The Carlson Family

My whole career has been in the early childhood sector. In addition to teaching in a preschool for several years, I have worked to gauge and improve program quality across the state. I have gained a lot of knowledge about what works, and I thought that I knew what there was to know about young children. Then I had a child of my own. That really throws you for a loop! All of the theory flies right out the window when you figure out that you really know nothing about being a mother or about this brand new baby. It was a trip.

My husband and I were lucky. Our baby boy was born healthy, I was given generous leave to stay home and bond with him, and my mother offered to watch him for the first year. I started to panic when that year was coming to a close, and we needed to figure out care for our son. I knew that we needed a quality learning environment – I looked for the right classroom ratios, beautiful environments, good curricula, excellent assessments. The professional woman in me was on a mission to find the best. But the mom side of me was more worried about finding somewhere that had teachers who would love my little guy, a place that put his well-being first.

During a meeting for work, I visited Rise. I had been aware of this school for years, but it wasn’t until my son was born that I really saw the program. It’s easy to check boxes of quality, but it is so different when you can actually imagine your own child thriving in a setting. That day I asked if we could get our little guy on the waiting list. We started at Rise the day after his first birthday, and we’ve never looked back. Our son is now three, and he is blossoming. He doesn’t see the differences between the children in his class – he just sees friends. He finds their faces in storybooks that we read before bedtime and shares anecdotes from the day (typically laughing from the depths of his stomach at something that a friend did). I didn’t know that such young children could show so much empathy or care so deeply for their friends. Our son is learning and growing; he’s becoming an amazing kid that we are so proud of. And through it all, we are learning too. Our experience at Rise has truly been a blessing.

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