moment.
 
It is the chance to give more children the PIC experience that is driving our current exploration of expansion. We want to welcome more families into our community. We want more children to experience high quality child care. We want more children to have the best opportunities to be successful in school.
 
This month we will hold a second meeting on the topic of possible expansion of PPP. Come to hear our thoughts and plans. Hear about why PIC and why now. Learn about possible partners and funding sources, and proposed timelines. Discuss the opportunities and challenges. But more importantly, come to let us know what YOU think, raise questions, and help us carefully consider this very big undertaking. I'll let you know as soon as we have a meeting date on the books.
 
I hope you will be a part of this moment in PIC's history. In the meantime, if you want to know more, send me an email at dgreen@parentinfantcenter.org. I look forward to hearing from you.