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“Mama, WHY did you have to come get me?!”

It was my son Liam’s first day of Pre-K. His first day attending Park Street School. At 3:00 PM, I parked outside the school, eager to hear about his first day. To my dismay, as he got into the car, he began to sob! His tears continued to fall as we drove home. After a lot of questioning, Liam finally sobbed in exasperation, “Mama, WHY did you have to come and get me!? Why couldn’t I stay?! Did you know some kids get to go to school on Fridays!? Why can’t I go on Fridays, too!?”

I shouldn’t have been surprised. His tears were because he had such a WONDERFUL day. He didn’t want to leave!

I was in my early twenties in 2010 when I started working at Park Street School (PSS). I left my family and home in rural Connecticut and moved to a city where I barely knew anyone. While it was an exciting adventure to embark on, I was terrified.

What I didn’t expect was to find a home and a family at PSS. I didn’t expect to find a community that embraced me and loved me like family. I found a community that came to the hospital with me when there was an emergency, made meals for me in hard times, and prayed for me. I found a community that cared for me deeply, as a teacher and as a person. The staff, parents, students, and families at PSS are extended family. This community has kept me working at PSS for 13 years, even returning after having two of my own children.

During those 13 years, I longed for when I might send my own child to Park Street School. I couldn’t think of a better place for my children to grow and learn! This year, it finally happened. I finally got to experience PSS as a parent as Liam started Pre-K. And you know what? His experience has been just like mine. He is part of a community where he feels seen, loved, cared for, known, included, valued, and challenged.

Liam with Ms. Tracy Bradley during his Pre-K visit to the Elementary School.

Liam’s teachers (my colleagues) tell me anecdotes about his day. I can tell from what they share that he is known and deeply loved, just as I have been. Liam comes home bursting with stories! Whether it’s a story about his teacher dancing a silly dance, details of a Van Gogh he got to paint, a Science experiment he tried, or his special job as prayer leader, he never ceases to talk about his day with a huge smile.

Park Street School is family. It’s a place you are known, you are loved, and you are valued. It’s a community my family is honored to be a part of. I couldn’t be happier that my own child has found his second family, just as I have.

— Naomi Owens, mom of Liam, PSS Pre-K (PSS Class of 2030)

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