Monday, November 24, 2014

Pulling the teacher card

My friend, a kindergarten teacher, is on leave from teaching to be at home with her 3-turning-4 year old and 1 year old. I have a B.Ed and maintain OCT certification, but did not teach in the classroom. (I tutored but not in a school). It does mean that we have a different perspective as our children have started junior kindergarten in the public school system. We view this transition as teachers as well as parents.

She is experiencing some differences of opinion with the teacher at her son's school, and isn't sure whether to reveal that she's a teacher. For now, she hasn't felt the need, not to pull rank, but to assert a certain level of authority to validate her views. If she isn't heard as a parent, she can perhaps make the point that she has recent relevant experience, as it were, and address the other teacher as a colleague, from the same side of the school fence...

For my part, I think I also might wait until there is a purpose and good reason for which to disclose that I too, have teaching qualifications. On the school trip, I think I was moved to be somewhat more directive towards the kids, even those not in my group, reinforcing what the teachers were saying, but also to engage with them more, and get to know them, recognizing them as the interesting individuals that they are, at 3-5 years old. It seemed to me that the other parent volunteers hung back, content to gather their groups around them like extended family on an outing.

I think we are also aware of how much is going on in the classroom that we aren't seeing, so we take the opportunities we have to infer and to observe. We learn who our child's peers are, we are attuned to what they are learning, we consult the classroom website, we participate in or take positions on the parent council, we elicit feedback from our children on what the teachers say on a daily basis. We read all the paperwork carefully, and send carefully-crafted notes back. We read the curriculum standards and note what new things the children are able to do.

I am going to be taken up on my offer to volunteer in the classroom on occasion. I'm looking forward to contributing and also observing, this path not be continued!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Not friends any more

Tyler, who had for the past few days had been telling me his favorite was T, that they both liked dinosurs, told me this week that they are no longer friends...

He says T told him "friends don't last forever," and that T's mom told him it's good to make new friends all the time, so you can be happier. It seems Tyler and his (former?) friend thought it was indeed a good idea to take a break and branch out. T is playing with another boy, C these days, and Tyler is back to being friends with an SK girl, P.

I said this thing about "friends don't last forever" was sad, but Tyler said earnestly that it didn't make him sad.

It seems I am projecting on him, and wishing for deeper attachments to these schoolyard and classroom interactions.

It is likely very healthy for all the kids to have flexible attachments and mix up in various groups. It's good to learn to get along with everyone.

Today he says he made a new friend, C, and made friends with a girl whose name he didn't know. They are from the other class, but they share the same play area.

So, again, the lesson is to not worry too much. He has lots of friends, in different contexts. He is friendly with other kids he meets for the first time or sees in passing. He is a happy-go-lucky kid and is likeable.

I just need to get over the "friends don't last forever" line. I couldn't help it. I told him family lasts forever...

Monday, November 10, 2014

Secret lives of preschoolers

My 2.5 year old daughter is most content, when playing on her own, to enact and narrate scenes with various Duplo people, Lego minifigures, Playmobil figures, Little People, and their various envrionments: a plane, a jungle scene, a cavalry of horses, a pirate ship. She chatters incessantly while I surf on my Nexus 5, both of us absorbed and not needing the other, but sitting back to back, sometimes literally within the same breathing space.

I look up, and she has a few of them seated in a circle around a makeshift feast, or lined up for some ceremonial task, or neatly seated in the plane, waiting for takeoff or having landed, for the seat-belt sign to blink off?

She is the master of their fate. I catch words here and there, but she knows exactly what she's saying, and content to let it play out.

She has taken to carrying a few of these little figures around with her the way other kids carry a "stuffy" around, or the way her brother used to carry Hot Wheels cars around, and then tow trucks, and now dinosaurs.

This is play, said to be rehearsal for real life, and yet, it IS her life, right now.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


I think the Halloween rain drizzle may have turned into overnight snow. Haven't looked out the window yet.

We have rain boots, snow boots, snow bibs, winter coats, hats, mittens.

Tyler has been asking to build a snowman, in the complete absence of snow...