Guest Post by Golden Valley Children’s House 3 Lead Guide, Amanda.

Happy New Years Eve! Today is always a bittersweet day in my life. It is a time to say goodbye to everything good that happened in the past year. A time to say goodbye to everything bad that happened too. It means my son will turn a year older and there is a year of the unknown ahead of me. It makes me wonder what I will be looking back on in 365 days.

One year ago, I was sitting in an office managing a local distribution business. Five years ago I was running post-holiday reports to determine how accurate my forecasting and ordering had been on holiday items for a large online corporation. Eight years ago I was sitting in a desk learning everything I could about Entrepreneurship and Spanish, two of my passions.

Today? I am a Montessori  Teacher, and this new role has led me to some of the most rewarding months of my life. Some of you have heard my story, many of you have not.

Last year (could it really be only a year ago?!) I had just been introduced to the Montessori method. My son started at Peaceful Valley in September and until that point, I had no idea what Montessori was. My husband and I had fallen into a tour at Peaceful Valley, mostly because it was in our “on the way to work” path. I had always dreamt about being a stay at home parent, but at this point in our lives, that wasn’t an option. So off we were determining who would have a large part in helping to raise our child.

We had toured several other childcare centers and schools before this tour and I had major issues with each and every one. From rooms overcrowded with plastic toys, to children sitting in front of blinding lights and loud music, I grew more and more nervous about what environment our child would be exposed to on a daily basis. This was my first child, so I didn’t know exactly what my parenting style would be, but I did know I appreciated the simpler activities in life. I grew up playing outside whenever the weather allowed. Building forts, using my imagination, and reading book after book. Television wasn’t a regular activity in our house and my sister and I were best of friends (most days.) I knew the world had changed since I was a child, but I wanted my son to experience the simplicity of being a child for as long as he could. I wanted him to imagine, to create, to explore the person he was becoming without being constantly entertained by battery operated toys and screens, but I was starting to lose hope that a school with these values existed in the 21st century. And then, we toured Peaceful Valley Montessori Academy.

As I mentioned, I didn’t know what the Montessori method was, but I instantly felt at home. From the natural light cascading into the rooms to the lack of battery operated toys and even the respectful language the teachers were using with the children, this was the environment we had been searching for. My husband and I knew at that moment, we had found the place for our son.

Fast forward a year and I too am at a completely different place in my life. After months of agonizing about making one of the biggest career changes of my life, I finally made the leap. I left my managerial business role, enrolled in a Masters program to earn a degree in Elementary Education along with my Montessori certification in Early Childhood and I am now one of the Lead Teachers at Peaceful Valley. I am not going to lie, the transition from hot coffee and sitting at my computer to working with children all day was a 180. When I made this change, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about becoming a teacher. But after this year? I can honestly say it is the best decision I have ever made.

Every day I get to come into the classroom and I get greeted with warm hugs and regaled with stories about swimming lessons and play dates. I get the opportunity to experience the joy my children feel when learning how to pour their own cup of water, sing a new song or read for the first time.  As a parent, my experience as a Teacher makes me feel better about my child being in school all day because the way I feel about the kids in my classroom is second only to how I feel about my own child. And I know the other Teachers at PVMA feel the same about the kids in their class. I love each and every one of the kids in my class through their happy times and tantrums. Through their twos, threes, fours and fives. I find myself reading books in my spare time about how to better myself and my classroom for them and I even find myself missing work during a week off because I haven’t seen them. As a teacher, these kids make me love my job. As a parent, it helps me understand the love that my child’s Teachers have for my son. And how amazing is it that our children have so many people in their lives that love them that much?

So as 2017 comes to a close, I reflect on how lucky I am to have made this ginormous life change. How lucky I am that you choose to share your amazing children with me each day, and how lucky I am to have the title, Teacher. As I say goodbye to an amazing, turbulent, crazy and beautiful year, I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for me, what lessons I will experience with my students and what your children plan to teach me.

Happy New Year!

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