by Jennifer Sneeden
It begins in the cozy corner. Twenty-five little bodies, squeezing into the small space that has served so many purposes over the past year. These children relish the physical closeness, the proximity to one another. They all sense that something important is happening. They can feel it in the air. And this space gives them a sense of comfort to begin their morning.
This is Bridging Day. Bridging Day marks the end of the Seedlings year, and while many of these children will be returning for another treasured year in the program, there are those who are saying goodbye for the final time. For the teachers, the parents, and the children, this is an emotional day. Sunflower has become an integral part of these families, and now they are moving on.
For others, like my family, who are returning for another year of Seedlings, we are reflecting on all the change and growth we’ve seen over the past 8 months.
My daughter, Emily, was the youngest Seedling this year. She began the year uncertain, tentative in this new environment. Luckily, the multi-age group meant she had “big kids” to rely on. They taught her the ropes and introduced her to a whole new world. She’ll return next year, older and more confident. It will be her turn to teach the younger children all the traditions and rituals that comprise the unique culture here.
No one stumbles upon Seedlings by accident. We’ve all come together as a community looking for something more. We’ve come for myriad reasons: some like the co-op, knowing that they can be involved with the program; others like the social development, recognizing this is an essential skill for young children to master; still others seek the connection with nature, a rarity among early childhood programs today. But whatever the reason for each family, we’ve found a home here together. A treasured space, not just for our children to grow and explore, but as a community of families each seeking this one-of-a-kind experience for our children.
And today we’ve come together to say good-bye; some of us just for the summer, and others permanently. It is a morning of songs and stories; we honor the beauty and the pain that marked this past year. We honor the special connection each child has with the teachers and with the other Seedlings. And even as we huddle under the canopies waiting out a passing rain shower, we all know there is no other place we’d rather be.
© Jennifer Sneeden and Sunflower Creative Arts, 2013
Photos © Haidor Truu and Sunflower Creative Arts, 2013
Jennifer Sneeden, PhD(c), LMFT, first connected with Sunflower two years ago, and is so grateful for the experiences she and her children have had through Susan and Sunflower. She’s a psychotherapist in private practice in Boca Raton. She shares her experiences as a mom and a therapist on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JenniferSneedenLMFT.