Saturday, May 23, 2009

Why I love Montessori!

On Thursday, Scott, Keane and I had the opportunity to go into Colsen's classroom @ Park Rd. Public Montessori. Colsen is in Pre-K this year (they start them at age 4!) and his class is about 25 kids... at least half of whom are Kindergarteners. He has grown up so much being with the older kids all year. He's reading, he's reciting poetry, and he is just maturing in so many ways. He's also discovered new ways to get in trouble. As hard as it was for me to let him start going to "big school" after he had JUST turned 4, I'm so glad we did! So, one of the things I most appreciate about the Montessori program is it's emphasis on QUALITY over QUANTITY. Taking time to make each moment and learning experience special is one of the things I love about his classroom. We loved watching how the kids just drink in this little birthday tradition they do in their class. The teachers encourage us at home to not load our kids down with a bunch of stuff, but rather to take time with them...playing, learning, imagining, reading. LOVE IT! Since Colsen's birthday is August 14, his class celebrated his bday in May. See video above. The end of the video is the sweetest part. I just love this school!!!!
They had us bring in a picture for every year from colsen's birth and then every birthday. 
After this little celebration, they passed each picture around and talked about it and then displayed it on the board. I just melts our hearts!
Keane was pretty loud during the filming (as usual) so we were trying to bribe him w/ food most of the time.
After the little celebration, all the kids stood up and recited poetry (by memory of course) and then after a little story time, we all went to the cafeteria for lunch. Colsen chose chocolate chip oatmeal cookies as his birthday treat for us to make & bring in to school to share. 
(yay for not having to ice cupcakes!!!)
...and better yet, our favorite  chocolate chip oatmeal cookies on the planet are made from a package! [Seriously, we started making these years ago and every time we bring them somewhere people flip for them. I couldn't make better from scratch, but that's not saying much.
Just a side note: we like the cookies better made with canola oil than with butter- they just come out better for some reason] 
Anyway, what is just really the sweetest is that the whole time we were in his class or in the cafeteria Colsen was all about sitting on our laps, holding our hands, giving us kisses and hugs...
he's just not yet at that age where he's embarrassed of us. I'm sure that's coming soon. 
So we drank it in. If you live in the area and are considering entering your child in the lottery for Public Montessori, DO IT! 
They are making plans to possibly start a 3 yr. old program at Park Rd. soon. I don't know if I'll be able to part with 
Keane enough to do it if it were an option, but given this year's experience with Colsen, I know it would be amazing relationally and educationally for him. 
I would say this school has been one of this year's greatest blessings by far. I'm also heading into next school year with 
the role of "Community Outreach Co-Chair" for the PTO. I actually have no idea what that 
means but I know that we will be organizing coat-drives and different opportunities to serve kids in need in Charlotte- I'm excited. 
Hopefully we can tag team with some of the justice initiatives that Watershed is already doing! (I vote yes at least and I guess that means something now?). 

Saturday, May 02, 2009

In the arms of the angels...

On Thursday, our family received a heart-wrenching call.
Scott's stepbrother's two and a half year old son, Kaden, was tragically killed. The details are too awful to even put into words. There was a brief article written about it in a Buffalo newspaper. 
Scott's stepmom was babysitting at the time of the accident and from the moment we received the call we can't stop thinking/crying/praying for their family, especially Kaden's mommy & daddy and his sweet Grandma Hofert. What words could possibly bring comfort? We only can say that if we shed a million tears for his family it would not be enough to even measure the sorrow of the loss of this precious little boy...
Scott is heading out early tomorrow morning with his brothers to Buffalo to attend the wake and funeral. I wish I could be with them.
I had the sweet privilege of spending a little time the past few years with Kaden. I think maybe we met him when he was a tiny baby during a visit to Buffalo, but then we had the chance to play at the beach with him when he was about 1 or so. This little blonde, blue-eyed little sweet boy who was the apple of his mommy and daddy's eye. I remember his daddy even carried a cool "man-diaper-bag" camo print. That takes a real man to have his own diaper bag :)
Here's a pic of the whole fam at the beach that summer for Kaden's uncle's wedding. 
Kaden is way in the background being held (little blondie). Colsen is the little blondie standing in the front. What a sweet rainbow-filled day. I remember Kaden's mommy, Jen, telling us how she went back to work after Kaden was born and then couldn't bear to leave him and ended up quitting her job to be with him. 
 Everytime we talk with Scott's Dad and stepmom we would hear stories about Kaden and how much they enjoyed their time with him. Kaden had Scott's dad wrapped around his tiny little finger too. I remember Kaden's mommy & daddy telling us how he liked to get up early in the morning and "shave" with his daddy. Since his daddy worked late at night, he'd spend morning time with him. 
Then this past Thanksgiving, Scott and I and our boys had the joy of sitting at the "kids table" with Kaden and his daddy. Kaden loves his dog and was convinced that he also was a dog so he ate his entire Thanksgiving dinner without any use of his hands...just like his doggie. And what was sweeter, his daddy let him...and just smiled. They had such a special sweet bond. I also remember thinking how much Kaden and Colsen looked related even though they're only related via step-grandparents...amazing.
I remember about three and a half years ago now, some friends of ours lost their sweet baby girl, Indigo. My friend Donna and I sang at the funeral and I can't remember much about the funeral service due to the weight of the sorrow and tears, especially as I was a new mom at the time. But, I do remember Indigo's dad, Kevin, saying ( I can't quote him exactly) that she was such a happy 2 year old... and the saddest part is that she'd always be two. 
And so, at only 2 years old, another little angel is now in the arms of the angels. God, we don't know why. We could flood the planet with our tears and we just beg you to bring comfort somehow to Kaden's mommy and daddy and grammy and grandpa...and aunts and uncles and cousins and baby sister and little friends. Wrap your giant supernatural arms around them and allow every good sweet memory of that sweet little tow-headed, doggie-wanna be, love-of-his-family's life boy to fill their hearts in these upcoming incomprehensible days. May your mommy be so grateful that she dropped everything to be with you. May your daddy delight for every morning shave your shared, may your little soul continue to be a light that brings your family together in your memory.
And Kaden, next Thanksgiving, we're all going without silverware in honor of you, little precious boy. 
All our love to you and your family.