Happy World Teacher’s Day!
To celebrate, North C Street Stories is going to feature Mustard Seed School for the month of October. We will be gaining insight from our wonderful teachers, students, and families. And to begin, here is a short history of Mustard Seed:
Established in 1989 to help meet the needs of homeless children, Mustard Seed is a free, private school for children ages 3 to 15. They provide a safe, nurturing environment, positive learning, happy memories, survival resources of food, clothing, and shelter referrals, medical and dental screenings, immunization updates, counseling for children and their parents, and assistance entering or reentering public schools.
Mustard Seed follows the Montessori Method of education, therefore in each classroom “there is a present, future curriculum already in place: the peace curriculum. With the peace curriculum, the only rule is to respect each other, the environment, and ourselves” (Chakira-teacher at Mustard Seed).
By following the Montessori Method of education, students are able to build a strong, stable foundation for their education before they enter or reenter into public schools.
Many of Mustard Seed’s students are arriving un-enrolled from school because the places their families find to sleep are often not near a school and they only plan to stay in that location for a short period of time. Plus, sometimes a school will request an address or updated immunizations which homeless families cannot provide. This leaves many children out of the school system. Yet, in spite of their situations, the children arrive at Mustard Seed eager to learn and to be accepted.
Anywhere from fifteen to thirty-five children attend Mustard Seed each day. And the average stay is only three to four weeks. Some of the students have been out of the school system for a long time and need help going back. Therefore, a major goal for Mustard Seed is to prepare and enroll homeless children into public schools once families have found housing stability.
4500 individual children have participated in Mustard Seed since the school began in 1989.
Last week I sat down with Stacy, one of our Pre-school teachers. It is her first year teaching, but her fourth year with Mustard Seed. Stacy began her journey with Mustard Seed as the Student Resources Associate, eventually transitioning into Pre-school teacher this year. Here is a re-cap of the interview:
“Magical. Just magical”.
That is exactly how Stacy would describe Mustard Seed. And she is exactly right. The moment you walk into the courtyard, you can feel this sense that something magical is happening here. There is a feeling of comfort and love as you walk past the murals on each cottage-style classroom. You cannot visit Mustard Seed and not feel the magic that surrounds the air as children escape the stress of homelessness for the day, rebuilding their educational foundations. And through this magic, a major challenge for Stacy is accepting that every day will be unique. This is because 1) Mustard Seed follows the Montessori Method and 2) children are always transitioning back into public schools.
But, even with that challenge, Stacy believes that the best apart about working here is that she can simply come here, give herself, and love freely. The kids are eager to learn and simply seeking a place of acceptance. And Mustard Seed fosters an environment for exactly that. The simplicity of what children need to feel support is the best part about working for Mustard Seed.
Lastly, what do you wish the greater Sacramento community knew about Mustard Seed?
“I wish the greater Sacramento community understood that the families here are just like you and me. They care just as much for their kids as we do and that these kids have parents that love them”.