Today made me sad. It started out as a dot on the horizon and has been inching closer for the past three years. I knew it would come eventually, but that didn't make it any easier. Today was the day I had to hand in the letter acknowledging once and for all that Little Tiger is not returning to her beloved Montessori school in the fall. Her sister will return as a second year pre-primary student, but Little Tiger will begin a new adventure in a different first grade classroom.
I didn't know it at the time, but Little Tiger's educational journey began in the group I wrote about here. In fact, the baby next to Little Tiger in the very first picture in that post has been her classmate for the past three years and is one of her best friends. The baby's grandmother works at Little Tiger's school and that is how I became aquainted with it. She gave me a tour, while the toddler teacher interviewed Little Tiger and both my daughter and I were smitten.
Little Tiger's school is a joyful learning environment where she has blossomed in ways that seemed incomprehensible to me four years ago when she took her first tentative steps into the toddler classroom.Her teachers are amazing. Little Tiger says at least once a day, her small voice full of conviction, that "Mrs. Johnson is the best teacher in the world."
Mrs. Johnson is wise and the positive influence she has on Little Tiger extends far beyond her classroom. When the Mister or I complain about the weather, Little Tiger reminds us that "Mrs. Johnson says there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes." Although it may sound silly, there have been several times over the past two winters when this has given me the gentle push I need to put on some gloves and brave the snow.
When we denied Little Tiger a DS for her fifth birthday and Christmas, she was disappointed. But, to our relief, her desire to own such a thing evaporated when "Mrs. Johnson says you don't need to play computer games because you have the best computer right here." Little Tiger announced one afternoon as she tapped her forefinger to her head.
In addition to being wise, Mrs. Johnson and her assistant, Miss Daune are amazingly creative.
Who else would think to make a model of an ant hill using a date as the queen and QUINOA as the ant eggs?
The intelligence, creativity and nurturing Little Tiger has received from her school over the past four years are extraordinary. I feel so blessed that my shy little toddler has blossomed into this smart curious little girl who was so proud to bring home her thousand chain and show her mama and daddy she successfully counted from 1-1000 by tens.
If I never make a good choice again for the rest of my life at least I know I picked an amazing early childhood experience for my daughters. I will allow myself to be sad tonight, but tomorrow I will celebrate that The Milk Belly Princess still has two years left at this wonderful place and her older sister is moving on to new and exciting experiences. Growth and change is a joyful thing but, at the moment of transition, sometimes it just hurts.