Director Mireille joined Little Wonders in 1995 as a preschool teacher, and transitioned into the Director role in 2000. She sat down to share some thoughts about her time at Little Wonders, and her personal experience with parenting.
Q: Is there anything that has surprised you after all these years of being Director of Little Wonders?
A: What keeps it exciting for me year after year is the fact that I'm passionate about parent education. I'd been a teacher for many years and always loved working with the children, but went home thinking, 'Gosh, you know, I wish I could work with the parents.' And then this opportunity came up and that became part of my life, that was exciting. Every day is different. Yes, we do the same thing, but every day is different in that there's a different experience a child might have, or a parent might have, and I love it. I've always felt that having reasonable expectations and understanding a little bit of childhood development is super helpful to have. And I was lucky to have that because that's my background. However, it doesn't make parenting easy, and it doesn't guarantee you're going to do the right thing. I haven't been the perfect parent. I always say I think humility is very important in parenting. Humility, patience, and flexibility.
I thought I was going to a great parent, and hey, it's not easy. Even if you're a teacher, it's not easy being a parent. It's easy to do something with someone else's child, but to do that with your own? It's the emotionality that comes up. This is why kids are always better with someone other than you. You send your child to preschool or somewhere else, and then are told, oh [your child is] so polite, they're so good, and you're wondering if they're talking about your kid. With you, they feel more comfortable, they know they're loved unconditionally. I've asked my adult kids, 'What was it about the way you were raised that makes you grateful to be part of this family?' Growing up, we did a gratitude jar, and talked with them about what we were grateful for every night at the dinner table. Our kids always talked about how we loved them unconditionally and supported whatever they wanted to do.
Q: Do you have any favorite moments that stand out in your mind?
A: Through the years, [my favorite thing has been] watching the kids grow and change and gain independence, and watching parents feel supported and just feel comfortable with what they're doing. As a new parent, it is challenging. And one thing that I've seen change over the years [at Little Wonders] is many of the families here currently either aren't from here, or don't have family here any longer. Parenting is a very lonely thing, and unless you can build some community, it's very, very difficult. And I've found that this is a place where parents can build community. And that makes me happy. When I see a parent can take another child who's crying and [be] able to console them, or when I see another parent sitting with that child in a song time in the class. That's a sign of a good cohesive group, and we've done our job.