“Bernie’s place is somewhere between a home and a school,” is one of my favorite lines in the Bernie’s parent handbook. From the family-like atmosphere where my children feel safe and loved to the honesty and transparency with which the center is run, our family’s connection to Bernie’s is much more than transactional. Taking time to get to know the teachers, attending Bernie’s events, and serving on the parent-led board of directors are some of the ways parents can build the connection between home and center. By contributing to the Bernie’s community I have discovered many benefits for our family and for me as an individual.
I’m amazed at how many life skills Bernie’s teaches our kids. My eyes nearly popped out of my head the first time I saw my barely-walking 15 month old helping to clean up the baby room. I was a new mom and had no idea he was ready to learn how to help put toys away, throw trash in the garbage and even wash his own hands! As he has grown into the pre-k room I’ve learned from his teachers every step of the way. Whenever possible we like to replicate the Bernies approach at home not only because it works, but because it offers the kind of consistency that is so helpful as our little ones learn to navigate the world.
As parents of two small children we often feel like we’re careening through life with barely a moment of downtime. This means there is plenty of competition for our time and can make it hard to squeeze in an extra volunteer activity like serving on Bernie’s board. But by making the Bernie’s community a priority not only am I fulfilling an obligation to help the center, I am strengthening the bond between our home and our kids’ childcare experience.
Running a childcare center is no easy shakes – the daily task of caring for the kids is the most important and rewarding part, but inevitably Amy and her staff are handed challenges of all scales and dimensions. As a member of the board I have had the opportunity to work collaboratively with terrific parents to help solve problems and tackle issues facing the center. It is validating to get good things done with a kind and hardworking group of people.
I know like so many families before us, our family will always have warm feelings and wonderful memories of Bernies. By making the center a part of our home I hope to keep the Bernie’s spirit in our family forever.
Mom of William and Vivian