Each morning, the twenty four toddlers in Debbie Sheridan’s class at Fair Oaks Preschool start the day the same way:
SONG: Good morning to you….
This weekend, Sheridan led former students, teachers and parents in that song – to open festivities celebrating the school’s 50 year reunion. A few days before the gathering, a group of old-timers met at the school in Fair Oaks Village to share memories.
Real estate agent Brett Brophy, attended the school 42 years ago when he was three. He says not much has changed:
There was some wooden blocks that are still here. I couldn’t believe they still had those. This place is extremely charming. Kindergarten was a let down compared to here.
Brophy sits on a brightly painted, child-sized chair, one of many decorated by parents throughout the school’s history.
Parental involvement, beginning when the school opened in 1956, put it ahead of its time.
Lynn Steen, president of the school 30 years ago, used another novel teaching method. She and Brophy huddle in a small white brick room where she held what we now call “time-outs:”
It was sort of known as the bad boys room – laugh--. If they couldn’t sit still for reading time, we had a little table in here, and they came in here.
I remember we used to stand at that door because there was a break to go ride the tricycles. And I used to hang out there, ‘cause I was a big kid, ‘cause there was one that was the favorite and if you were the first one out there, then that was the highlight, getting out there. We had a lot of fun here, a lot of fun.
Fair Oaks continues outdoor break time. There are still tricycles to ride. Parents are involved in every class, and the little brick room remains in use.
Alumni have enrolled their children in the school, and grandchildren too. Teacher Theresa Potter says Fair Oaks is a place worth coming back to:
There’s not a lot of things that have stayed stable for 50 years, with the world changing and moving so fast. And this is a little piece of the world that has honored children and families from the very beginning and still continues to do that today.
About 200 people attended the reunion, including the man who built the little school house 50 years ago.