From: John Quick, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. superintendent
There is a starfish story attributed to author Loren Eisley. One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”
The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up, and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they will die.”
“Son,” the man said, “Don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said, “I made a difference for that one.”
A recent letter to the editor argued that pre-kindergarten doesn’t make a difference. Let me tell you about one of our students. The name has been changed, as they say, to protect the innocent.
“Larry” comes from a single-parent home, and in the beginning of the school year he and his mother would sleep on couches at various friends’ homes. He didn’t know where he would fall asleep at night. Most days Larry would enter the building crying, and it often took a lot of hugs and reassuring that he was going to have a fun day at school. We made sure school was a place where he would not have to worry.
He eats a healthy breakfast each morning in the cafeteria and has even shared with us that he loves trying new foods. At school we know Larry will have a hot lunch and a snack. He has even been able to take advantage of our after-school program. Eventually, the tears stopped, and the child we now see walking into the building is full of confidence and ready to learn.
He is learning letters and colors, and loves art activities. Larry has shown a strong creative side. Every once in a while he will come up proudly and say, “Remember when I used to cry? I don’t cry anymore.” This is a child who will walk into kindergarten without fear or tears and is ready to learn. I am also pleased to report that Larry and his mother are now living in the home of a relative, and he knows where he will be sleeping each night.
Pre-kindergarten made a difference for that one.