This has been a year of tremendous suffering and staggering loss. This year is overwhelming and heartbreaking and painful. But this year has also brought out the best in so many people.

There are so many people to thank, foremost being the healthcare workers giving all they’ve got to care for our loved ones. They truly are on the front lines of this war, and we are grateful for everything they’re doing.

But there also those who are a step removed from the frontline, who are nonetheless doing essential work despite the ever-increasing challenges: our teachers.

Teachers this year are faced with the task of educating and nurturing our children in a constantly changing environment, alternating between inherently difficult virtual instruction and in-person teaching that looks nothing like it did in years past. And they are stepping up and doing it as ingeniously as only teachers can.

I would like to extend my personal thanks to Cúilín Sheridan of Montessori Schoolhouse of Cheshire County, who has been my daughter’s virtual preschool teacher this year. Ms. Sheridan has logged on to Zoom twice a day, four days a week, every week since August. She has led the kids in songs, taught lessons about astronauts, read dozens of stories and explained how to use a measuring tape. She listens attentively as my 4-year-old shares stories about her toys and how she spends her days. She spends hours preparing tracing worksheets and matching games and other engaging materials that my daughter can use in between her half-hour school sessions to work on her literacy and math skills. And best of all, she has provided badly needed routine and structure for my daughter, in a year that has felt otherwise out-of-control.

For all that, I say thank you, Ms. Sheridan. You and others like you are heroes to the children you teach and to their parents.

Making the decision to keep my daughter home from preschool this year was difficult. But I am so thankful to Montessori Schoolhouse of Cheshire County for offering a virtual program, knowing that it is just what some families need during this difficult time.

If you want more information about the school’s virtual program for children ages 3-6, visit www.mshocc.org or call 603-352-3301.

NOUR HABIB

821 Court St.

Keene