Dear MPS Families,
Here we are finally – the very first day of the 2015-16 school year. I wish I had a bell to ring like they do when they open trading on Wall Street. You will just have to imagine the excited “ding ding ding ding ding!”
So much preparation goes into opening a school every September. Some of the preparations are visible to all, such as the Fall Work Party or attendance at Orientation. Other parts are quiet and behind-the-scenes, visible only to those directly involved – although we hope felt by all when that planning becomes an event, a project or even a streamlined process.
Opening the door on the first day I feel a mix of nervousness and excitement. Did I prepare enough? Will I remember all the new names? Will I have forgotten the words to the obscure song that is just perfect for some reason? Will I be able to provide the comfortable and welcoming environment that will help the children AND adults come in and feel truly welcomed?
I am also excited because it is so similar to the feeling of opening a much anticipated gift as a child. What will be inside? In relation to the school, my wondering is about who we will become as a community this year? What brought each of you to our school? Will you find what you are looking for? Are you enthusiastic or do you come with a skeptical and critical eye?
Each year begins with a full menu of opportunity. I have discovered that we have the opportunity to have the experience we desire. The mindset we bring through the door with us into a cooperative school will shape and form our experiences. Your beliefs about the motivations of others and fairness or equity will color your perceptions of our shared experiences.
If you are coming into the school year with a vision of yourself as an active participant in the process, as having personal agency – you will experience the school much differently than if you enter seeing yourself as purely a consumer of a delivered product.
You have joined a parent cooperative preschool. I work at a parent cooperative preschool. This distinction has tremendous meaning and shapes how we go about the business of running a school. Within a cooperative school, there are many tasks that can only be completed if there are family members willing to pick up the mantle and do the work.
Working at or enrolling in a cooperative school is actually a value based statement. You may have come to MPS because you heard we have an incredible outdoor play space, because we do amazing art and science based projects and explorations with the kids, because you like our philosophy about play, or because you believe that the teachers here will love your children above and beyond whatever else we do (a very true statement by the way).
And the cost of having that experience – of having access to the wonderful child-centered experiences and offerings at Multnomah Playschool – is committing yourself to being a full participant within the cooperative model. If you make peace with this and embrace it fully you come closer to having the experience you want.
Your MPS board of directors (parents within the school, just like you!) has adopted a motto or theme for the coming year: TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. This is your formal invitation to join the MPS TEAM! As we open the door on the first day of school I hope you will cross the threshold feeling like a proud member of an amazing team. We will look to each other for guidance, support, encouragement and assistance on what is intended to be a shared journey. I hope that the gift we unwrap together as the school year progresses is one of shared commitment, support and participation. Because it is true, together we will achieve more.
Welcome to the 2015-16 school year and to the amazing Multnomah Playschool Team!