Earlier this year Melanie Marshall, center director at the KinderCare center in Watauga, Texas, received an odd request: would her center be able to provide drop-in care for a little boy on the days when he was suspended from his regular center, a competitor.
While initially puzzled as to how she and her staff would be able to connect with a child who would attend the center intermittently, the desire to help overcame any hesitations Marshall had and she welcomed the boy, Justin, to her center.
“I decided to welcome Justin from the first time I met his parents,” Marshall said. “I believe that every child deserves a chance to be successful.”
Over time Justin’s situation at his primary center became increasingly frustrating for everyone. He acted up and in doing so disrupted his class. His teachers had no idea how to help him, but in light of his behavior, felt the best option was to suspend Justin more and more – increasing his time at Marshall’s center.
Marshall and her teachers tried to find a way to connect with Justin and help him learn to manage his emotions. They discovered singing to him (and having him sing back) helped Justin calm down. Since this approach worked so well at KinderCare, Marshall suggested to Justin’s parents that they recommend the teachers at his primary center do the same.
Although singing helped Justin calm down, his parents decided that he needed more than that: he needed to be in a place where the teachers and staff emphasized with him and would help meet his needs.
In August, Justin’s parents enrolled him full time at Watauga KinderCare. Shortly after enrolling, Justin’s mother sent Marshall this letter of thanks.
Thank you for all your help with our little Justin. I feel so good to have him in your care. You listened to what we said about him and made an effective recommendation to have him sing when he is getting upset to reduce his anxiety.
You and your staff have been the first ones to get him to explain why he was upset. We have been able to take this information and discuss with Justin appropriate responses.
Justin is a sweet, charming, precious little boy who needs experienced providers to guide him through his frustrations and help him make appropriate choices.
Thank you for helping nurture our Justin.
Marshall said Justin’s had some difficult days in the three months he’s attended her center full time, but nothing like the days he had at his previous school.
“Maybe the other school was just not a good fit for Justin,” she said. “He is a smart, sweet child who needs love and patience from his teachers to help him express his feelings.”