Person of the Week

Florence Kramer

Founder, Director Kirkwood Children's House

I wanted to provide a place where children could be individually respected and prepared both emotionally and cognitively for their future educational experiences.

1.  What led you to the mission of Founder, Director Kirkwood Children’s House?

I did not have a strong start in my educational life.  I think my school years could have been full of joy and learning, but instead I had shame.

I wanted to provide a place where children could be individually respected and prepared both emotionally and cognitively for their future educational experiences.

 2.  What does this mission mean to you?

It means that each child that leaves Kirkwood Children’s House is ready to learn and is confident of their abilities.

 3.  What was your best day as a Founder, Director Kirkwood Children’s House?

My best day happens often.  It is not a day, but the experience of hearing a child say, “I did it!”  The accomplishment may be zipping their coat or solving a big math problem.  What I hear is “I did it myself and I am perfect just as I am!”  The adult does not need to say anything.  The child is doing it for him/her self  – not to please me.  I believe this builds true and lifelong confidence.

No matter where they go or what kind of future learning environment they attend, they will be confident and therefore safe emotionally.

4.  What was your worst day as a Founder, Director Kirkwood Children’s House and how did you survive?

Twenty something years ago, one of our student’s baby sister was at the babysitter’s house and died of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  The hospital called to let us know that the parents may be late picking up their three-year-old child.  As the father walked through the door, I looked at him, and he said, “She is gone.”  I hugged him and he released all his weight on me and sobbed.  He was a very big man, but I held him like a child.  I realized how special our small community is and how we needed to not only be here for the children, but for the young families.  I felt more a part of the human experience than I have in my life.

2 Comments

  1. In her worst day story, it was very touching to me how Florence provided comfort to the father who lost his child, recognizing how even as adults, we still need to be held and comforted in the same way a child needs that comfort when something bad happens to them. I often feel that same need to be comforted when I am hurting inside. I applaud Florence for freely giving her tender, loving comfort to this grown man during his heart-breaking moment of need.

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  2. I loved your “best day” comment! I can just see the delight in the eyes of the children when they exclaim “I did it!” You are encouraging their confidence and self-esteem one zipper, colored picture or number at a time. Impressive!

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