"You know what real beauty is..."

Sonya Janssens is a registered Early Childhood Educator at McMaster Children's Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where she has been incorporating the The 16 Guidelines into the preschool programme since 2008.

Using the 16 Guidelines on a daily basis with the children has become deeply engrained in the Centre’s programme, and the benefits are starting to show. Here Sonya shares a letter she received from the grandparents of a three and a half-year-old girl who has been attending the preschool programme:

“Our granddaughter has been attending McMaster Children’s Centre since she was almost eighteen months old. She grew and developed in every group from Toddlers to Intermediates to Pre-school 1 and now, finally, she is in Pre-school 2.

Each set of teachers has nurtured her in different ways, and according to her development. I, as well as her whole family, have been so grateful for all of their care and guidance.

An example of how the staff has helped to mould my young granddaughter occurred a couple of weeks ago. My husband and I were in the car with her and in her usual fashion, she was dressed in her favourite ‘poufy’ dress bedecked with as much ‘bling’ as she could incorporate. When I complimented her on how pretty she looked, her grandfather interjected with, “But you know what real beauty is…” Our granddaughter said “yes”, and then there was silence.

Needing to know, I asked her, “What does your Zaidy (grandfather) mean?” She answered with “kind words”.

This reference comes from the ‘16 Guidelines for Life’ that Linda and Sonya teach their Pre-school 1 group weekly. Yes, the learning that goes on in their classroom does come home and contributes to the whole development of what I’m certain we all want for the children: to be decent, caring and thoughtful people.”