Fathers take the lead on Calling All Men at local preschool

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EAST ORANGE, NJ — The snowy conditions didn’t deter the men from taking their children to school at Community Day Nursery on S. Munn Avenue in East Orange as part of Calling All Men on Wednesday, Dec. 11. The school was honoring male figures — including biological and adoptive fathers, stepfathers and others — in the lives of children attending the preschool.

“We chose to honor the men in the lives of our children,” Community Day Nursery said in a statement sent to the Record-Transcript after the event on Wednesday, Dec. 11. “These men are super guys in our eyes and in the eyes of the children, so we invited dads, grandpas, uncles, cousins and any important man in our children’s lives to join us for breakfast, so we could celebrate.”

“Sabine Jean, our administrative assistant, and family activities coordinators Phyllis Johnson, Damaris Bueno and Rachael Suber planned this exciting event,” the release said. “Children wore superhero capes and posed for pictures with their super guys and with Mayor (Ted) Green. Having Mayor Green here to help show appreciation to the day was so much fun and so exciting for everyone.”

Dressed from head to toe as superheroes for “My Super Guy and Me Day,” which was this year’s theme, children were led to class by their “super guys.” Some children played and interacted with the mayor and quickly became comfortable with him, further emphasizing the intention of  the day: to highlight the importance of male role models in a child’s life.

The mayor said it is important for children to have adults to count on.

“I have been working with young children for 35 years and I have always believed in lifting children up and helping build their confidence and self esteem,” Green told the Record-Transcript at the event. “Leading by example and letting children know they have someone to talk to and someone they can count on is very important to me.

“Teaching at my dojo, the Green’s School of Martial Arts, for these many years is also another way I reach and teach the youth. I try to make sure every child I come in contact with knows that I am listening and I am willing to go the extra mile to help them succeed.”

Mary Porcelli, executive director of Community Day Nursery, agreed that a father’s involvement goes a long way toward contributing to a child’s social and academic development, and is a benefit.

“I think any man that has a positive place within a child’s life needs to see men in positive roles and will benefit them,” Porcelli told the Record-Transcript in a phone interview on Thursday, Dec. 12.

She said children do better in school when they have strong role models.

“I think for children to be successful, they need three important things: a strong family, a strong community and a strong school. They could be successful with at least two of them. Having male role models will help them to be better role models. Having a strong family unit is important. As long as the children have people to support them, in general, is most important. We all need a strong family and we all need support.”

After the men had escorted the preschoolers to class, they enjoyed a breakfast that was provided to them.

In a statement after the event, teacher Janel Riley said she was glad the event was successful despite the weather, adding, “We are pleased and happy the snow did not stop the ‘super guys’ from celebrating the morning with the amazing children and dedicated staff at Community Day Nursery.”

Photos by EmilyAnn Jackman.