교사들의 학회 참석을 독려하기 위해서 지난 주 금요일에 휴원을 했던 것에 대한 미안함과 고마움을 표현하기 위해서 학부모 전체에게 보낸 이메일 메세지를 소개한다.

언제나 인간존중사상이 투철한 크리스티는 이번 뿐만 아니라, 사소한 일에도 학부모들에게 장문의 이메일을 마음을 담뿍 담아서 보내곤 한다. 예를 들면 몇 주 전에 폭설로 인한 임시 휴원을 했을 때, 그냥 간단하게 악천후로 인해 휴원합니다 라고 써도 될 것을, 어린이집으로 가는 길에 쌓인 눈을 사진으로 찍어서 (그 말인 즉슨, 그 미끄러운 도로를 운전해서 어린이집까지 직접 가서 확인했다는 뜻), 이메일에 첨부하면서 도저히 도로 사정이 위험해서 등원하는 유아와 출근하는 교사의 안전을 확보할 수 없으니 불가피하게 휴원 결정을 내릴 수 밖에 없었노라고 길게 설명하는 이메일을 보내기도 했었다.


영어 공부 하는 셈 치고 한 번 읽어보면 도움이 되리라 생각한다 :-)



Dear RR Families,
I wanted to share a few things about our Conference experience as well as information about our visitors this week from Malaysia.  First, we realize that closing the Center is a big deal for families and we want you to know what an enormously valuable experience it was for us.  70 teachers and staff from Rainbow Riders attended the conference on Friday, March 14 in Roanoke.  When all the final numbers roll in, the total investment for our professional development at the Conference will be almost $20,000.  Ask your child’s teacher if they think it was worth it ~ I sure believe it was!  J
 
The Conference.
Almost 1,100 early childhood professionals from across the state (and around the world!) attended this year’s Virginia Association for Early Childhood Education (VAECE) Conference.  Claudine and I played an essential role in planning and carrying out the Conference co-chairing the program committee. We were responsible for several nationally recognized speakers, 170 workshops and seminars, as well as the special events including a Rally and Motivational Luncheon.  Boyoung Park, a Knollwood parent and Radford University Early Childhood Professor also helped our committee in many ways with the Conference.
 
Many of our teachers made presentations at the Conference.  We heard many positive comments as participants left their sessions and are so proud of the professionalism of our staff and their willingness to share their stories.  Rainbow Riders presenters at the Conference this year included:  Margie Vest, Abbie Knobl, Sharon Stacy, Jenny Henika, Tiffany Burton, Laurie Tucker, Sean Skidmore, Ben Rowan, Carrie Funderburgh, Tammie Sarver, Christine McCartney and Laura Pearce.
 
Yesterday, I asked teachers about their Conference experience.  Feedback was energetic and inspiring!  Here are a couple of the responses:  “I have a ton of new ideas and I’ve been using them all morning.  This has been the best day in our classroom!” and “I’m a new teacher today because of all of what I learned at the Conference…. And that’s a good thing!”
 
With an emphasis on quality and interactions, our keynote speaker was the author of a recent publication called, Powerful Interactions.  Her “powerful” message breaks down our interactions to focus on a 3-step process:  Be Present, Connect, and Extend Learning.  While it is a simple approach, it yields extraordinary results with positive outcomes for children.  We still have some of her books for sale for $28 each.  Let a member of the admin team know if you’d like a copy!
 
The Tours.
A tour bus of 52 Conference participants came from the Conference held at Hotel Roanoke to tour our two Rainbow Riders sites as well as the Child Development Center at Virginia Tech.  Lisa at Knollwood and Laura and Kris at the CRC site guided and facilitated discussion during the tours.  Participants were extremely positive and there were many comments of “how can we do this in our classroom?”
 
The Awards.
Rainbow Riders was recognized at two events during the conference for being Accredited by the National Association for the Education for Young Children (NAEYC) and for our participation in the VA Star-Quality Program.
 
We celebrated the VAECE Media Award recipient (and RR Mom), Dawn Jeffries from Channel 10 News for her focused reporting on issues that impact young children and their families.  Some of these stories have included the VA Star-Quality Initiative, health, nutrition, and other stories that highlight and educate our communities about the importance of the early years.
 
Delegate Joseph Yost was also honored for a “Rising Star Award” to recognize his involvement with early childhood issues in our locality.  He has become a leader on issues relating to education and has particular interest in making a difference in the early years.
 
Malaysian Early Childhood Benchmarking Visit
When my son was in our White Room almost 15 years ago, Norzaini Yang (“Noni”) was one of his teachers.  At the time, she and her husband were attending Virginia Tech to earn their degrees and take back their knowledge to advance early childhood education in their country.  Noni told me that she dreamed of a day when she would return with her professional colleagues to visit Rainbow Riders and share our philosophy.  Noni contacted me last September to begin the planning!
 
Their group consists of 12 teachers from the teacher training university in Malaysia.  They planned their trip at the same time as our VAECE Conference to maximize their experience.  Yesterday, they visited the Knollwood site and had an opportunity to observe in classrooms and ask the teachers questions.  Meanwhile, our admin teams connected about philosophies, budgets, training strategies, etc.  Their teachers came back from their observations with high praise about our amazing teachers and their creative, child-centered curriculum.  Their administrators asked if we would consider expanding Rainbow Riders to Malaysia!  J  While that is a bit of a “stretch”, we do look forward to more opportunities to collaborate and/or provide training in the future.  On Wednesday (tomorrow), they will visit our CRC site.
 
Our Mission… and Thanks.
While it is our mission to provide the highest level of care and education for our children and families at Rainbow Riders, it is rewarding to also see that our work is influencing early childhood education across Virginia, and the world!
 
We share many thanks to our parents and our PTAs for their support for our teachers to attend the VAECE Conference.  In addition to financial support to help with the conference registration, both PTAs prepared goodie bags with treats for our teachers and staff.  We appreciate your support!
 
Kindly,
:-) Kristi