Unpaid Enthusiastic Endorsement

As a mom of three kids, I've done a lot of the activities available for the 5 and under set.  Some of them I have enjoyed more than others.  There is one that stands out above them all, one that is worth the cost--Nurturing Pathways.

I first learned about Nurturing Pathways when I was leading a PEPs group a few years ago. Impressed by the presentation at a meeting, I enrolled Eileen.  It ended up being a wonderful experience for the both of us.  It is not just another mommy and me class.  Every activity is intentional, the rational explained, and works to not only improve a child's gross motor and cognitive development, but increase the bond between child and caregiver.  It also helps that the music is significantly better.  The way class is set up, you are never just standing back and chatting with the other parents.  There is never an opportunity to check your phone.  I like that Christine, teacher and founder, gently shows you how to be a better, more engaged parent instead of just telling you.  Christine also offers parent seminars on a variety of topics throughout the year.  I attended one and it definitely gave me some new insights on a certain stubborn, sometimes infuriating, oldest child.

I don't normally write such glowing reviews, but I was prompted today by a transformative morning with baby bird.  It's no secret at this point that Robin is delayed.  I had been nervous to enroll him in Nurturing Pathways with his age group because he was so far behind.  I finally did for winter quarter.  I'm glad I'm not a first time parent and that I had been through the class before with Eileen.  Robin was overwhelmed, he cried, he couldn't do anything that all the other babies could do.  I could easily see myself feeling self-conscious and withdrawing Robin.  Knowing what the end goals were and being confident in myself as Robin's mom, we persevered.

In a few short weeks Robin has come so far.  Even his occupational therapist was stunned this week by the progress he has made.  Robin is slowly catching up to his peers.  I give a lot of the credit to Nurturing Pathways (and his therapist too).  It has dramatically improved his gross motor abilities.  More surprising is how it seems to have also increased his communication skills. 

Class today was magical, simply magical.  Robin smiled the whole way through.  His favorite part of class is when we use nursery rhymes to do actions that promote different connections in the brain.  He was able to follow directions to a degree and anticipate the next move.  It was the first time he had fully participated.  As the class progressed, he continued to follow directions as well as challenge himself.  He even crawled through a tunnel for the first time ever.  There were no tears.  I was so proud of him and I could tell that Robin was proud of himself. 

Today I saw a glimmer of the potential that Robin holds despite all the set backs.  It's been hard to see him struggle and not be able to enjoy play like other little boys his age.  Through Nurturing Pathways,  all sorts of doors have been unlocked.  Robin, a baby of very few words, actually said "bye" and waved as it was time to leave.  As we drove away, I actually cried tears of joy.  Watching Robin participate in class and seeing the pure happiness exude that little body was almost too much for me to process. 

I am so grateful that a class like this exists and that I have the opportunity to attend it with Robin.  Eileen gets jealous that she is now too old for the class.  Nurturing Pathways may not be for everyone,  but it has made a huge impact on our family.

Charlotte Dimock

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