Thriving.  Confident.  Role model.

That’s how her parents describe their five-year-old daughter Sadie.

That wasn’t always the case.

“She had a hard time with anger and emotional outbursts,” her mother, Heather, recalled.  “She had a tough time building empathy and relationships.  She wasn’t able to express herself.  She’s completely different now.  Through the Early Learning Center, she’s learned the skills she needed.”

Karen McClure-Richard, director of Pine Tree Society’s Early Learning Center, recalled how when she and her team first met Sadie “We were seeing a lack of confidence and she had some speech and language issues that contributed to that.”

Together, Karen and the family worked with a Pine Tree Society speech language pathologist to create systems to for her to communicate.

“At first, we were the only ones who could understand her,” Heather continued. “Through her work at the Early Learning Center, her speech has come along so well, everyone can understand her.”

In particular, pronouncing the sound of the letter F had been really hard for her.  Just recently, she was able to pronounce it correctly for the first time and it was a major milestone.

“We could see on her face how hard she’d worked at that,” said Heather.  “The Early Learning Center had been working on her speech for a long time and F was the very last piece.  Every day she worked on that sound with her speech therapist.”

Her brother’s name is Fox and she had always pronounced it Box.

“One day he came home and she said ‘Hi Fox!’  We kept saying ‘Say it again, say it again!’ and clapping.  From that point on, she never had trouble with F again.  Being able to pronounce that correctly made her speech blossom because she had the confidence and didn’t feel like she had any limitations.”

Sadie is now attending pre-kindergarten.

Her father, Mark, recalled how “Within the first week, she was able to follow the school’s code of conduct.  Heather and I were both blown away.  We didn’t know if she was prepared.  That was really exciting and a good pat on the back for the Early Learning Center and a vote of confidence for us to keep doing what we’re doing.  Through the Early Learning Center, she’s learned to become a nurturer.  Her pre-kindergarten teacher shays she checks on all the other kids to be sure they are doing okay. She’s a role model to them for what they’re learning to do.”

The next step is kindergarten and Heather knows she’s ready.  “She has physical attachments with people now.  She’s learned empathy and nurturing.  It’s like getting to know a different version of her.  Now, I feel she’s ready to start kindergarten.”

Her father, Mark, agreed. “They have built a confidence for her that there are people who are there for her and who care about her.  She’s smiling and laughing when she runs in the door and she still smiling and laughing when I come to pick her up.”

Pine Tree Society’s Early Learning Center is her special place and it’s a special place for Heather and Mark too.

“With the Early Learning Center, we feel like we have a group of experts who help us to understand why she struggles.  We know there are other people looking out for her and helping us so we can get her everything that she needs and help her overcome her obstacles.  It is nice to have people so dedicated to her positive outcomes.”

Skip to content