Living lifelong human care, development, education, learning and service for all.
When I was making Keith’s 2nd birthday party video, I went through so many songs and finally came upon Elton John’s “Your Song”. I cried and cried buckets because this song captured all that was and still is in my heart about how much I wanted to do for Keith, and how much love I feel for him yet also how helpless I had felt in not being able to locate for him a rightful and fully inclusive school, i.e. my heartache was so much that he, as a child, does not even have a school where he is simply just like any other child. That was 3 years ago. He was in special school, and his teachers loved him to bits and were incredible. But I couldn’t help my broken heart – the intense sadness of the segregation and isolation of a child who was only two years old from the rest of society was simply unbearable for me. I didn’t want his whole life ahead of him to be trapped in this labelled box.
Soon after, we found a wonderful mainstream pre-school which accepted Keith with full heart and courage and we took an incredible joint learning journey together. And I was ecstatic for a while. I am eternally grateful to Carolyn Tan and her school, Montessori Children’s House for carrying me through my darkest moments of doubts, as an anxious and demanding parent and as a friend in deep need of comfort and assurance. This year on his 5th birthday, I used this song again to accompany his 5th birthday video, and I realise much of the sadness and tension is creeping back as we are now a year from that crossroad again – where is Keith going to go to Primary 1 where he will be fully included and fully thriving?
So with nothing but a mother’s simple love and hope, I gift this school to Keith, and hope that many parents and educators will also start saying no to this intense heartbreaking segregation and isolation of infants and children in special schools or segregated classrooms in integrated schools, and begin the steps into this journey to build and gift truly fully inclusive schools to all children. And I paraphrase Elton John:
I know it’s not much but it’s the best I can doMy gift is my hope and this one’s for youAnd you can tell everybody this is your SchoolIt may be quite simple but now that it’s doneI hope you don’t mindI hope you don’t mindthat I put down in wordsHow wonderful life is while you’re in the world
by Elton JohnIt’s a little bit funny this feeling insideI’m not one of those who can easily hideI don’t have much money but boy if I didI’d buy a big house where we both could liveIf I was a sculptor, but then again, noOr a man who makes potions in a travelling showI know it’s not much but it’s the best I can doMy gift is my song and this one’s for youAnd you can tell everybody this is your songIt may be quite simple but now that it’s doneI hope you don’t mindI hope you don’t mindthat I put down in wordsHow wonderful life is while you’re in the worldI sat on the roof and kicked off the mossWell a few of the verseswell they’ve got me quite crossBut the sun’s been quite kind while I wrote this songIt’s for people like you that keep it turned onSo excuse me for forgetting but these things I doYou see I’ve forgotten if they’re green or they’re blueAnyway the thing is what I really meanYours are the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen