While many of us were lucky enough to work from home during COVID-19, spend more time with our families, and take up a few niche hobbies (sourdough bread, anyone?) early childhood director, Lori Schneider, and her team at Seeds of Grace Christian Child Development Center in Northbrook, Illinois, were busier than ever!
“Keeping up with constant meetings and the changing info around re-opening and making sure we had all the right tools when we were able to reopen was a big challenge. Things are still changing and things are unknown so keeping up and keeping my own sanity has been a challenge.”
HiMama sat down with Lori and her adorable dog Casper and chatted about her achievements, inspiration and how she had maintained a level head during “COVID craziness” with her child care center and family.
Wearing Many Hats!
Lori recognizes that, as educators, “we’re not top paid, but we wear many hats! We’re psychologists, we’re moms, business people, families, janitors, and it’s easy to get frustrated.” Her advice? Look at all the little blessings and take it one day at a time.” Lori mentions that all it takes to turn your day around is “one child to come up to you and says they love you, show you their artwork and it gives me so much hope.”
Lori maintains great relationships with her staff and families too. “You’re there for that parent who needs someone to listen to them or for the staff member who just needs to vent so they can go on with their day. Sometimes the staff have life challenges too, but tomorrow brings a new day. Always look for the small things.”
“I like to run my center like a family. Not letting our families in our center and knowing what was going on with our families like we usually do was hard”Lori Schneider
Focus on Yourself
In recent months, self-care and mental health has been a hot topic and Lori stands by that. You have to take care of yourself first. Since COVID started, she explains that “you can only focus on what you can control and focus on your handwashing, face mask [wearing], and your environment around you.” Lori mentioned that when her husband became quite ill that she began to start being thankful for every day she had and not to worry about tomorrow —genuinely great advice and something we should all take into consideration!
All in the Family
Lori’s daughter, Rachel, originally nominated her as an Early Childhood Hero and mentioned how proud she was of her accomplishments. When HiMama first reached out to Lori wanting to feature her in our Early Childhood Heroes series, Lori’s initial reaction was “what did Rachel do behind my back again!”
Rachel’s enthusiasm and admiration for her mom was beautifully written on her nomination form. Rachel mentioned that “Lori gave her Dad a kidney when he was ill to save his life and still went right back to work after recovery and has never stopped since.” Truly remarkable and quite heroic actions. Rachel concludes her nomination form by explaining, “some call her a Super Director, but I just say, ‘She’s my Mom!’”
Seeds of Grace’s Achievements
Lori is very proud of her center and the educators’ accomplishments thus far since COVID started. Even though her center has been open since early June, they’ve produced amazing content for their families ranging from book reading, interactive lessons, songs, and birthday announcements on their YouTube channel.
For more information about Seeds of Grace and their Organization, you can visit their website HERE.
Early Childhood Hero- Noun-/Ear-ly Chi-ld-hoo-d He-ro/– An individual or organization in the Early Childhood field who exemplifies outstanding and notable achievements in their community.
HiMama has received dozens of nominations of individuals in the Early Childhood community who are going above and beyond to help their families, children, and communities during Covid-19. We were lucky enough to interview these heroes and get their stories on how they’ve helped their communities and persevered through challenging and uncertain times as well as gain some advice to share with others.
Know a Hero?Do you know an individual or organization that deserves to be recognized? Tell us their story by submitting it online HERE.