For some time now I have been trying to find the right words to share something with you. I haven’t been able to find the words, despite how many times I’ve started to write. How do I properly describe to you how amazing your children are? How resilient they are? How at ease they have become with our ‘new normal’ at school? How much joy they bring to all of us? How in awe we are of these tiny humans that don’t let something like a measly old pandemic get in their way of learning, having fun, and loving life? How much they inspire us every single day, no matter how exhausting and difficult things get? How much hope we have for their future because they have learned that we can do hard things at such an early age? There is just so much I wanted to tell you, yet my page remained blank.

There have been no words that even come close to adequately describing how I’ve been feeling. No words to truly describe life at CGS these days – no words to give you a glimpse of the life we have the pleasure of living every day. There were no words, that is, until I read a social media post the other day by the remarkable, international award-winning Canadian Soprano, Measha Brueggergosman. Measha was asked to elaborate on her increased creative output during the pandemic and she said that things just kind of organically happened – that the isolation of Covid 19 somehow spurred her on to make and share some of the most beautiful, creative performances of her career. This is how she described her current situation: “This is the most exciting time I’ve ever lived through. Once I literally extracted fear from the equation, I could see how miraculous this all is.”

Eureka! These are the words I was looking for and I am sure that Measha, in all of her humanity, will let me borrow them for this message. This truly is the most exciting time I have ever lived through. Since returning to school in the fall, I have been awe-struck by the best that has come out of people, especially our children. It is with excitement that I look forward to what is next and how these children will approach life over the next few months and indeed, after the pandemic is over. My hope is that they will keep the spark they have found, that the resilience and the appreciation they have shown for all the little things (that have very quickly become the big things in their young lives) will stay with them.

Getting to this place of excitement has been a process for me to be sure, but like Measha, I too had to extract the fear from my equation and embrace it for what it is. The challenge of running a school during a pandemic has been the biggest of my career, there is no doubt about that. But getting rid of the fear and accepting the cards we have been dealt in this time, has led me to the ‘miraculous’ that Measha speaks of. Your children have always been your little miracles, just by their very existence, but watching them lead and become role models for the adults in their lives is nothing short of miraculous for me. We are inspired and rejuvenated by their attitudes every single day.

So, as we approach this holiday season, instead of pining for the lost rituals and traditions of our pre-COVID lives, like most of us as adults are doing, why not take a leaf out of our childrens’ book? We are witnessing firsthand that for them every day is special, every day is a celebration. Rituals and traditions can be reinvented, appreciated and enjoyed just as much, if not more, than the old ones. Just ask the children! Not once do the students ask why they can’t sing in school anymore or how in the world they are supposed to perform in an assembly or a concert if they can’t get up on stage and entertain an audience? They just make the best of it, focus on what they can do, and what they do have, and move forward as if this is how life has always been. This certainly sounds like a winning formula to me and I feel truly blessed to be able to witness it in action, right here in our own school.

As we weather this COVID storm, let’s make a pact with ourselves to let the children lead. We have so much to learn from them and I guarantee our lives will feel more settled and happier if we stop waiting for ‘normal’ life to resume and just live and celebrate every day for the gift that it is. Just like the children!

My best,

Marie Bates
Principal & Co-Founder
Children’s Garden School