Children First kids are Children Firsters forever. Instead of erasing the old group with the start of a new year — common practice in most programs — we find multiple ways to remember our “Old Friends.” We invite each graduate to paint a tile which will hang in the classroom. We put photos of each graduating class on our Old Friends wall. Our alumni kids get a birthday call from the group until they turn 18, with our trademark version of Happy Birthday to You. Old Friends open each year’s Graduation when they gather on stage to lead the singing of “Here We Are Together.” And of course, our Old Friends are always invited to pizza potlucks, camping weekends, and big Birthday Celebrations like the parties we threw for our 16th, 20th and 25th Birthdays.
These small gestures give the kids who are here today, making the phone calls and studying the tiles, a reassuring sense of continuity and abundance. They can welcome new friends and honor the old; they can look forward to graduation and kindergarten, and know they will be remembered.
I'm not a preschooler. I'm a Children Firster!