This past week, we had to privilege of sitting down with Daisy’s teacher to talk about her experience at school thus far – and it was such a proud moment for me as a mom. I feel so grateful that there was one spot left for Daisy in this class at Montessori Seeds of Education, a school that we believe in so strongly. The administration has welcomed us with open arms, the parents are incredibly involved and supportive and the children are so sweet and have embraced Daisy with such love and care. Since Daisy has been at school (just over a month now!), her vocabulary has expanded exponentially – and she is expressing herself verbally even when she doesn’t know the words yet.
Her teacher, Miss Chris (Christine), has been leading Montessori classrooms for toddlers for many, many years and we loved her the moment we first met her. Luckily for us, she seems to love Daisy as much as we do. Miss Chris reported that Daisy has demonstrated a very strong understanding of language – that she has receptive vocabulary, comprehends oral instructions and speaks words consistently. She doesn’t always follow the instructions she is given, but she certainly understands them. I had to laugh, suddenly feeling like I was sitting in between my parents hearing the very same words from one of my own teachers.
Daisy’s physical development is right where it should be, which is a tremendous relief to us as parents considering that A) she is under the fifth percentile for her height and weight and B) she struggled so much with physical strength in the beginning. All that work with early intervention therapies paid off. Daisy can confidently carry her works around the classroom and keep up with the other kids – including the older ones. She can walk up and down stairs independently, transfer things from one container to another, open and close containers and use utensils.
Daisy’s work habits are developing well too – she shows active interest in classroom materials (in particular those related to art), uses materials safely and productively, shows an age-appropriate attention span and can almost complete a work cycle. This last part is very Montessori-specific. In the Montessori classroom setting, a “work cycle” is a two-hour block where the children are meant to seek out individual or group “works” that are set up in various stations around the room. The expectation is that the children will be self-occupied for the full two hours, moving from one activity to the next. Daisy is still a bit young for a full two hours of self-guided work so Miss Chris shared with us that about an hour into the cycle, Daisy will toddle over and rest her head in her lap, and then they will read together until the cycle is over.
Socially and emotionally, Daisy is doing beautifully. Miss Chris explained that Daisy is very social for her age and will approach other children working alone or in groups without hesitation to try to engage with them. She is also extremely affectionate – towards her teachers and fellow students – giving kisses and hugs very often and seeking out physical touch and closeness whenever possible. This did not surprise me one bit given how much time we spend wrapped around each other at home! Miss Chris also shared that Daisy is very “competent at expressing her will” which made me chuckle and puff up a bit with pride. How proud I am to have a toddler who is strong-willed.
Finally, Miss Chris shared that Daisy never exhibits any signs of irritation or frustration – that she works hard to get things right and doesn’t give up easily. This was perhaps the thing that made me most proud of all. From the start of her life, Daisy showed us her determination to "make it" in this world, fighting for every breath, every movement, every step and every bite. This will to live and thrive is a common thread through each stage of her development thus far and I admire that so much. Some of my favorite comments from her “report card” follow:
“Daisy loves to listen to music and to dance! Daisy uses all of the art materials in our classroom. Her favorite thing to do in the Art Area is draw at the easel!”
“Daisy is a very sweet and affectionate little girl who has been a wonderful addition to our class! She has adjusted very well in our environment and happily comes into the classroom each day. She is talking much more now and I’m so pleased with her progress thus far!”
Needless to say, I was beaming with pride at the end of our meeting. Daisy has proven to be adaptable, open, eager to learn, social and independent. She is comfortable showing people how she feels and who she is - and I couldn't ask for anything more. Mothering Daisy continues to be the most wonderful privilege of my life and the best job I've ever had ❤