Since returning to Partners in Learning this past September, I have enjoyed getting to know all the children and their families. The faces I knew in the spring had changed when I returned from being furloughed. Some familiar faces had grown and moved classes while others had been added to the Partners family. The center itself had changed a good deal as well. COVID-19 guidelines made working at Partners different than it had previously been. Even in these challenging times, I looked at these strange differences as opportunities. I try every day to make the best of our current situation because I am thankful to be working at such an impactful center. Now due to COVID-19, parents can no longer enter the classrooms and interact with their child’s teachers and peers. As a part-time worker, I have been a runner these past few months, meaning I take the children to their classes during the drop off time. This has become one of the best parts of my day. On a whim this past fall, I decided to add morning hours to my schedule before my classes. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I had made all year. I loved greeting each family in the morning as they dropped off their children. It was such a great experience getting to know each family here at PIL and building a relationship with not only the children but with their loved ones. I soon became friends with many of the families here at Partners. I was not just taking their children to class, but was laughing and crying alongside them. Something we might see as a covid-related inconvenience became a blessing in my life. I soon realized that because of the virus I might be one of the only faces parents see here at Partners. I was a representative of the center. Since then I have worked to be a warm greeter during this drop off time because this is the only time of the day to interact with parents face-to-face and hear their concerns. I encourage everyone to show grace and compassion during these times, understanding that we all are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. I also encourage others to look at these unexpected changes as new opportunities. What I thought would be long days of wearing masks and waking up early turned into days of growing alongside the children of Partners in Learning and building relationships with their families, even during a pandemic. Definitely some of the best days of 2020.

Written by: Paige Carter, PIL teacher