As we head into what many experts believe to be the ‘peak’ of the Coronavirus outbreak, I wanted to connect with our Summit Family and share some thoughts.
We all are experiencing waves of emotion that crash in on us daily. Above fear, relief, panic, hope, frustration and loss, the one emotion for me that has eclipsed all others is gratitude. To say these are unprecedented times does not begin to describe what is going on. Like all of you, our family has been thrown off everything we knew as normal. Three kids in virtual school, little league and soccer season suspended or cancelled, birthday parties squashed, visiting friends and family – out of the question! Life now revolves around having to venture out in the combat zone of the grocery store or navigating online delivery and keeping the kids from spending their whole days in front of screens. We are all facing financial uncertainty and wondering what will be next. But to think of what we still have, what we forgot we had and to appreciate everything is what I am truly grateful for.
I am grateful that my family is safe and healthy, that my friends and extended family for the most part have been spared thus far. I am grateful that we live in south Florida and can get outside for walks or bike rides. I am thankful to the early learning community for their support. I am grateful that with technology and a little effort, we are able to connect to those children unable to physically attend preschool with virtual circle time, story time and craft kits. I have Gratitude for all this, but I want to highlight the 3 things within our Summit Kids Family that I am most grateful for.
Our amazing Summit Kids Academy teachers have not stopped for 1 second to care, love and teach the children in our program. These amazing women are on the front lines providing childcare that we always knew was an essential service. Not only are they doing their job, but they are doing it with passion, dedication and professionalism every day. They adapted to ever changing situations, CDC and local regulations and virtual learning, all while maintaining a calm and stable environment for the children.
Our parents have been great! I am grateful for the faith you have in us to care for your children, for the positive comments received for being there for you, for the confirmation that our role as early education leaders is essential for your family. From the very beginning of this crisis, our families have supported our program and our teachers. Yes, paying tuition has provided a lifeline to pay salaries and keep the lights on. Keeping our program healthy will enable us to continue offering the best possible program when this is all over. And it will be over! More than that, parents have brought in amazing things for teachers’ personal use. Hand sanitizer, fresh produce, baked goods and yes even toilet paper. Thank you to everyone who has supported us.
Of course, there is one person I am especially grateful for in the Summit Family, our director, Ms. Fran. Ms. Fran has always been there for everyone, balancing teachers, parents, children and programming. It is easy to forget how difficult her role can be at the best of times. Now, in time of crisis we see how vital her leadership, compassion and get er done attitude is for our program. Thank you, Ms. Fran, for everything you do for our entire Summit Kids Family!
We are not through this yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. While saddened by the many losses we have sustained, our community will come out of this better for what we have learned. With the continued support of our families, Summit Kids Academy will be even stronger. Stage 1 of our renovations was just about completed and were on our way to the development of our Outdoor Classroom when this all hit. We have not lost sight of our goals, only, like you all, have had to delay some of the timing. If anything, the vision of our outdoor classroom has been reinforced by this crisis. We need, and our children need to learn to connect to nature, to problem solve, to be adaptable and resilient. These are all positive benefits to children who have been through an outdoor classroom program. Navigating future problems will be easier as we have lived through this.
At some point soon, we will all look back at this historic time and reflect on the times we had to be outside, to connect with our neighbors, spend more time with our children and reset our priorities in life. On the other side of COVID-19, I truly believe the world will be a better place. It may take some time, but we are Summit Kids Academy, and as with everything – our journey is about climbing to the top and conquering this mountain.
I urge you to remain positive and strong in trying times in order to appreciate all that life has to offer.
– Sam Grant