When my husband and I welcomed our first child, James, into our family almost four years ago, we received lots of advice from family, friends, and even relative strangers.  People love to give advice, it seems!  From tips on when to give him solid food to how to make the relentless hours of colicky crying cease, we heard it all.  And as James grew and developed, the advice changed – “Get ready for the ‘Terrible Twos,’” people would assert, “and how much more difficult your lives will get!”

What I find so interesting is that James’ second year was bliss, and I enjoyed my role as mom even more with each passing month.  Even with a challenging third year and a new baby brother joining the family, James has relished our favorite snuggle time together, surrounded by titles from his 10-foot-bookshelf.

As a lover of books and reading, and a professional who has chosen to spend many years of her career employed as Harrisburg Academy’s “storyteller,” you can easily understand why I’m biased when it comes to my children’s own exposure to books.  At least 30 minutes every day, we curl into each other in our favorite green arm chair and enter the world of Max and the Wild Things or Curious George on his many adventures.  This time is priceless to James and me, both, and I am grateful to be able share the gift of reading with him.  I know that he appreciates our story time, too.

This month, James joined the Academy community as a HATS student, and I am so excited to finally see his precocious little self loose in an environment that encourages deep, authentic learning and creativity at all ages.  I am already seeing how inspired he is by our school’s amazing Early Childhood teachers and longstanding, reputable program and philosophies.  As this calendar year begins, I think about all of the milestones awaiting my family in the next few years — Snuggle Up and Read nights, the Early Childhood Strings concert, and lab science class and the white lab coats our youngest little scientists wear — and I look forward to giving James a gift much bigger than my time and my bookcase… the gift of a world-class education.  I can only imagine how much he will continue to grow and learn through the time he spends at Harrisburg Academy.