One of my best memories of Luca's early life here in Florida will be his first "school" experience. Although Luca only attended The Frog Pond for just a few months before he turned three, this first school setting set the stage for his independence. A mix of Montessori, Waldorf and Unschooling ideals, The Frog Pond was a wonderful introduction to learning outside the home. His time with Ms. Odiya and the rest of the children (ages 2.5 to 6yrs) was filled with dress-up, dirt digging, bug-collecting, painting, play-dough, make-believe, singing and story-telling. I know that his love of nature and exploring was nurtured there, as well as his pagan-y propensity to create "the circle" in all forms of play and his tradition of the Waldorf blessing before meals.
We were all very sad when Ms. Odiya and her six-year old daughter Maya moved to New Mexico early in the summer. The concept of their move across the country was a hard one for Luca to grasp. He spent several weeks missing them both and asked when he would be going back to school to see them. When Montessori was about to start, we had to explain over and over that he would be spending time with a new teacher this year.
Although it's been awhile, his first teacher and his first school still come up in conversation. Just this week, Luca very adamantly asked when he was going back to his other school - meaning The Frog Pond. He must have sensed a visit - because we were both very happy to find out that Ms. Odiya would be in town this week!
Tonight, we spent time catching up with Odiya and playing with Frog Pond friends - who are now Montessori friends. Luca even got to speak to Maya on the phone from New Mexico.
Odiya gave Luca the security to confidently enter into a world apart from his parents and she gave me the ability to feel okay about letting go of this little boy for a few hours a week so that I could get a few things done on my own. She helped potty-train him and she helped him to become a "big kid" who is old enough to go to school.
Visiting with everyone tonight made me realize how far Luca has come in the last six months, how fast toddlers grow into preschoolers and how I am grateful for the people and experiences that have come our way in the past year.
Visit again soon, Ms. Odiya.