Sunday, September 27, 2009

Open House ECD

Sunday, was Open House at Nathan's new school. It seems we couldn't have found a better teacher for our little music man. She sings with the kids everyday, he literally comes home with new songs daily! Not only does she read to them, she tells them stories and often the singing and stories are accompanied by complimentary food, for example, they tried porridge to go along with Goldilocks' saga last week and coconut cream pie in honor of my favorite song thus far.

The kids alternate "jobs" in the classroom, as in life, some are more sought after than others. So far Nathan has been 'chair pusher inner', which I am told is very boring; 'snack helper', though it sounds good, turns out your services are only needed in the event the snack table runs out; the big granddaddy of them all so far has been 'bell ringer', where not only do you get to ring the triangle, but you get the illusion of control over your classmates, what's not to love?

When asked if we had specific areas of concern for Nathan, in this last year before kindergarten, we responded that academics were of little worry--that we were more concerned that he find his way and his voice on the playground and generally with his peers. Ms L told us she was not at all concerned, that he interacted throughout the day through all sorts of experiences. She told me that he clearly makes his needs known and if he wants to join in the circle time conversation, not only does he join, but he often will stand to speak and make an announcement of what he has to say. In fact he did just that during the circle we shared at open house, and that was with plenty of extra adult strangers. (As it were, tomato worms in the garden were eating up the harvest.) So it seems the pendulum may have swung.

Ms L indicated that Nathan was more interested in the Language part of the classroom than Mathematics right now. This did not surprise us as he can not pass a sign on the street, a book cover, a piece of junk mail, or any words in his path without knowing what they say. Further, he questions the etymology. "Mommy, why do they call it 'arrow'? It doesn't have 'air'", and then as if I don't understand, "you know, like the air all around us." Then there was, "Mommy, why do they call it a lie-braree? They don't lie there." Occasionally, I am fortunate and he answers his own questions, in this case, "Ohhh, they call it a lie-bra-ree, cause you read there." Then there's the logic. I was driving yesterday, Shaun in the passenger seat and Nathan asked what the words on the side view mirror said. Shaun told him, you know the ones, "objects in mirror are closer than they appear". Shaun tried to give an explanation suitable to a four year old, it did not suffice, not even close. There is to be no joking or distracting of this child when he wants answers. It is serious business. He truly becomes angry if you put him off. He understood that the words were a warning, but followed up with the usual, "but how does that help?". Only after a thorough explanation of what the side mirrors are used for in driving and then an example of what might happen if one did not heed the warning, did he let it go. Holy cow, it's no wonder I am exhausted by 9am.

As we were leaving Open House, there were many signs to read and explain as I do everyday, but this time he noticed a new one right by the front door. One that he had never inquired about, one that, to my knowledge he has not come in contact with anywhere.
We were walking out the door and Nathan asked, "Mommy, why does that say 'PULL'?" I began to explain it in the best way I knew how, without instilling fear or worry, mentioning that the fire department was going to visit the school next week to teach the kids fire safety, blah, blah, blah. The three of us were walking along and he was listening intently and no doubt forming all sorts of follow up questions, when suddenly I realized, he just read that! He just read that. "Hey, do you know what?" "No, what?" "You just read that sign all by yourself!" To say he was pleased with himself would be a bit of an understatement. He delivered his most excited smile. The kind that push his cheeks up so far that his eyes are mashed into a squint, his hands come together up under his chin where he wrings them like a mad scientist, and there is jumping, yes jumping. It was really quite delightful, a moment I'm glad we all shared. He is on the precipice of his little world getting a whole lot bigger; I hope he doesn't leave me completely in the dust too soon, I'm not quite ready. I must admit though, the words "go look it up" may save my sanity if not my soul.

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