Working at Discovery programs has been a blessing in many ways! There are many children’s schools on the Upper West Side but none as special and unique as ours. I feel privileged to be a part of the Discovery team, helping children and families.
I’m going into my 9th wonderful year working as Program Coordinator here with my “work family,” as I like to call my coworkers. When I look back on when I started, I think to myself, “Have I really been here for that long?” It’s only then that I realize that, for many of these children currently attending classes, I remember them when they were only a few weeks old and some of them even when their moms were expecting them. And now I can have a full conversation with them about how their day was at school and what their feelings and thoughts are on things…time really flies.
Some of the most rewarding moments are when we help children that are having a hard time transitioning into a separation or a drop-off class for their very first time. We reassure them that their parent or adult will pick them at the end of class and after many trials and effort they final walk into class with confidence and happiness. They often can’t wait for class to start and leave at the end of class excited to go home. Those are very sweet moments, when the child overcomes their fear and anxiety and are able to just have fun and enjoy the class.
Two of my favorite classes are Baby Social and Baby Gym. With the very little ones, we get to see them move on to different stages and take their first steps, speak their first words, and socialize for the first time with other babies. It’s so exciting for us, and we celebrate their milestones just as if they were our own children. I like to call it Baby Therapy! We get to see babies grow into school-age children and move on. You will be familiar with the feeling if you ever held a baby when you are having a not-so-great day. All you have to do is hold a baby in your arms – they have this almost magic, calming affect over you that makes everything better, melts your heart and washes your troubles away.
Other rewarding moments come when a parent brings a new addition to the family or when caregivers and nannies return to us after they begin working with a different family. These actions and decisions show that they trust us and feel comfortable sharing their little ones with us. Those are the moments that are so gratifying because I feel that we are most certainly doing something right for them if they keep returning year after year.
Over the years working amongst families and children at Discovery, I observe the special bonds between the families, teachers, and caregivers. I have to say that when it comes to the caregiver and nannies, I feel they are the children’s extended family members. They nurture and feed the children and love them as if they were their own. It is a beautiful thing to see.
The Discovery community has taught me how important it is to work together, in a close knit and familial manner, when it comes to children. To give each other feedback on each child’s challenges, progress, goals, and milestones by working together. We get a better outcome by helping children blossom into little people. “It truly takes a village,” as Katie, our school’s director, always says.
It brings me true satisfaction to work with families and children. When I was growing up, the joke in the family was that if I didn’t work with children in my adulthood that I would probably have a very large family of my own. As it happens, I’ve been blessed with one child of my own and I feel like I have many, many Discovery children.