By Julie Comer, SON Ministries Administrative Assistant and three year volunteer at the Family ESL Program.
A 4 year old comes to Family ESL with her mother and siblings. Growth and improvement over these last 7 months of the program is only the tip of the iceberg for this child. When she first started coming and her mother would try to drop her off in the early childhood classroom, she screamed, yelled, and tried to run away from staff and volunteers. Once in the classroom, she wanted constant comfort and she cried for her mom.
After mom was encouraged to head to her adult English class and she received comfort and support from her teachers, she has now grown into a classroom leader. At first Mom would ask (with her minimal English skills) each evening when she came to pick her up; “She OK?” When I or classroom teachers shared things were either rough, just OK, or great – she always responded with “Thank you” and touched my shoulder with a smile.
By April this child arrived each evening smiling and saying “Hi” each time with a quick wave. Once in the classroom, she was now offering comfort to other small children when they were hesitant or sad. She also was helping her classmates to and from their classroom for free play and story time, and patiently awaited mom at pick up time. To see her adjustment and transformation touches not only my “teacher” heart, but my “mom” heart. I want to say to her, I’m excited to watch you grow as a little girl and experience and be a part of the world around you!
Our goal for our early childhood classrooms is to prepare children for kindergarten – filling the gap since most who attend Family ESL will never have the chance to attend preschool.
We are confident this dear child will have a much more successful adjustment to kindergarten having attended the Family ESL Program with her family this year.
At SON Ministries, people are our priority, relationships are our goal.