As many times as I was over at Jordan doing some brainstorming with a teacher about a few bumps that my son was experiencing in his middle school road over the past few years, afterwards I often came back over to nursery school and discussed those meetings with the nursery school teachers. Many of the First Congo teachers have either had children through middle school or have children in middle school right now, and could both listen to and reflect upon my parenting challenges with great understanding. I could share the good, bad, and the ugly with these friends because I knew that I would not be judged, my child would always be given the benefit of the doubt, and that everyone in the conversation had my and my child’s best interests at heart. We are a community of learners, learning about how to parent, and eager to share our stories and experiences to help the parent who is trying to come up with a strategy for helping a child overcome a challenge.
This is exactly the thinking behind First Congo’s Parent Ed opportunities. We enjoy meeting with parents who bring their parenting questions and open up about challenges that they are having with their preschoolers. Every parent has a slightly different issue, but the issues are usually tied to a phase of development that is common to all three-, four- and five-year olds, so no matter what is talked about, everyone walks away with some new nugget of helpful information. Suggestions that may work for one family may never be considered by another family, and what works for one child may be a ridiculous suggestion for another child. Nobody will ever know your child as well as you do, and nobody will have as much influence in your child’s life as you have. You are your child’s primary teacher, advocate, nurturer, and guide.
First Congo’s Parent Ed opportunities provide an avenue for growth and expansion of parenting skills in a loving and safe environment, free of judgment and full of humor. Were I a perfect parent and had perfect children, I would not have needed to be over at Jordan brainstorming with a teacher. There are no perfect parents and no perfect children. I strive to be a “good enough” parent who rises to the inevitable parenting challenges that come my way with my best self at the helm rather than my worried, tired, cranky self sitting in the driver seat. Some days I’m more successful than others, but my best days are when I feel the support of my fellow First Congo teachers at my side encouraging me, empowering me, and making me laugh.
Please feel free to join us in this meeting of the minds and sharing of parenting concerns. Of course, you don’t need to wait for Parent Ed opportunities to ask teachers questions or brainstorm with friends, but this format is especially conducive to the kind of conversation and connection that is hard to achieve while shepherding children in the moment. In the meantime, may you always feel the encouragement of our school community at your back as you travel along your parenting road.
Keeping a positive and playful attitude in the midst of parenting challenges can be difficult but such an attitude is a powerful tool. By ‘playful’ we don’t mean to suggest that your efforts are not in earnest, nor that you can’t be firm in your expectations. Rather, the qualities of constructive play — cooperation and collaboration, imagination and innovation — are important in setting the tone of your efforts and expectations, because they can have such a significant, positive impact on the success and enjoyment of your job as a parent and the growth of your child. Keeping a positive attitude, both in your opportunities to reflect on the job and in your active pursuit of the very best possible relationship with your children, with the intention to work with rather than do to, is the surest way to smooth over those bumps in the road!
We are looking forward to a Parent Ed workshop that focuses on these very ideas on February 26th. Plan to join us!
Upcoming Calendar Items
Paper work and deposits from returning families for 2013-14 are due on Friday, March 1st.
We’re looking forward to spending some time together on Friday, February 8th at the Peery home, from 7-10 p.m. Hope to see YOU there!
Please be certain to note that First Congo will be closed on the following dates: Feb. 15 and 18.
Parent Ed Workshop
Positive Discipline is the focus for our next workshop which will take place on Tuesday, February 26th.
Budget and Tuition for 2013-2014
2013-2014 Budget Approved
Each year the First Congregational Church Nursery School Executive Board meets to approve the budget proposed by the Director and the Treasurer. I am happy to report that next year’s budget has been approved by the Executive Board and we can now share our next year’s tuition rates with our parent body. After the thoughtful review of last year’s budget the board approved a budget plan for 2013-2014 that minimally increases tuition by 3%.
FYI: You have recently received registration forms for the 2013-2014 school year. Please note that tuition is divided into 4 equal payments, with the first payment due in early March to secure your child’s space.
2013-2014 Tuition Rates
Annual tuition per student
2’s Program – $2, 156
3’s (T/Th) – $2,952
4’s (M/W/F) – $4,120
First payment (due with 2013-2014 application and non-refundable)
2’s Program – $539
3’s (T/Th) – $738
4’s (M/W/F) – $1,030
First Congo is once again pleased to be a sponsor of this bi-annual event. The topic of focus this year is self-compassion, and the event will feature several speakers. Mark your calendars for March 9th and plan for an inspirational morning!
The Styer family (mom and dad Cate and Mike, Henry, 3’s and Arthur, 2’s) welcomed baby Georgina into the fold on January 12th — congratulations to the whole family!