Jamie was four years old when she came into our classroom. Like many four year olds, she was fiercely an I-can-do-it-myself kind of person, albeit a really cute one. I tried to take her stances for independence as seriously as she did, though she was so darn cute and small that this was hard. Add to this that I grew up to be a preschool teacher in various places, and well, she didn’t escape my nurturing tendencies. I was 9, and I felt it my job to protect Jaime from all sorts of imagined potential harm. Falling off a tricycle? Couldn’t happen with me around. Her extreme sun sensitivity that likely landed her in our room in the first place? Here is whatever protection we have so you can ride that trike. You’re welcome 🙂
The teachers called me a mother hen and said looking out for Jaime while she was with us was their job. Clearly, by 9 I didn’t trust adults all that much.
Looking back, it was pretty over the top, and thankfully I don’t see disaster lurking everywhere for the five and under crowd now.
One day, Jaime, who was in our room only a few months, didn’t come to school and the teachers said she wouldn’t be back. I was sad and asked for more information, but they wouldn’t tell me.
I think goodbyes like this are why I care about disabled kids and adults sticking together now, and the importance of supporting this. It hurts when people don’t.
So I missed Jaime, and never saw her again. I cried. It wasn’t fair. It felt like grownups were always taking kids out of our room with no talking to us, and we couldn’t help each other because we were kids.
But Jaime’s responses to me did teach me more about young children and the teacher’s responses helped me modulate and refine them, which made me stronger in my responses and committed to kids’ early development and learning over time.