As I prepare to see my third and final child graduate from Suburban Hills tonight, I cannot help but reflect on the past 8 years our family has “grown-up Suburban Hills.” The passion, dedication, creativity, patience, flexibility, and sense of humor demonstrated by teachers and staff were core to making this a most memorable experience.
For 8 years we punched the code to drop our children off at their second home. Morning drop-offs are always buzzing with energy at Suburban Hills, with teachers and staff personally greeting the children and their parents. And so often, more than just a “good morning.” You hear them ask specific, individual questions: “how’s your new baby sister?,” “are you feeling better today?,” how was your game last night?,” etc…It is clear from the point of entry, the deep connection the staff has with the children and with their world both in and out of school.
Of course, not every drop off went smoothly, as each of my three children randomly tested various tricks on making morning drop-offs interesting…the staff always had tricks of their own to smooth the transition…Whatever it took, they not only took the time to show compassion to my child, but to me as a parent. No sooner did I pull away, did I receive a call saying my child is “completely fine, laughing and playing with their classmates.”
The creativity and passion poured into holidays, events, and art projects far surpassed my expectations. I have a priceless collection of beautiful art projects – I never knew so many things can be made out of a simple foot and handprint! My most cherished gifts are the handmade treasures my children so proudly brought home from Suburban Hills. The dedication and creativity poured into Mother’s Day Tea and Father’s Day is heartwarming. I guess it is unlikely I will ever convince the middle school to carry on this tradition?! I will surely miss that.
Every holiday was brought to life at Suburban Hills, but perhaps one of the most talked-about at home is when that trouble maker, Riley the Leprechaun, came around every March. Wow, what a mess he made this year! It was so fun to not only see the school so festively decorated but the staff as well! We LOVE seeing them get in the spirit, be it holidays, pajama days, crazy hair day, red, white, and blue day, and so on…! The passion and creativity has been so inspiring to watch.
I can not say enough about the Suburban Hills Family. We have had so many wonderful teachers and I have enjoyed watching them grow through the years as they have watched my own children…The aids are a special part of the classroom and I love seeing how they visit or connect with the kids that have passed through their rooms. I can go on about the various special moments the teachers, aids, and staff have shared, whether my children were in their classroom or not, they always made us feel welcomed.
At the center of this is Miss Dale and Miss Jill – the dynamic duo that keeps it all running. Aside from providing a leading childcare experience, they have mastered such tasks as, nursing, dentistry, splinter removal, child rocking, refereeing, and the list goes on. Most importantly, they have mastered creating an atmosphere where children can thrive and grow, laugh and learn.
It goes without saying how quickly the years pass. Reflecting on those years, I recall my children being in your care for some of life’s more challenging times, be it the death of a family member, the birth of a sibling, personal struggles and our house fire to name a few.
The way the Suburban Hills Family came together and offered their support when we had our home fire will never be forgotten. I was taken back by the outpouring of care, compassion, and support. It was that spirit of care, compassion, and support that made me choose to join the Suburban Family so many years ago.
I can honestly say that those were the times that affirmed my choice of schools. To be my eyes to see how they were doing; my ears to hear how they were feeling; my arms for the hug they may have needed; all when I needed to be at work. It obviously helps that you were also able to be my sense of humor, because as we all know, the children speak freely at school, perhaps at times, a little too freely!
Words can never express the importance and peace of mind a parent feels knowing they are leaving their child in a safe, loving, and responsible environment – not to mention an environment that children thrive academically and emotionally – all while having fun!
…Knowing this will be the first year that Oakdale Road will not be on our route causes me to pause in the parking lot, stare at the building, and reflect on the journey each of my children took through your halls since we entered that very first code 8 years ago, a code that opened so much more than a door.
So, for every child’s tear you wiped, for every laughter you heard, for every child’s fear you calmed and life you touched, there is a Mom (or a dad) who you did the same for, whether you realized it or not. And this is one Mom that is eternally grateful.
From the bottom of my heart, there is nothing more I can say than “thank you.” Thank you to each and every one of you. You have made a difference.
With much gratitude, love, and respect,