Today, I was whooshed back in time to my own kindergarten experience – twice.
I was a homeschooling kid. I went to public kindergarten, but only a couple weeks of Grade 1 between that and Grade 9. My memories of kindergarten are few, but seminal. I often wonder which are the moments my students will take with them into adulthood.
Such a funny collection of memories:
- baked pumpkin seeds
- discovering my teacher’s first name was Marilyn
- always feeling just a little inferior to the “morning class” (we were half-day, every day) because they ALWAYS did everything first
- the pocket chart for the centres – I thought it was brilliant
- big thick paintbrushes with which you just couldn’t produce a recognizable image
- the wall between the two classrooms that could fold up and disappear
- the visit from the police officer (his shoes were really shiny)
- the doll centre (where I brought and shared my doll, Jules – pronounced jewliss; I let the boy I liked, Jonathan, play with her, even though, to my view, he put her clothes on wrong)
- my up-do on picture day that made everyone think I’d cut my hair
- dried apricots for snack, kept in my cubbyhole
- the smell of the school bus
- getting Valentines from the whole class
- birthday party invitations, which were the most exciting thing possible
- the pussywillow craft where we used our thumbprints for the buds (and had to admit the finished product looked quite convincing)
- learning the national anthem and the Lord’s prayer (yep, those were the days)
- that time I confidently told the teacher there were 20 months in the year, even though I knew full well there were 12 – I just said the wrong word starting with tw-. And then that showoff kid, Kyle, got the right answer and I was all, “Frickety dammit, now I look like I’m not as smart as KYLE but I totally am.” (In my head.) (Okay, I had not yet begun to employ the phrase frickety dammit. I had zero potty mouth, so Oh shoot is probably more accurate. That one I did know.)
- And finally, rhymes and songs galore. Besides the anthem, we did songs about the months, flowers, birds, a roly-poly bear, a little pony, and everything else under the sun. Sometimes, Mrs. K even played the piano while we sang. Today, reading the story A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree to my kindergartners, I remembered this little poem:
Do all the birds to the south-land go?
Ohh no, ohh no!
Chickadee, cardinal, blue jay, crow
Care not a bit when the cold winds blow.
And finally, every kid’s favourite Christmas song. At our house we listened to – and sang – only traditional carols, but at kindergarten… I had access to Rudolph. I have a very clear memory of hunkering down with my bus-friend in our gigantic bus-seat, and singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer together, MANY times.
Today, we had a Christmas singalong in the gym. My kindergartners didn’t know very many words for most of the songs, but Rudolph they belted out like pros. I don’t know why it’s the best one – it just is.