Like any five-year-old, Charlotte Garside is both excited and apprehensive about starting school. What makes her different from her new classmates is that at just 68cm, she’s approximately half the height of her classmates leading some in the media to call her "the world’s smallest girl".
Charlotte, who is no bigger than a newborn baby and smaller than her favourite teddy, wasn’t expected to live beyond 12 months. She was born with a form of primordial dwarfism so rare there isn’t even a name for her condition.
Now, just like any other child her age, she has started school. The milestone is a proud moment for her parents, Scott Garside and Emma Newman, who want to give Charlotte as normal a life as possible.
"Although Charlotte is a one-in-a-million baby with some health problems, she is not the sort of person who will fade into the background," proud mum Emma told the UK's Daily Mail.
"She may be small but she has a massive personality and wants to do everything a normal five-year-old does."
Charlotte, who now weighs a tiny 4kg, was less than a kilogram when she was born and had to be dressed in dolls’ clothes.
Emma says despite her daughter’s size, she’s a tough little girl.
“Of course, I was worried she could get hurt by the other children, but she has her own tutor look after her and she’s not as fragile as you’d think,” she says.
Due to her condition, Charlotte has health problems including a weakened immune system, and her mental and physical development has been delayed, but Emma says she continues to amaze her.
“There are a lot of unknowns but Charlotte has a way of surprising you when you least expect it. We didn't know if she would live this long,” Emma says.