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Opening Doors for Children & Families

The Present of Presence

Here's a tid bit of information about me, outside of working at ABC Head Start I am also a Yoga Teacher. Last night I rolled my mat out to do my regular home practice. I usually start my practice by lying down on my mat in a process we Yogi's and Yogini's call centering. Basically focusing our minds on the practice that lies ahead. Well I felt particularly tired and thought I would fall asleep if I laid down. I decided to center sitting instead.

So there I was on the middle of my mat, sitting in a cross-legged pose, eyes closed. I settled in to the pose and started to bring my attention to my breath. I immediately felt this eery feeling that someone was watching me. I tried to put the feeling out of my mind. I inhaled deeply, I smelled dog. I thought, 'Eew I hope my house doesn't smell like DOG!' I inhaled again, wow it really smells like dog. I open my eyes, nose to nose with my dog Cash.

"Whoa!" He startled me! "What are you doing you? Go lay down," I said to him. He walked away. I closed my eyes, settled back into the pose. I'm breathing, my mind's becoming clearer, more focused on the present moment. I then feel something wet on my leg. I am trying hard to focus but finally have to look. Cash has brought me his tattered old bed he likes to carry around in his mouth.

"OK," I say out loud. And think he never bothers me when I lay down on my mat. So I slide down my mat and start to lean back and instantly I shoot up. I felt something behind me. I look back to find my other dog, Maisy, fast asleep on my mat.

Needless to say I did not get a yoga practice in that night. Instead I read my dogs cues, curled up on my mat with both dogs and cuddled. I know I've been busy lately, I know they haven't had the attention they so crave. Maybe I missed my practice that night which felt really important, but maybe being present to their needs was what I needed to do.

Preschool children have a way of doing this to me to. I stop by one of the ABC Head Start sites and think I can only stay for a couple of minutes, there's administrative tasks waiting. But then I get a tug on the leg or a "Miss Christi will you play with me?" How do you say no to that?

The staff at ABC Head Start have this beautiful way of giving every single child that attention they need to make them feel special. They recognize each childs strengths, likes and where they can provide some challenge for the child. I love watching even a simple smile and thumbs up from the teacher create a glow on the child's face. You spend only a few minutes in an ABC Head Start classroom and realize that every child feels valued, safe, loved and special. They are present with the children, engaged in the time they are spending with them. And isn't that what every child deserves? Isn't that what every being deserves?

ABC Head Start Society is a registered charity which has been committed to promoting and supporting strong children, families, and communities in Edmonton for over 30 years. We know that by giving children the best possible early learning and development opportunities in life, we ensure the future well-being and prosperity of our families and communities.