Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What we're learning from Cami

We have a family who has been part of the CMS community for almost 4 years. They have a son who started when he was 3 years old. I loved this family from the start!  They came with lots of questions and thoughts and knew the decision of where to send their son for preschool was a big deal.

We have gotten to know the family over the years, enjoyed watching their son develop and learn and have always felt the support from them for what we do on a daily basis.

Last year at a field trip, Erin shared with me that Cami, her daughter who was going to be joining CMS, was suffering from dizziness.  I could tell when she shared it with me, she was very concerned.  Unfortunately, after many tests and doctor visits it's been determined that Cami has a brain tumor.  This news hits like a kick in the gut-your breath is taken away.  A treatment plan was put into place.

In the meantime, we were in contact with the parents, discussing Cami's transition into school and really processing all we needed to think about for Cami to be at school. A nurse from Children's came and talked to the staff and mom and I talked about what their hopes were for Cami in the Montessori environment.  There were things that Children's Hospital offered to help with the transition into school as well as many things we needed to consider while caring for Cami on a daily basis.

My hopes and prayers for Cami at school were that she could have her time at school be a place of respite and escape from all the things she had to go through while she battled her brain tumor.  My hopes and prayers were that she made friends and got to build her independence and make choices.  My hopes and prayers for Cami were very much the same for all the children who enter the classroom.

I am here to say that Cami is teaching us so much about courage, endurance, persistence,  joy, and positive attitude.  The Montessori environment is incredibly magical-it speaks to children, but it speaks to each child in a different way, based on each child's needs.  While Cami battles cancer, she has to endure many things no child should every have to-she has frequent doctor's visits, blood work, time at the hospital, daily unpleasant medication and times when she just doesn't feel well.  But, honestly, aside from losing some of her hair, you wouldn't know this little girl is sick!  Her energy when she comes into the classroom is contagious-she's so excited to be there and always knows what she wants to do and how she wants to spend her time.  She is large and charge in the classroom and cancer has no hold on her!

We love to observe Cami take her time thinking about her work choice, making her work choice, then engaging in a work with such concentration.  She loves to do rock and gourd scrubbing, Easel, drawing and banana cutting.  It's like in the classroom she is free from the worries of her medical world.  We know that her time in the classroom is imprinting on her little heart and she is learning to know herself and trust that she is capable.  She has an opportunity to practice important skills. She is talking and laughing with other children.  The classroom is meeting her right where she is as it does with each child.  The teachers in the classroom feel honored to be able to watch the unfolding of children-there is no stopping the potential of a child's work when the right environment is offered to them.

We thank you Cami for reminding us each day that we can take hold of joy and happiness offered to us! You have shown us the blessings of each day are never ending, even in the hard stuff. Cancer is a side note in your life-you have big things to teach us and the world-you go girl!!