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Making Connections

What a busy quarter that was! This year, Thistleoaks celebrated its 30th anniversary! We had a wonderful homecoming celebration that saw past parents, children (now teens and adults, I shudder to say!), board members, and executive directors, as well our current families, board members, and community partners celebrate Thistleoaks together. I cannot thank everyone enough for joining us as we commemorated 30 years of providing quality child care.

When I think back to that day, the thing that stood out to me most was the look of pure excitement and joy that came upon every face when reuniting with past connections – the way people’s hands would cover their hearts while they squealed a name of recognition as someone they knew walked through the door. This even happened to me, seeing a family that I hadn’t seen in over 7 years walk into the celebration and the utter joy I felt upon seeing them. These were all special connections that were made here at Thistleoaks. Watching educators see past parents and children, or reconnecting with past staff… the power of connection was evident all around. And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Connections are powerful and, might I say, essential to us as people.

As educators, we focus on fostering connections with all the children and their families. As families, simply by choosing child care, you are creating opportunities for your children to make connections that will last throughout their lives. I know this may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s proven to me every time I go to the grocery store. Yes, you read right - the grocery store! I shop in the community in which I live, and I live in this wonderful community of Kerr Village myself. Honestly, it is far stranger for me to go out and not see someone I know than it is to go out and not see anyone. I can recount numerous encounters where I am standing in line or walking down the aisles and I’ve had someone look at me with a hint of recognition and say, “Did you work at Thistleoaks?” or “Ms. Cheryl?!” or “Cheryl!!! How are you, it’s been so long!” and then we proceed to catch up on what’s happened since the last time we were together. I get to see pictures of the children I cared for, growing up, holding medals from their competitions, or posing with their parents at a graduation, or (my favourite) pictures like these:

These three children started together in the Infant program at Thistleoaks. In September, these children began kindergarten at three different schools... but they have not forgotten the connection they made to each other at Thistleoaks. They still remain close, getting together for play dates even though they’ve moved on from Thistleoaks. In fact, I was told by the parents of these children that their kids were counting down the days until this playdate; they could not wait to see their friends again!

Oftentimes when I am getting caught up on what’s been going on, I get stories like “Do you remember Mickey? Well she’s doing this and this now, and we still get together every once in a while.” This floors me every time AND I know the power of connections! And even more, I love the role that Thistleoaks plays in fostering those connections. Yes, I know that connections are essential to humans and that we seek them out but even then - it floors me! To be able to see the power of connections in real life can be pretty unreal. But to know that those connections were made and fostered at Thistleoaks… well, that warms my heart right up and confirms that what we do here is essential. As part of our mission to be leaders in quality, we strive to create, build, foster, and grow the connections the children make here at Thistleoaks. We use those connections to reaffirm to our children that they are wanted, they are worthy, they are likeable, they are included, they are safe, and they are loved.

They are connected.

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