It is my great honour to introduce our latest "local supplier" - Grandad Jack!
Me (Jessica), Grandad Jack, Uncle Nigel & Uncle Andy
Jack is my grandfather and, at 89 years young, is still far from slowing down. As a "retired" tailor he has always been kept busy by the hemming and mending requests of the family. We are exceptionally grateful that Grandad Jack has eagerly accepted our invitation to add a few extra sewing jobs to his list. He will now be hand-crafting our new floor mats (modelled on the version that he sewed for my Jescott Montessori classroom many years ago!) and altering our tea towels to the ideal size for little hands.
When he is not busy at his sewing bench my Grandad Jack will continue to spend hours with my Nanna Dorothy in the high-dependency unit of her aged care facility. Nanna is in the late stages of Alzheimers disease and although many of her needs are now tended to by professionals my Grandad provides something absolutely irreplaceable - love! After more than 60 years of marriage they still indulge in daily hand-holding and kisses. I love to watch my Nanna's smile light up when Grandad is close. So much has been eroded from her memory but it seems that it must be her heart, not her brain, that holds onto her feelings for her husband.
In recent years many aged care facilities have started to recognise that some of the Montessori principles and activities can be effectively implemented for individuals suffering from Alzheimers. I know that my Montessori experience certainly helps me when I interact with my Nanna, as I am well-equipped to "help her to do it herself" rather than taking over for her and I feel comfortable with breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps to build towards success. Above all else, I feel that my life as a Montessori educator has primed me to act with respect, empathy and support towards all of those who might be struggling to acquire or express what most find easy.
My Nanna and Grandad have both been extremely influential in my life and it means a lot to me to be able to include Grandad in our venture of sharing Montessori resources with families. Nanna may no longer be able to contribute so tangibly but through her positive impact on my upbringing I am able to involve her spirit and ethos not only in Montessori Child but in each moment of my life!