Post By Abbey Mattson – an Alternative Break alumni and preschool teacher who now volunteers for Something New in her free time.
I am a preschool teacher, and when I see a kid do something for the first time, it’s like Christmas! The first time they tie their shoes, button their coat, or cut a straight line are some of my favorite moments. Right now, my kids are learning their shapes – circles, squares, and triangles, just to name a few!
Just 45 minutes away from my house, over 1,500 refugee kids arrive in the United States each year. The moment they step off the airplane, their lives are filled with first moments! They may stare straight upward at the skyscrapers in Atlanta’s skyline for the first time, or they might hear new words being spoken all around them. For the first time, they might walk into a school building with hundreds of other kids who look different from them, wear different clothes, and eat different foods.
Another first that only a few kids experience is their first time walking into New Expression Clarkston. While some first moments may be tough and challenging, this is a first full of overwhelming joy, freedom, and fun! They will see kids dancing, laughing, and making musical instruments. They’ll hear music from all over the world, and listen as kids stand up and proudly share what New Expression means to them. They’ll paint, draw, capture the flag, kick a soccer ball, and maybe even make some multi-colored slime!
At NXP Clarkston, every week is a chance for us to celebrate life and share a first moment. Some of the moments we share are happy – the freedom to dance, run around and play soccer, or the pure joy of singing at the top of your lungs. Some of the moments we share are deeper – being able to express what it feels like to go to a new school where you don’t speak the language, or making a new friend who takes the time to truly get to know you. At New Expression, everyone celebrates first moments all the time – whether we are in preschool or 35 years old.