I believe all children, regardless of the circumstances they are born into, have lively minds. As Lilian Katz states, “the intellectual challenges many children face in coping with precarious environments are likely to be substantial and often complex.” All Five was opened on that premise five years ago, on September 1, 2015. Since then, children of all kinds have come together here. In each and every case, these children bring with them their whole selves: their curiosities, their drive, their fears, their self- awareness, their perceptions of others, and their developing sense of the world. Each one of them has taught me something: to be more mindful of different approaches to bugs, to appreciate “out-of-the-box” solutions to conflict, to seize the desire for meaningful contributions, to hear different kinds of music, to include apple blossoms in my idea of “snow”.
Each child has brought a family with him or her – families with traditions from Michigan and East Palo Alto, from Egypt and Guatemala, from China and the Philippines. Each has reminded me that successful child rearing has even broader possibilities than I imagine. They are a source of admiration for all they do as parents and as people navigating this world. The teachers I have been privileged to mentor over the last five years have also brought with them gifts of humor, sensitivity, kindness, perspective, and different ways to see any given child or teaching practice. Even those who only stayed for a short time have left their mark. Other staff have seemed to fall from the sky at just the right moment with just the right skill. Of course, no one imagined that 2020 would bring a pandemic colliding with environmental disasters. Today, we are all facing environments and substantial challenges. Still, those “lively minds” persist. They are our hope for the future.