The recent government announcements on childcare policy have caused a storm of controversy – filling the airwaves, spawning petitions and conversations – and rightly so. We are a democratic society and policy concerns us all. It will affect the children of this nation for years to come.
At the same time we dare not take our eyes off the individual children our lives touch. Each is a miracle in their own right – and each encounter with a child leaves an impression on them. A few days ago I was waiting at Paddington station for Barbara Issacs from Montessori Centre International. A family cut across the stream of grey, purposeful commuters. Their small child – wearing a red dress – danced her happy way, careful not to step on any cracks (so as not to break her mother’s back). Weaving around, she got in the way of several people, none of whom smiled.
Ten minutes later over a cup of tea, I asked Barbara what concerns her most. Her response was unhesitating: “Who will speak for the child in the next generation?” The answer lies with each of us, individually. For the child today – and the child’s child tomorrow – we have work to do involving hand, heart and mind.