Some of you who’ve been kind enough to invest precious minutes of your life reading my ramblings, will know that I am a massive advocate of the Montessori method of teaching. Having taught in Montessori preschools and through raising my own children in accordance with the principles, her theories have always appealed to me. The biggest attraction of her teaching methods stems from one of her most quoted phrases. “Help me to do it for myself.” Seven simple words that manage to convey all the frustrations of childhood. For the one driving purpose, from the moment we are born, is to learn from those around us so we may acquire the skills to become independent. As adults, we can sometimes overlook the importance of taking the time to help children achieve the small things that will, when added together, provide them with the skills they need to become happy and fulfilled members of society.
Don’t worry, this blog hasn’t suddenly turned into a propaganda piece on the merits of Montessori (however tempting that may be!), I’m only telling you this because it is all relevant to the next chapter in Pumplett’s life.
When Pumplett was 2 & a half, I was acutely aware that she was ready to explore some of the world without me as her trusty sidekick! I had never left her in the care of anyone else before. Not grandparents. Not aunts. Not uncles. Only occasionally her father!! The upshot of this prestigious care I’d taken of my children meant that I had to be 100% confident in the people with whom I was to be leaving them. Fortunately, I did have the option of the most amazing preschool, where I had taught long before children, & where my eldest had blossomed under their tutelage. Indeed, the staff had accompanied us on our journey with T1 right from the start. They supported us and our eldest daughter through the trauma of diagnosis, the early days and weeks. Quite simply, they knew our darkest fears and were not afraid to stand alongside us whilst we faced them.
It was their willingness to embrace all aspects of Pumplett’s care that meant her first life experiences without her mother, were some of the most rewarding she had ever had. They hosted many meetings with our DSN & myself in attendance as we endeavoured to cover all the basics they would need to know. Such was their dedication, that after only a few weeks, Pumplett was performing her own blood tests. At age 2. They took the time and space to listen to my funny little girl who was quite insistent that “My do it”. They had created a Children’s House where she could take 10 minutes to check her blood sugars! Their calmness provided her with an independence her impatient mother had overlooked. And it was a joy to see how much confidence she gained from this simple procedure. It was another step towards her ownership of T1. Indeed, the level of care provided by her preschool set a very high standard that enabled us to have the confidence to insist on these care levels once she moved into full time education. The precident had been set and it was impossible to argue against our expectations now it was in action.
Pumplett’s preschool years were full of positive experiences which reinforced a positive approach to her diagnosis. We were supported in our desire to make her feel nothing was beyond her reach. Certainly her T1 was never concidered a barrier. If anything, it made us, her parents, and the staff more determined to inspire her to stretch beyond her reach. She did, and emerged from her preschool years a positive, confident and single minded little girl. Just the attributes she needs to kick T1’s butt!!!