“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.” – Maria Montessori
Over the past few weeks I have been running summer camps for 1st and 2nd graders; I love working with these children, and they constantly surprise and amaze me with their talents and abilities. Furthermore, my eldest child is enrolled in these camps, and I have the added pleasure of keeping her with me every day. Pretty amazing deal, huh? But what about my three year old son? Finding any quality childcare for him has proven difficult for me so far.
Well, that is until Ewelina turned up, and revolutionized our household. She is a close friend and freshly squeezed Montessori teacher with whom I had arranged a trade – I had her girls in my camp, while she spent two weeks taking care of Bun.
This was always meant to be a mutually beneficial arrangement, but even so, I am astounded with how much it has benefited my son, and myself. I am trained to teach older children, and come armed with an bag full of strategies to keep them engaged and on task, but when it comes to toddlers and preschoolers I have no superpowers. I, like any other parent, am basically winging it.
For two weeks Ewelina gave Bun her undivided attention, and got to know him really well, and I saw him develop in amazing ways. He seemed so happy with her, she observed him closely and listened to him carefully. She recognized the magic in his universe – mundane everyday items would be turned into amazing tools for sensory learning (Bun would sit happily pushing pieces of spaghetti into the holes in an old herb bottle – an ingenious way to develop his fine motor skills). In fact, she left me full of ideas of how to set up a stimulating Montessori environment at home. When this camp is over, THIS will be my next big project.
Ewelina is not here this week, but I think of her approach towards learning all the time. I went to the grocery store today and came back with a small colander, bubble mixture, a salt shaker, and a packet of toothpicks for Bun.
She is opening her new preschool, Jollyplace, in January. If I were you, I’d go stand in line for a place. See you there!