Earth Day 2010

I really love the children in my room at work (school age). Especially on days like these.

The kids did not have school this year on Earth Day, so as a special treat, we all walked to the local movie theater and saw How to Train your Dragon. Before we left the center, one of the girls was talking to me about what Earth Day means and what you are supposed to do on that day. I told her, goofing around, that on Earth Day, you were supposed to hug every tree you saw, to show your appreciation to it.

As we were walking to the theater, that same little girl ran up to the first tree we saw and gave it a great big hug while saying, “Greetings to you! Happy Earth Day!” It was so cute that I could not bring myself to yell at her for getting out of line.

She quickly got back in line, but had apparently read my silence as permission to continue doing what she was doing. Every tree or bush large enough for her to hug she would run right up to and greet with much enthusiasm.

As we neared Main Street and the trees were surrounded by concrete and sometimes trash, her words to the trees got even cuter. To one she said, “I’m sorry you’re right next to a garbage can, but I’m happy you’re alive!” To another she said, “I can’t believe someone littered right next to you. They should be ashamed of themselves!”

Now this is funny in its own right, but this coming out of the mouth of an eight year old was just too much. I could not help myself but to let her hug every tree on our way to the theater and every tree on the other side of the street as we walked back to the center.

Maybe if we could all take the time to show our appreciation and not care if we looked silly while doing it, all our trees would look a little happier. As she had said, “That tree looks sad. He needs a hug and then he’ll feel better and look better!”


Yesterday, while the children were up and running around, the center’s senior director came over to inform us that the center will be closed as of September 3rd. Nothing like giving faithful employees only three months to seek alternate employment. Also, the decision has been made and is set in stone. There is nothing that can be done; no petitioning or rallying that will get the administration to change their minds. We are being replaced by an orthopedic group. Apparently 20 years of child care service is not more important than knees and ankles. All must kowtow to the functionality they believe will bring in more revenue.

Now, we must all seek new employment. Obviously some of us are in sticky situations with bills and whatnot, but there are some of us who have extra pressures as well. I am getting married next month and was counting on the stability of this job to help build a new life with my fiancee. Also, two of my fellow employees are currently pregnant and will have difficulty finding a job to accommodate that, not to mention seeking new insurance.

Obviously, places of work close and businesses choose to move in new directions, but my issue is with the fact that we were only given three months warning when apparently this plan has been in the works for many months before then. Also, rival centers were warned about the possible influx of new children before the employees of this center were even given a hint about the closure.

We are all striving to find sources of new employment in a timely manner, yet we all seem to feel that we would like to stick it out to the end for the few children who will remain here until the end. The patrons here have become like families to us – especially those we associate with outside of the workplace. How will we cope without seeing children we have seen everyday for years?

Penguins in the Morning

I work at a Child Care Center as one of the Head Teachers in the School Age room. As there is no school this week, we are graced with the presence of the children all day. In an attempt to alleviate some of our programming stress, the local library decided to pay us a visit. What a treat it turned out to be.

The librarian began with a little background information. Apparently, in Rochester, throughout the month of April, there is a Children’s Film Festival. All of these films have age-appropriate language and content. One of this year’s award winning films was titled “Lost and Found,” based upon a children’s book of the same name.

The librarian shared Oliver Jeffers’ Lost and Found with the children and then told them to pay close attention. She had brought the film version with her to share. I do not think that the children were fully aware of the opportunity we were getting, but I sure was, as the film cannot be purchased outright.

The film was short, only 24 minutes, but it was very delightful. The librarian pointed out differences that the children may not have noticed and spoke of their meanings. Also, she made sure that the children got the true importance of the story. A penguin and a boy from different sides of the ocean can be friends; it does not matter where you come from, true friendship is what is important.

I hope the children really got that message today and will take it to heart. Just like penguins who arrive at your doorstep in the morning, we oftentimes come into each other’s lives unexpectedly and these impromptu relationships have the wonderful capability of becoming strong and wonderful friendships.