Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute - Pineridge Nursery School

Tuesday's Tribute


I know you guys are out there. Parents who have children attending this lovely preschool back in Ontario. I know that Holly is out there. Holly wrote me a beautiful little note that I haven't yet replied to, so I thought I might repay her the favour of linking to my blog, by writing a little something about the place that made such a huge impact on our lives.

Pineridge Nursery School was one of our stepping stones that I believe was a foundation for the twins. At the time, Diane was running things there and I had met her through a class we were taking at church. At the time of the boys' diagnosis, one of the few offers of advice we were given by our developmental pediatrician was to enrol the boys in a preschool so that they could benefit from the exposure to other kids. This absolutely terrified me. Up until this point, not even our family members were entirely comfortable caring for the boys because of their extraordinary quirks/behaviours and needs and I was afraid that a preschool would not be open to the idea of accepting two little boys who wouldn't know how to play by the rules. I think it's a natural fear of a parent to worry if their children are being ignored or mistreated, particulary if their children are non-verbal, as Owen and Will were (and still are). I can't ask them at the end of the day, how it went, if they had fun, what they did, do they like their teachers, who are their friends, etc. To find a preschool that would accept the boys (difficult), that felt safe and where I respected and trusted the teachers, would be a difficult task. But it wasn't.

A good friend from St. Paul's Church helped to coordinate my meeting with Diane at Pineridge. It took only a few days after the diagnosis for this to happen and Jonathan and I were fresh from our shock and devastation at the news. I think about our first meeting with Diane and I remember feeling like a brand new, bald and blind little bird who has fallen out of its nest. Vulnerable and pathetically desperate for someone to help us figure it out. I am so grateful that Diane was the one to meet with me, while in that state. She was a true blessing and I don't say that lightly. Life often puts people into your life for all the right reasons and just the right time. Diane offered us hope. She offered us a shoulder to cry on and she provided me with a plan so that I didn't feel so afraid about the boys' future. It wasn't a matter of just getting a tour of the classroom and a run-down of what they could offer. She was a warm blanket to wrap ourselves up in; it was a comfort and it gave us a sense of peace.
At the time, I didn't realize what it would mean for Diane to take on two little boys with special needs, I was entirely focused on my objectives. In retrospect, I can see that Diane and Pineridge went out on a limb, over and above what they needed to do to help us out. They hired on an extra staff to be sure that they would be able to support the boys and this was done without the assurance that the Region would provide any supplementary funding to help with the extraordinary expense. The women in the classroom were SO wonderful at trying to learn all about the boys and their needs. Their interest and their obvious affection for Owen and Will melted our hearts. The boys had a clear connection with each of the women, Holly, Susan, Joy and Diane and it made the experience so much more than what we had ever anticipated. Now that we are going into the boys' first year in a full-day school program (grade one), we are realizing how rare it is to find a school placement such as what we have experienced thus far.

We have been blessed and my boys are better people for having been so fortunate to go through Pineridge. We will never ever forget them and I am so pleased to continue to have this (web)connection to the school. If there is ever anything I can do for any parents who are going through what we did and your children are attending, please don't hesitate to contact me so that I can offer .. a bit of guidance maybe? Anything. It's all about paying it forward as Pineridge did for us.
Click on the links to take a look back at old blog entries regarding our experience with Pineridge:

Moms Days Tea Times 3

Bye Bye Nursery School

1 comment:

Yaya said...

Wow, that sounds like an amazing school!

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