From Our Executive Director
It has been a fast and furious first year for me at St. Michael's. Ideally, any new director would spend the first year observing, collecting data and impressions, becoming familiar with the environment (both inanimate and human), striving to understand the history, culture, needs, and accomplishments of the community. However, for a myriad of reasons, St. Michael's had pressing issues that needed immediate action. Gratefully I had board members whose devotion and commitment to this institution are nothing less than inspirational and a staff that, no matter how challenging the situation, hold the children and families in the front line of their focus. What initially drew me to St. Michael's holds me still and obviously many, many others--the unfailing commitment to its mission throughout its long history. What we do here matters. The environment we create (both inanimate and human) offers children and their families the security of knowing that inside those front doors the most important thing is the quality of their child's experience. Education, respect, safety, nutrition, freedom, and support are all standards and goals we set and will continue to work to strengthen in our practice.
I arrived in Wilmington with certain vague expectations--a few accurate, others not so much. What has been strongly reinforced for me this year (including a week spent in a consulting trip to Cambodia) is how incredibly deserving young children are of our respect, care, hope, and good will. This is hardly surprising to me; in fact, it is precisely why I chose this profession. This profession has grown in statue as brain research reinforced and demonstrated to all what so many of us in the trenches knew--how even the smallest moments of "play" bring significant growth and learning to young children.
Today our profession is faced with new challenges as research directs what quality early education and care should look like—well-equipped facilities and educated teachers. It is a constant challenge, searching for the financial means to support those 5 Star environments that every young child deserves, that every parent wants, and that sets children on a hopeful path. Job training, anti-bullying, school success, healthy living, good citizenship--it all begins and foundations are laid in early childhood.
Our infant/toddler expansion honors that commitment to early childhood and our tradition of commitment to the community. We are excited to be welcoming more families into our St. Michael's community and look forward to growing with them as we continue to learn how to best support families as well as delight in their children's journeys from infancy to kindergarten. Early childhood is a period of amazingly rapid growth and development for a child and a family, and we will strive to be worthy navigators as needed.
I am very pleased to be here and enjoying my new city. I think in many ways St. Michael's and downtown Wilmington are at similar crossroads--a time for growth and new directions.
Come and visit. Ask questions. Offer feedback. Support St. Michael's.
What we do here matters.
Lucinda Ross, M.Ed.