Partnering with families at Mission Grammar School’s Early Childhood Center

If there is one thing the pandemic taught the world it is that unpredictability is an unpleasant state of being. Fortunately for the infants enrolled in the Early Childhood program at Mission Grammar School (MGS), unpredictability is an environment they will not encounter.

Our teachers and team are there to support and partner with families during the sacred work of caring for their children.” – Ali Dutson, President of Mission Grammar School

In the first five years of a child’s life, research shows that 90 percent of brain development occurs. So infancy and early toddlerhood are critical for helping children learn and grow to their fullest potential. Knowing this, Mission Grammar School (MGS) partnered with The Lynch Foundation to create an Early Childhood program to educate children as young as 12 weeks old. Infants are welcomed into a loving environment that prioritizes consistency, routine, and an age-appropriate curriculum. This overall atmosphere of care and structure sets even the youngest scholars on a path to success.

“We know that when we start scholars in a high quality, caring early learning environment, it is critical to their development and trajectory in life,” notes Ali Dutson, MGS President. Dutson continues, “When families enroll their child in our infant and toddler program, they are also getting a family partner. Having these youngest scholars in our care really helps us to live our mission most fully where we are caring for not just children but whole families.”

This partnership is one of the reasons that the Dorleans family sends their children to MGS. “Our daughter was enrolled in the infant program,” reflects Luz Mederos-Dorleans. “To see how much love was given to us as a family has been an honor and a blessing. To watch the older scholars volunteer and support the younger scholars is like the idea of a family loving one another. It is a sacred relationship that develops from such a young age.”

“Our children are happy from the moment I drop them off until I pick them up,” Mederos-Dorleans continues. “They don’t want to leave. They are confident, they are excited to learn, and they want to come to school every day.”

MGS alumnus Roodly Dorleans adds that the school’s commitment to providing an outstanding education from as early as three months is what enticed them to enroll their children. He shared, “When your oldest daughter comes home saying she wants to be an astronaut and a mom, you think, ‘Where did she get that from?’ Mission Grammar instills in these kids the notion to dream big and to be the best version of themselves.”

And that notion starts at the top with Dutson, who confirms, “We believe that every single child has an innate God-given brilliance. It’s the teacher’s job to support that brilliance. This shines through in the level of expectation and academic work that the children do each day. Connecting faith to the children’s lived experience is a major priority of our curriculum.” 

That priority has certainly oriented MGS’s students toward school readiness while developing an early love of God. “When we get to see children as young as three months learning, growing, and developing in our classrooms, then we know that God is present. We have such a beautiful opportunity to see the work of God in action.”

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