Boss for a day: Opportunity to take charge helps child through tough day

Mornings can be rough, especially when you’re a four-year-old boy who just wants to spend the day at home with mom. But if you go to a center with a pair of thoughtful, caring teachers you may just find yourself having so much fun that school doesn’t seem like such a bad place after all.

"Boss for a Day" JJ, happy to take charge of center operations.

“Boss for a Day” JJ, happy to take charge of center operations.

Sometimes children simply don’t want to go to school. Not too long ago, JJ was one of those students. One morning he came in clinging to his mother. When she tried to leave for work he broke down, crying and begging her to stay. It was a rough drop off for everyone at the KinderCare in Greenfield, Wisconsin.

Lori Becker, the center’s program specialist, and Janelle Jacowski, a teacher in the infant room saw how difficult drop off was not only on JJ but on his mother as well.

“I know she has a hard time when she has to leave him like that,” said Jacowski.

JJ is in Becker’s phonics class. She’s learned that one thing that helps him calm down when he’s having a rough morning is the chance to help out.

The two teachers quickly took JJ under their wing. They were in the midst of planning the center’s Earth Day celebrations and asked JJ if he would join them on a walk around the center to take some photos. The walk helped, but Becker noticed JJ was still adjusting.

“He wasn’t giving me his usual smile.”

So the two teachers invited him into the office to help them plan the menu for the Earth Day celebration. JJ had so much fun sitting in the director’s chair and playing “Boss for a Day” that his smile returned. Becker and Jacowski quickly snapped a photo of the now happy JJ and sent it to his mother knowing that she would feel better if she could see that her son’s day improved.

Their instinct to let JJ’s mother know that everything was alright was spot on: when she came to pick up her son that evening she said caring moments like that were the reason she brought JJ to KinderCare.

As far as Becker and Jacowski are concerned, forming connections with children and families is just part of their daily work. According to Center Director Debbie Halbman, these two teachers live the company’s service values without stopping to think – it’s simply part of who they are.

As for JJ, reports are that he was a very supportive supervisor, though he did delegate some of the (literally) dirty work – planting – to others.

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