It seems an appropriate theme for the first Willow Tree Early Education Team blog to be a reflection of the incredible journey that is the reason the company exists and to pay tribute to the many people and programs that have been a part of this journey, the first step of which occurred when I was three years old attending the Association of American University Women Nursery School!

Why Willow Tree? Since she was able to talk whenever we passed a willow tree my daughter would look at it and say “there’s Gramma!” for reasons known only to her. What ever she see’s in those magnificent trees, their flexibility, their strength, their beauty, their all encompassing breadth, their ability to accommodate without ever losing their essence… whatever it may be, for her Gramma will always be there for her. What better symbol for what we, as a small early childhood consulting team could there be?

Why early childhood? Esteemed early childhood educator and one of Head Start’s original pioneers, Bertha Campbell was my nursery school teacher and my mom’s best friend. With her famous uncanny gift of perception Bertha had seen an early childhood educator to be and spent the rest of our lives together mentoring, championing and challenging me to be a knowledgeable and caring advocate for children and families.

From both of these amazing women came the fierce passion I have today, from both of these women came the ethical core of the Willow Tree Early Education Team: loyalty to each other, loyalty to clients and the Head Start community; transparency, candor, and compassion in all that we do.

Fifty-six years after my first day of nursery school (which I still remember) I find the same joy when surrounded by blocks and easels and the sounds of children and adults engaged in ‘learning’ as I did then.

Both Gramma and Bertha are gone now but there is no uncertainty that their legacy continues. A big thank you to them and on their behalf to each of you that play such critical roles in the lives of our most vulnerable children and families.