“Every child is a different kind of flower and all together make this world a beautiful garden.”
This has become one of my most favorite quotes because it weaves together two of my favorites ~ children and gardening! These words grace my office door, complete with original artwork by staff member Margie Brown and Japhet students. It provides a thoughtful and warm welcome to those who enter my office, that indeed all children (and adults) are honored and valued for their individuality and uniqueness.
It’s a beautiful thing to compare growing, blossoming young children with gardens that need tending to produce a wide range of harmonious colors and varieties of flowers and greenery. Both need tender nurturing and attention ~ and both are appreciated and valued for their individual beauty and special qualities. It’s important that each of us appreciate the remarkable opportunities we share in tending to our children and students and nurturing them as they grow into the individuals they are meant to be. At Japhet School, the team of faculty and staff take this opportunity to heart, providing educational experiences that help students to grow, expand their thinking, and challenge them to think innovatively ~ to problem-solve and treat others the way they would like to be treated. Our partnership with parents is valuable to this process as well.
In previous communications, I’ve shared with you the many avenues in which Japhet students and staff have sought ways to help others. Service to others ~ community service ~ provides valuable experience that helps to put others’ needs before our own. The expression of humility is important in being of service to others. It’s one of Japhet’s 18 character qualities. Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Humility is indespensable to personal growth.” One such person who expressed great humility and contributed so fully to the world was Mr. Fred Rogers ~ Mister Rogers. He taught young children about civility, tolerance, sharing, and self-worth. He tackled difficult issues such as inclusion, racial equality, diverisity, and family relationships. He made a difference in children’s lives, often shaping their future life-experiences.
I share the following ~ excerpts from an article written by a woman who chose to dedicate her life to making the world a better place for children ~ due to the influence of Fred Rogers. The writer, Angela C. Santomero, went on to create the popular television shows “Blues Clues” and “Daniel Tiger.”
What a wonderful opportunity we share together, partnering in the goal to “let kids know their voice matters and that if they use their mind and take a step at a time they can do anything that they want to do.”
Mister Rogers Changed My Life, by Angela C. Santomero
“I was that 4-year old who would sit in front of the television and talk to Mister Rogers every day. Mister Rogers liked me, just the way I was. I swore he was looking right at me. He smiled, explained things in a calm voice, and told me I was special.
“As I grew up, I secretly watched Mister Rogers when I was stressed at school or when adults around me would dismiss my feelings because I was a child. His message was never lost on me. He was comforting even through a mere television set. In eighth grade, while writing an essay on ‘My Hero, Fred Rogers,’ I learned that he had a child development background with a goal of teaching through television. I knew then that what I wanted to do when I grew up was what Mister Rogers had done for me — let kids know that their voice matters and that if they use their mind and take a step at a time they can do anything that they want to do. Eventually, I did, following an education in developmental psychology with the creation of ‘Blue’s Clues.’ “
Kerri G. Vizena
Head of School
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