October 24, 2013

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Teacher Katelynn Regan celebrating Harvest with her PK students

Many of us remember the TV sitcom Cheers which ran during the eighties and early nineties – and has been re-running in syndication ever since.  It was such a popular show that it even made it over the Atlantic to my childhood home.

At my English boarding school, there was a great kid we all liked who didn’t look unlike the actor George Wendt (who played the character Norm Peterson). On occasion, when he entered a room, we used to shout out “Norm!” in imitation of the cast of Cheers.

Cheers had a popular theme song.  You probably know the lyrics:

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

Three quick stories from Friends’ this week which explain why Cheers and Norm were on my mind:

5th grade TC Trevor McGill
(appearing soon in our Peter
Pan production)
Every Monday morning I am out on the elementary school playground at recess.  This Monday, I noticed several girls from our Kindergarten class sitting on a low wall participating in a craft activity together.  I think they were weaving.  Trevor McGill also noticed them.  Trevor is the Teacher Candidate in our 5th grade class and does not generally spend any time in the Kindergarten class. He was curious as to what the girls were up to and wandered over to where they were sitting.  He called each of them by name and engaged in conversation.

On Tuesday, our Director of Admissions, Mari Engle Friedman, received a phone call from a Physician's Assistant in Wheat Ridge.  The lady is a friend of one of our preschool families. She called Mari to let us know how impressed and appreciative she was to hear Friends' preschool teachers are knowledgeable about the particular sensory issues that her friend’s daughter deals with and that our teachers’ attention to these issues is truly outstanding. How she wished she had found a similar preschool for her child, one that knew her child as the individual she is.

On Tuesday and Thursday, our preschool and elementary classrooms all participated in our annual Harvest Celebration.  This is a long-standing Friends’ School tradition, dating back to our founding families in 1987. Our Harvest celebrates all the bounty the earth offers us, and the traditional year-end harvest of the crops. Families are invited to come together to sing songs, hear a story, and share some food that the class has made together. In the preschool, it was delicious pumpkin muffins. In the elementary school, it was a cup of ‘Stone Soup’ made from vegetables that our families have contributed to the community. If you were at any of these events, like me, you will have noticed the amazing warmth surrounding the children, and all the adults – teachers and other parents – who knew the children by name.
It seemed that everywhere I turned this week, I saw evidence of how well each and every individual child at our school is known – by the teachers whose job it is to know them – and by everyone else in this amazing community as well.
Thank you all for the part you play in knowing all of the children. “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came.” We’re always glad you came.

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