The Joy of Being with Three-Year-Olds

by John C. Westervelt

Seven years ago, Jean Hackler asked if I would help in children’s Sunday School class for the summer. An "ought to" decision has been a blessing. I helped with my granddaughter’s class of three-year-olds. Since Amy called me Grandpa John, that became my name for the other children. I continued to help each summer moving up each year to stay with the same children.

As a recent retiree, I was searching for a fun volunteer job. As a part of my search, I called Joanne Miller, Director of Preschool and Mothers Day Out. Joanne said, "Helen Frymire and Jane Berry, our professional teachers for the three-year-olds, could use a volunteer helper.

Let me share a couple of paragraphs from my weekly letter to my daughter:

Thursday September 14, 1995

The orange morning sky, a freshly mowed lawn, roses enjoying the cool air, and birds darting across the brightening overhead remind me that nature is the visible part of God

At the end of the morning I was to see a visible part of God’s love, fifteen of His three-year-olds. At the end of my second morning on my new job (Tuesday and Thursday 9 to 12), as we formed a line to return to the classroom from the outside play area, a girl and a boy hugged my legs. To me that means they already except me as their friend.

The two seasoned teachers select a three-year-old to be at the head of the line to go to the playground. I had forgotten the pleasure that a young child gets from being chosen to be the leader.

Tuesday September 19, 1995

Sheets of paper are clipped to the easel where the three-year-olds can make a drawing with colored markers. The teachers write the child’s name at the top of the sheet so the drawing can be put by the right nametag in the hall. I wrote "TIA" and asked the petite blond, "Is that your name."


I am trying to learn fifteen names. I thought I surely had this one right. I asked Miss Helen who explained that her name was Tia (lowercase). With "Tia" on a new sheet of paper, my pupil was happy.

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