Thanks for inviting me to write to you about our family's experience having Antonia complete the LifeWays cycle from infancy to young childhood.
Firstly, I am grateful for the consistent, loving homelike environment LifeWays gave to Antonia. LifeWays caregivers were Antonia's second-mothers. She often called me "Miss Jaimmie" and her teacher "Mama." This made me know how well loved she was, and that she perceived LifeWays as a safe and happy home.
As Antonia grew from the suite baby to a big girl helper, I saw her complete her first journey through stages of maturity. She gently and gradually gave up her babyish ways, replacing old behaviors with new ones. There were no startling jolts so often imposed on children going from one year of schooling to the next.
At LifeWays, Antonia learned to get along with other children in a confident, positive and constructive way. She had gone from one who received the lion's share of attention as an infant, to one who gave her attention to caring for little ones around her. One who shared her toys, who cleaned up willingly, who worked out conflict and who gladly obeyed the rules and routines of LifeWays.
And, when the time was right, she was ready to give up the comforting routines of LifeWays and take on the exciting new challenge of five-year-old kindergarten. When Antonia entered public school kindergarten, her behavior stood out from her peers. Her teacher often remarked that Antonia was a joy to have in the classroom.
I credit the media-free environment, storytelling and structured routines of LifeWays for giving Antonia such a good foundation for kindergarten. When she got to school, Antonia knew that listening to grown-ups was a good thing for her to do. She was good at paying attention to the natural human pace of the teacher, rather than being accustomed to the faster pace of electronic media.
Antonia's academic progress has remained very good. She recently received her first formal assessment as a first grader. Her highest mark was in "working cooperatively in groups." LifeWays taught her to value her peers and teachers, and to have confidence in dealing with others. I feel these lessons will be with her for a lifetime.