The Beautiful Goal of Messy and Cooperative Ribbon Cutting

(Wendy’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Speech – September 10, 2016)


I am so excited to be here at our 626 Flatbush Maple Street ribbon cutting, and I want to thank you and hug you all for coming. Many of you have played with us before, and to those who haven’t, you are invited to play right now. At Maple Street we say that every single day, everybody gets to play.

Maple Street is our hearts and souls. We are inspired by and grateful to our founders, our alumni, our teachers, our advocates, our heroes, our children, our elders, our babies, and YOU.

Maple Street, as many of you know, is a co-op in both practice and spirit, an all-of-us-come-as-we-are, be-our-best-selves, stretch kind of preschool. It is an everybody place, where black lives matter and anyone can wear a dress or be a princess as long as we are safe and kind. Maple Street is a place where we all experience magic, struggle, learning and play.

That’s especially true right now. As one of our heroic and wise leaders, Jennifer Smith, says, “We are as much of ‘we’ as we will ever be.” And now we—we!—are opening a second buiding here with you today.

Marisa, one of our teachers (with the best heart ever), said something wonderful to me about the quick and slow and bumpy opening of our school. “Wendy, I see this as just like the subway,” she said. “It slows down and stops sometimes, and you can either growl and stomp or make a friend and become a community.”

We have always been and will always be the kind of school that chooses to makes a friend and become a community. But as a preschool made up of people who teach and love young children, we also know that growling and stomping and showing our feelings is honored and permitted along the way until the doors open.

So today, in the spirit of Maple Street, we are all cutting the ribbon together: papas and daddies, mamas and mommies, caregivers, aunts, community leaders, local businesses (like Drink wine store, which sponsored us today), children, fairies, princesses, superheroes. Every race and culture, many special needs, lots of beautiful quirks.

The walls built here by our most amazing superhero construction team are meant to frame a space where we can create culture, be open and loving, and heal the world in micro-revolutions. We will play here everyday. We will begin now.

In preschool curricula, we often begin by asking: What we are doing? What is ribbon? Why are we cutting it and what is happening? Is it long or short? What color and shape is it? What  else can we do with it?

So I was studying ribbon this week, and I read an anonymous quote that said: “Here is a warning. Not all things end up tied with a perfect bow. Sometimes you get a knot, a very messy one.”

And this, at Maple Street, is our goal: to learn, to play, to fray, to knot, to tangle and untangle, to love. We are all in it, growing together, cutting and playing with ribbon, and opening this beautiful, magical, soon-to-be-a-little-messy, loving school.

Thank you all for coming. We love you.