by Florence B.
Florence: I have an extra special blog post today, because I have an extra special person joining me: our amazing co-director, toddler, and 2/3 educator *starts drumroll* Beth Ed-wards *throws confetti*! The 2017/2018 school year marks Beth’s first year at the school, and if you’re one of the lucky parents who have her as a teacher, I’m sure you’ve got a huge smile on your face right now! If you’re in one of the other classes and haven’t had a chance to meet her yet, don’t forget to say hi at one of the parent meetings, because she’s awesome! Well, shall we start our interview with our fabulous educator?
Beth: Thank you, Florence, for your awesome blog posts! You keep us all "in the know" for the exciting things happening at preschool. You are appreciated!
Florence: Aww, thanks Beth! From reading your biography, I absolutely love that you’re so involved in early childhood education! Was there a tipping point where you just knew that’s what you wanted to do?
Beth: I have always worked with children. I started babysitting when I was 12. I paid for college by lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons. Kids are amazing!
Florence: I see you’re focusing on mindfulness and meditation with children and fami-lies! Do you have any favorite tips we can use for our own families?
Beth: My hope for all families is to have some peace and time to reflect each day. We are so busy being busy and stressed out. I hope parents can take a few minutes to take a deep breath, feel grateful for the children in their lives and have some fun! Parenting is joyful!
Florence: Tell us more about your volunteer work at Sorenson—do you have a favorite moment that sticks out?
Beth: My most enduring "take-away" from volunteering at Sorenson is that there are so many dedicated educators working wonderful magic on behalf of all children. I love the idea of enjoy-ing the child in front of me and letting go of notions of who they are and just getting to know them and connecting with them on an individual basis.
Florence: Switching focus to the school, you’re almost through your first year! If you could go back in time back to September and give newbie you a tip, what would you say?
Beth: Enjoy the journey! You don't have to know everything on the first day. Every time I think I have this school down, I learn something new. I love the traditions at BFCP. I love that I have been given the gift to rely on traditions and rituals embedded in the school but also the freedom to create something new and add something of myself.
I would also add that the more your put into it, the more you get out of it. I am continually im-pressed by how many members are thinking deeply and working hard to make this the best place for children and families. We have amazing people working together!
Florence: Yes, yes, it hasn’t been a year yet, but I’m sure you already have a favorite mo-ment at the school! What is it?
Beth: Anyone who knows me well, knows that I revel in the small moments. I have an observ-er's heart. I love to watch how the children play, how the parents communicate with the children and with one another and how the community forms a bond. I feel grateful every day that I get to be a part of that experience and journey. It is a gift.
Florence: I noticed that next year, BFCP will be having a Toddler PM class! How involved were you in that decision (and how excited are you about it!)?
Beth: I am so excited! I appreciate that the board accepted the proposal for the Toddler PM class and that we will have the opportunity to reach out to families that may not otherwise have the time or flexibility to join a parent education program. It is going to be awesome! So much fun!
Florence: OK, enough about schools, let’s talk about what makes you you! From your bi-ography, you clearly love the Seattle area since your UW days! What about growing up—were you born and raised in the area, too?
Beth: I grew up in Kirkland. My parents live in my childhood home. I am the youngest of six children. All of my family lives locally. I love learning about where our members come from...from those who also were born and raised on the Eastside to the far-flung corners of the globe.
Florence: What are your favorite Seattle places?
Beth: My current favorite Seattle place is Frankie and Jo's ice cream shop on Capitol Hill. Yum!
Florence: What is your favorite thing about Woodinville (*cough* aside from your awe-some BFCP-blog-writingtastic neighbor *cough*)?
Beth: I adore my Woodinville neighbors! I love to walk. You can often find me on the trail with friends. Terry and I often walk down the hill "into town". When the girls were little, we would wander Molbaks. (You can’t push too many plants up the hill with two girls in a stroller!) We have a green belt in our backyard so you can't beat the Location, Location, Location!
Florence: What about your free time? What books to you like to read and what kind of ex-otic delicacies do you like to cook?
Beth: I just finished reading Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Terry and Kelsey love fantasy and sci-fi so I often read what they put on my bedside table. I am also reading The Year of Living Danishly. Anna passes on books from her college readings...lots of great reading on social is-sues. I always have a professional book as well. Some of the SCC educators are excited about Howard Glasser's Igniting Greatness and the Nurtured Heart Approach so I am diving in to learn more.
I also love to read cookbooks and cooking magazines. I only read cookbooks with beautiful photographs...pictures speak to me! I must be a preschool teacher!
At home, we mostly eat vegan. I am learning amazing new things all the time. I was recently introduced to aquafaba. Magical! One super fun thing about cooking is that Kelsey loves to bring friends home to eat our food. It brings people together. Love it!
I love my gym buddies! Another awesome support system. I love surrounding myself with peo-ple who make me a better person. People who let me care about them and they care about me. Fabulous!
Florence: And of course, I have to save the best for last: Tell us about your family! How did you and your husband meet?
Beth: Terry and I met at the UW. We were running buddies. He was my pal and all-around good guy. Here we are married for 25 years with two amazing girls, a beautiful home and a cat. So much gratitude for my family!
Florence: Who is mysterious Mindy—a friendly feline or a warden watch cat?
Beth: Mindy is our almost 16 year old cat that loves to snuggle and be cozy. She has a terrible habit of waking up at 4am but she is the best cat ever! she seems to know if you are having a hard day and she will come and give you some loving.
Florence: How are your girls enjoying college (and how does it even feel knowing you made it and your kids are now adults?!)?
Beth: Anna is ready to graduate from St. Olaf in May. She is working hard to figure out what is next. She is realizing that being an adult is "hard".
Kelsey is thriving at school! I am so proud of both of them for how they handle the challenges and difficulties of moving into adulthood.
Florence: Thanks so much for the interview, Beth! Any last thing you’d like to share from your own parenting journey?
Beth: Have fun! Rely on your support systems! Be kind and generous.
P.S. In reading through this interview, I realized I used a LOT of exclamation points and the word love and some form of gratefulness. That sums me up!