Patience, love and hope: A new mother's perspective on the image of the child

A sneak peek at our young artist dream nursery.  This is a special wooden wall with toys from around the world.

As my newborn son sleeps peacefully in his crib, I use the background jazz music to help me focus on writing this blog post for you…  

It is no secret that I am a new mom! Although I continue to have many ambitions for the future, I have made my baby the top of my priority list.  Life as I once knew it, has changed forever... Everything that I do now, whether it's read a book for my PhD course, plan an upcoming presentation, answer emails, make dinner, etc. revolves around our little guy's schedule.  This has been a major learning curve for my husband and I who have been fairly independent up until this point.  Together, we have really embraced the challenges of parenthood and look forward to all of the joyous times that lie ahead of us!

Baby S is seven weeks and three days old.  Here he meets his very curious big cousins for the first time.

For as long as I can remember I have always adored and respected children. When I work with them in the classroom or in any capacity, you won't catch me yelling at them, making them feel less than, or forcing them into doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable.  My "image of the child," as strong, capable, knowledgeable, valuable contributor, decision-maker, learner, and teacher is something that I carry with me daily.  It is this image of the child, inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, that acts as the foundation of my teaching philosophy and is at the heart of my program.  It grounds my practice and supports my reflection of what I can do to improve the conditions for our youngest learners.

Mommy presents for the first time since giving birth and Baby S is happy when she returns home!  He is exactly seven weeks old.

Now as a parent I feel as though I have an even higher regard for this image of children.  I recognize what it takes to go through nine months anticipating your little miracle, praying each night for a healthy pregnancy and baby.  I understand the fear and struggles that come with the uncertainty of the labour and delivery process.  As well as, the tender love and care for this delicate little creature as they enter the world.  

I only know two months of what it means to be a parent, but have gained new insights and perspectives for when I return to the classroom.  

Every family sends their precious angel(s) to school. What a gift to be entrusted with this important job!

Newborn photography shoot.  Our first family portrait captured by Janine Daponte Photography.

I have come to appreciate that every family has their own unique story.  Some families may have tried to have children and it took them several years, while others may have had them sooner than expected.  Some may have had a difficult pregnancy while others a harder birthing experience.  Regardless of the story, they remained patient, loving, and hopeful.  After four years, this child that they cared for and watched grow, is now in the hands of someone else.  Do we as educators even realize how much effort goes into the first few years of our students' lives?  Are we patient, loving, and hopeful?  Do we give all children equal opportunity to thrive and support their growth along the way?

My son is nowhere near school-aged, but I already worry about who will educate him when I am not around.  Will they respect him and inspire him to love learning?  Will they empower him to be reach his full potential?  Will they encourage him to pursue his interests? Will they listen to his ideas and make him feel like he matters?  Will their image of the child match my own?  The thought of anything less, truly hurts my heart…

Tonight, I sat in front of my laptop within a dark nursery, so that I wouldn't wake up my newborn.  I  didn't have a plan of what I would write…  These are my current thoughts, and I hope that my new perspective might remind us of how fortunate we are to be in the presence of young children.  They are all special blessings sent from above, and perfect in their own way!  To me, their innocence is about the closest glimpse we have into heaven…

Enjoy the rest of your March Break and perhaps begin your last term of the school year with just a little bit more patience, love, and hope for your students!  I am certain that their families will forever be indebted to your strong image of the child.

Our sweet angel this past Tuesday at seven weeks and six days old.  He is growing so quickly!

Stay tuned for an announcement about #CTInquiry sessions for March 30, April 27, May 18, and June 8th.  All sessions will be in person throughout the GTA.  We are just finalizing the locations and will resume an online chat over the Summer months. 

In addition, I have a special "Blog Bonanza" post in the works with our best giveaway yet, to help celebrate exceeding 2 million views!

Thank you for continuing to be part of this amazing journey! 

Sincerely yours,

Joanne Marie Babalis

Baby S visits mommy's TransformEd Creative Studio space at four weeks old.

There are hundreds of different images of the child.

Each one of you has inside yourself an image of the child

that directs you as you begin to relate to a child.

This theory within you pushes you to behave in certain ways;

it orients you as you talk to the child, 

listen to the child, observe the child.

                                                                   -Loris Malaguzzi

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  1. Wishing you much health, happiness, love and laughter as you continue on your parenting journey!