To The Teachers of Sandwich Schoolhouse Preschool

Janell Burley Hofmann, July 08, 2013

To The Teachers of Sandwich Schoolhouse Preschool,

Thank you. Our family has enjoyed nine years of preschool with you. The first two people we met upon our arrival to Sandwich in 2004 were Stu Parsons and Jeanne Hamilton. How lucky are we?! What a beautiful introduction to a community rooted in nurturing families. During our tour of Sandwich Schoolhouse, I listened, captivated by Jeanne’s excitement about her curriculum, her passion for children, and the warm, homey environment of the schoolhouse. We jumped on the opportunity for Gregory to attend knowing there were just a few spots left in this wildly popular preschool program.

I was serious then, like we all are with our firstborns. I wanted everyone to know he could read already, he could write and spell and absorb high level concepts. I was never late that year – not once. I read the handbook front to back.  I signed all the papers on time. I paid in full for the year in September. I never forgot when we were snack helper and I labored over creative ideas to share with the class. We had play dates with everyone and I diligently remembered the names of parents, kids, and siblings. I was eager to contribute and even offered  – yes willingly volunteered – to make the infamous royal icing for the gingerbread houses. We took Christopher Bear everywhere and I documented each moment with seriousness. And with all of this high intensity parenting, I was met everyday by warm, qualified, and genuine teachers. And while I know they taught Gregory that year, they really taught me. They taught me that five year olds want to run, climb, play, ask questions, make friends, squish playdough, imagine, make a mess, learn to clean it up, dig in the sandbox, chase butterflies, catch hermit crabs and it was here, in these first years at Sandwich School Preschool that I learned to honor and preserve the most important lessons of raising children.

As the years progressed, you welcomed Brendan, Ella and Lily allowing them to be completely themselves – shy, sassy, sweet, active, creative, sad, excited. You remember who loved the color orange, who could cartwheel, who loved princesses, who loved whiffle ball at recess, who loved snack time. And this mattered to us. I walked through those doors for drop off zillions of times, sleepless, with a nursing newborn squealing in the carrier, a sick kid in the car, in my pjs, without a shower, frazzled, overwhelmed and each day, our family was met with the same consistent, dependable open arms. The kids could have a sundress on in January, mismatched socks, marshmallows for snack, crazy bed head, or be perfectly put together and I knew that no matter what, for a few hours each week, they were happy, safe, and among family at The Sandwich Schoolhouse Preschool.

And when I brought Cassidy here, I was seasoned, a veteran mother to young children. I had one foot back in the working world, feeling the sun set on my days at home, my days with young children, I was anxious to get on with life. We were late almost everyday. We were chronically made post drop off trips to Stop & Shop because we lost the snack helper calendar (again). We hurried in and out each morning and arranged for a carpool each afternoon. We couldn’t even remember what time we needed to here today even though you reminded us Monday. But see, Sandwich Schoolhouse has a way of slowing us down. And even if I had been to Crow Farm and The Fish Hatchery 72 billion times before, I saw the value of taking my little girl’s hand for one last stroll through the pumpkin patch, because right now, the minute we are in,  is the most important time of all.

So thank you. Here, my children had their first teachers, their first friends, the first  place to call their very own. You celebrated births and birthdays, holidays and weddings with us, you mourned the loss of pets alongside us, you walked with families having a hard time and we all learned compassion. You created a beautiful start to their lives, to their education, you taught them – and us – what is real. I speak for everyone as we wish Miss Jeanne a blessed retirement and we wish Miss Joanne and Miss Anne Marie all the best in the next phase of your lives. Today is more sweet than bitter, a celebration of all that you have given to decades of young children. You are a special kind of super hero – all of you. You will forever be in our hearts. Thank you.

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