When exploring the different childcare/ preschool options, my husband, Matt, and I looked no further once we found High Hopes! At the time, in 2012, I was pregnant with RJ – our first child. We visited the school, and after a tour and meeting teachers and staff, we were sold.
To be completely honest, at that time, the security of the building and the attentive care provided were the big selling points for me. Like many first-time parents, I was somewhat paranoid (and probably overly cautious) about the safety of my child. I wanted him in a place where I knew he would receive the best care possible!
But, unlike many parents that come to High Hopes, my husband and I were not seeking a school for children with special needs. We were aware of the developmental programs offered by High Hopes. However, we just really loved the warm and friendly staff and teachers, the care and attention that each child receives (small class size), and the security.
For our son RJ (now 5 years old) and our daughter Maggie-Jo (2 years old), High Hopes has been the only preschool they have ever known. Neither of them has received special therapy, and so you might ask, “Why send your child to High Hopes if they don’t have any special needs?”
And my answer would be, “Why not?”
Despite not needing the unique developmental programs that High Hopes offers, RJ and Maggie-Jo’s development has still been a priority for the teachers and staff. They don’t just care about those children who need extra help – they care about every child that walks through those doors.
The High Hopes mission is to equip children to reach their maximum potential, serving those with and without special needs. And, I am so impressed by how much my children have learned there!
RJ just turned 5 and will be entering kindergarten in the fall. I have no doubt he is well prepared for this next phase of his life. My husband and I both work full time, and because of our busy work schedules, we often feel like we don’t spend enough time with our children. Like many parents, I don’t want my kids to fall behind and lose self-confidence.
I am not saying a preschool should take the place of a parent, but High Hopes has done an amazing job of filling in the gaps. RJ is ready for kindergarten, and we could not have done it without the teachers and staff at High Hopes!
Just ask RJ to name a dinosaur or ask him about the planets, and he will tell you all about them! There is a good chance he will challenge you (and there is a good chance he will know more than you)! RJ’s teachers feed his curiosity and encourage him to learn, which I love!
And, just last week, he counted aloud to 300! I don’t think I could have done that at his age. He is also learning math – how to add! I am so blown away by it. And, for parents who pursued careers in math and science, RJ’s academic development makes us giddy with pride!
But, it’s not just about academics. RJ has been exposed to so many cool subjects, hobbies, and basic life skills. This has given him the opportunity to explore and figure out what he enjoys and what he is good at, building his confidence along the way.
He loves learning, singing, telling stories, drawing, and being challenged! He is a good friend, follows direction, is independent, honest, and imaginative. He loves trying new things, asking questions, and coming up with ideas. All of this was fostered at High Hopes. He is such a well-rounded little dude, and it warms my heart to see him blossom.
I also think there is something really special about being in a classroom with others that have special needs. RJ and Maggie-Jo are aware of their classmates who face some extra challenges. This exposure has taught them to encourage their friends, appreciate their own blessings, and to be sensitive and patient with the needs of others.
They have friends with and without special needs, and so they will leave High Hopes aware that God makes every child unique - some just need more help than others, which is okay!
RJ and Maggie-Jo love their friends, but if you ask them who their favorite person at school is, they will most likely name a teacher. The teachers are so invested in these kids, and many of them treat my children as their own.
Nothing brings a mom more comfort than this: knowing that although you are dropping your child off to go earn a living, your child will spend their days with people that love them, and that want to see them grow and succeed!
In fact, a couple of years back, my husband was toying with the idea of moving our family away from this area, and I was adamant that we would have a very hard time finding a preschool as wonderful as High Hopes. Lucky for us, we stayed put!
With that said, life is filled with many chapters, and this one is coming to an end for RJ. I will be sad when he leaves High Hopes for public school. RJ’s time here has been a 5-year blessing, laying the foundation for the rest of his education and development.
However, I am grateful that Maggie-Jo will remain at High Hopes, following along in her brother’s footsteps. I am so thankful we found High Hopes, and I don’t think I could have found a better place for my children to grow and learn.
Jamie Stanford, Ph.D., is employed as a Research Grants Manager for a non-profit organization, a role in which she manages a portfolio of research grants, and writes/edits communication pieces that illustrate the impact of grant investments. She lives in Franklin, TN with her husband and two children and is a member of Harpeth Christian Church.