Never a dull moment with kindergarteners
May 30, 2007
School is almost over for most grade schools, and I shall miss it. Not every minute, mind you—I'm as ready for a break as the rest of the staff and students. But I will probably miss the fresh outlook on life that kindergarteners have.
There's no such thing as a boring day when you rotate through four kindergarten classrooms daily, plus listen in on the conversations in three lunchroom sessions.
The incident that's at the forefront of my mind this morning—the last school day before the Memorial Day weekend—is the one which happened a couple of days ago during "carpet time" in my first classroom of the day. The teacher was introducing the upcoming holiday. Initially, she helped them hear that "memorial" sounds a lot like re-membering. She then asked if anyone had special plans for the four-day weekend. After several reports of picnic plans or going Up Norf, and excitement over upcoming trips to Grandma's, etc., the teacher asked if anyone knew about a parade that would be happening. "Sometimes bands march in the parade," she said, priming them. "Does anyone know who else marches in the parade which happens on Memorial Day?"
"Who do we remember on that day?" she pressed.
At least half of the hands went up—down some from the 100% which usually go up when she asks a question. She chose someone. "Santa Claus," he said, though in all fairness he said it with a question mark behind it.
"No, it isn't Santa,'' she said without any hint of a smile.
By now only a couple of hands went up. "Ronald McDonald?"
"No...it isn't Ronald McDonald either. Any more ideas?"
Having depleted their collective repertoire of parade personalities, they were, for the one moment in the day, silent, and waiting.
"Actually," she mused, as she looked around the little pod of expectant faces, "a couple of you are dressed kind of like them."
As they eyed each other, a little light went on for one of the boys who spotted two camouflage shirts. "Soldiers," he ventured.
"Exactly," the teacher said. "Memorial Day is the day we remember soldiers and other people who have died while they were trying to keep our country safe."
So began a kindergarten-size lesson on civic responsibility and respect for the flag which flies over our country, a lovely little intro to the project they are going to be doing today (Thursday—the last day before the holidays). They are going to be writing little notes on flag paper to be sent to some people in military service.