Notes from Preschool

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My beasties (aka the 16 3 year-olds with whom I spend all day, every day) are endlessly interesting and sometimes quite humorous. I thought I'd share some interesting anecdotes, and one more serious issue.

Scene 1:

There are 3 bathroom stalls in our classroom. They have curtains instead of doors, and lines of tape on the floor in front of each one for kids to stand on to wait in line. Some children have a hard time not playing with the curtain while they wait, and this really bothers one little boy.
One day while being pestered by the flying curtain, this little guy (who has a terrible stammer) lets loose with:
"Heeey, Stop FUCKING with me!"

The head teacher and I looked at each other, stopped cold and stared.

(yes, we did talk to him about appropriate language)

Scene 2:

A little girl is chatting with Andrea, one of the preschool English teachers, and is being as cute as she could possibly be. Andrea looks down at her and says: "S, you are sooo cute, I think I'll just put you in my pocket, take you home and you can be my baby." S looked up and said "Well, Andrea, I could go home with you and we could MAKE a baby together!"

(She's so little that it actually came out "wew Andwea....")

Scene 3:

Q, a ridiculously smart little guy in my class, with eyes that are a lighter, more piercing blue than anything I've ever seen, and a control issue that leads to squirreling things away, was discovered hiding push pins. He was apparently working them out of the wall and stashing them somewhere. The head teacher found his stash, and so he promptly moved it, partially to his back pocket. The little weasel made it home with 8 push pins in his pocket. When his mom discovered them, he responded:
"Mommy, I just LOVE needles!"

Q's mom reported the conversation to us the next morning, and ended with "Great, in 20 years he'll be one of those guys in the Tenderloin rolling his head back and going 'mooooom, ahhh just loooove neeeedles.....'"

(for those not from the San Francisco area, the Tenderloin is a neighborhood best known for its drug dealers and users)

Those were the cute/funny ones.

The obnoxious one involves a little girl, Y, her dad, and our Thursday Workshops. They're called "Décloisonnements" in French, but that really doesn't translate. What happens is that the teachers and assistants (8 of us in all) each plan an activity in one of 8 topics, and the kids in the preschool each choose one. They have the opportunity to work with other teachers and meet kids from other classes. I do music (duh), and my current activity is an exploration of Carnival of the Animals (by Saint-Saëns).

Anyway, there's a chart up in the class with little drawings of all of the activities and the date, so that we (and the parents) can keep track of who goes where, and also so that the children can look at the pictures and choose their activity for the week.

Last week, the kids chose their activites on Thursday morning, which meant that some parents were there while the choosing happened (this was not the case previously). One dad looked at the chart, looked at the activities that his daughter had done already and said:
"Science? It's really weird that she would do that. She hasn't shown interest in science before. Here, Y why don't you do music or library this week? You like music so much! Yeah, why don't you do that?"


A, the head teacher and I, didn't say anything at the time. Later, though, we just raised our eyebrows at each other, and vented our frustration that the dad had obviously steered his daughter away from a less "girly" activity, and toward a more acceptable one. Y has never done either of the outdoor choices either.......The funny thing is, though, that my music activity is very large-motor oriented, and involves roaring like a dinosaur (the rowdy boys love it).

We haven't let the beasties choose activities with their parents around anymore, by the way. One of the points is for them to choose things they might not have had access to before.


cc said...

Oh, you're working in the preschool class? Tell J. I said hi (you can also tell her I'm currently writing the first chapters of my PhD, so I'll probably send her an email in a couple of weeks cos I know she was interested in what I was doing...)

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