Spot Light

Joanne McGee
Holy Child School at Rosemont
PreKindergarten Teacher
Parent ’17 and ’20

“We have the work of God to do and we are very busy.” This truth spoken by Cornelia Connelly is as relevant today as it was when she was establishing the Society of the Holy Child Jesus over 150 years ago. The responsibility and honor of educating a Holy Child School at Rosemont student is one that requires a special calling. Our teachers, whether they have been at Holy Child for 40 years or 40 weeks, realize it is an education not only of the mind, but also of the heart.

At Holy Child, meeting the needs of every child begins with a sense of belonging. “Holy Child is the children’s home away from home,” said PreKindergarten teacher Joanne McGee P’17’20, who has been teaching in our Early Childhood division for nine years. “Part of our job is to love these children the way we’d want our own children to be loved. We really work hard to embrace the children’s differences and to not make them fit a mold.” This commitment to caring is modeled by our faculty, and so students instinctively know to extend that hospitality and warmth to the children who enroll in our School.

With Holy Child’s home-like atmosphere, students feel comfortable to tackle the challenge of a Holy Child curriculum. The beauty of our academic program lies in the flexibility our teachers have to create original curriculum and also in the resources with which we are blessed. The result? Highly-engaged and high-achieving students. Said Joanne, “We’re building a love of learning, and making that the core of what we do allows and encourages us to derive our curriculum from what the children love and are interested in. Having that flexibility is such a gift.”

Cornelia Connelly’s philosophy of meeting the wants of the age goes far beyond software and hardware. It involves the teachers designing and delivering curriculum that addresses the needs of the students, while also requiring the faculty to model collaboration for the children. They enlist the assistance of their colleagues, creating a holistic approach to a topic. This cross-curricular planning is second nature to our teachers. Moreover, this collaboration of various teachers and classroom subjects not only increases the students’ grasp of the big picture and the interconnectedness of our curriculum, but also allows them to see teamwork demonstrated, teamwork that will be required of them as they continue their education and enter the workforce. “Our greatest resource is each other,” said Joanne. “We really utilize each other’s strengths.”

Thanks to the home-like atmosphere that pervades our campus, students are encouraged to stretch themselves and go beyond their comfort zones. “From very early on here we’re teaching the children that making mistakes is part of the process, and if you’re not willing to make mistakes then you’re not learning as much. They’re also learning to make a mistake with a smile,” said Joanne. Students are frequently exposed to constructive criticism on their work through peer editing. They learn to appreciate the strengths and weaknesses inherent to every classmate. Added Joanne, “It’s not only us embracing what is unique about each child, but having the children embracing what is unique about each other. Our kids do that very well. They really do embrace each other’s uniqueness and strengths. I think that is the Joy of Achievement--when you’ve taught young children to appreciate their classmates’ strengths.”