Thursday, November 29, 2012

Monsters: My morning at kindergarten

Every Thursday morning I spend an hour or two in Alyce's kindergarten class. It is a split junior and senior mix, so the age range of this zoo classroom is three to almost six. Alyce falls into the almost-five category, as she reminds me constantly in the week leading up to her birthday next week. I volunteer in class for a few reasons: I'm nosy, I'm curious, and I'm a sucker for kindergarteners. There is one little boy who is so completely delicious that I want to wrap him up, put in my pocket, and take him home with me. (I didn't in case you were concerned.) There is also a sweet-as-pie little girl who almost knocks me over each Thursday morning to ask if she can read to me. Every week it is the same boring book about a train, but I'll take the boredom for the grin she gives me in return. Alyce is in a large class, twenty-nine monsters in total, but the teacher and assistant do what they can. They rely on parents for an extra hand, which is where I come in. It gives the kids another adult to pester with stories. No word of lie, one little one interrupted the teacher this morning with a story that went on for five minutes. He got lost in the twists and turns of his own plot and everyone in the room was glancing at their watch. We'll all cut him some slack, though, because the poor guy is only three.

Most of the kids don't like bananas. I know this because their first job of the morning, after hanging up coats and stuffing lunch bags into cubbies, is to write their name on the daily survey. Last week the question was "Do you have a sister? Yes or no." They all take turns with the marker and painstakingly print their names in the appropriate column. Today the question was "Do you like bananas? Yes or no." Like I said, most kids fell on the "no" side of this debate. I do like bananas, so this morning I sneaked my name on the "Yes" side, right next to Max's. Next the kids are instructed to find the appropriately aged book and sit down for some reading. This totally happens. Well, some of them try. One little one wanders around the whole time begging Alyce to sit next to her and rarely actually sits down with her book. I don't know what happens most days when I'm not there, but on Thursdays Alyce wants to sit with me, resulting in the other one threatening to un-invite Alyce from her sleepover (which I'm pretty sure is an imaginary sleepover, since all of these kids are too young and loony for a sleepover). A few other children spend reading time telling each other very loud stories about what happened on the way to school. About ten kids each week bring me very long books about dinosaurs to read to them. (Another dinosaur book! Again! Ok, fine.) And then that sweet-as-pie little girl asks me again if she can read that story about that bloody train. But how can I turn down that pile of sweetness in pink corduroy pants? I just can't. Can you?

The rest of the morning follows the same lines, with the teacher giving instructions on a variety of projects. Today it was drawing pictures about the last time they went to the doctor. I thought Alyce would illustrate a scene from a few days ago when she went completely over the edge screaming about a flu shot, but she went for a generic (though, lovely) smiling Alyce next to a figure in a white coat. There wasn't a scream, tear, or terror on her page. The teacher gives instructions, the kids set off running, and the rest of the time is spent on damage control. I like to keep close to the sweet little boys in the corner who try so very hard to sound out the sentence "I went to the doctor because I was sick" with their thinking tongues poking out the side of their mouths. In the end it looks more like this: "IWntTDrirCSk."I was so proud.

At snack time it's my time to escape. Alyce has usually enjoyed my time there, showing off that her mama is in the classroom, snoodling in my lap when the teacher reads them a story. Today I threw her off by bringing my own snack, pulling up a chair, and eating with a table of four year olds. I like to shake things up in kindergarten, I'm telling you. Until next week.

P.S. I forgot to tell you one thing: watching and listening to twenty-nine three to six year olds yell the Canadian national anthem is up with my ten favourite sounds. If you can only give up a few minutes of your week, I suggest you show up in Room Two around ten o'clock in the morning, just before the birthday announcements. They won't let you down.

1 comment:

  1. I would love...LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear a classroom of twenty-nine three to six year olds yell the Canadian national anthem.

    Is it shocking that I haven't taught my kids it? I really should.