What did you do today, honey?
Greta, at not quite six, is not a narrative–or linear–enough thinker to respond as an adult would to the usual end-of-the-day query “what did you do today?” She might tell us about a particular game at preschool or, more likely, dig up a real or imagined slight that she can brood and whine about for a while, lamenting her lot in life and the general unfairness of it all. We’ve met with her kindergarten teacher a time or two, and each time have been impressed with the kindness as well as the pedagogy that seems to rule in her classroom.
But, since kindergarten is “work” oriented (even kindergarteners take standardized tests these days), it seems Greta has had less opportunity to bond with her kindergarten classmates in the way that she has with the kids she plays with at preschool in the afternoon. Thus, we don’t hear too much about individual kids in her kindergarten class, either. We are left with a general impression that Greta is learning a great deal (she reads!) and that she enjoys the things about kindergarten that are different from home or preschool: PE, art, music, and recess are her declared favorites.
Today Dale’s colleague Marjorie brought over a kid’s school desk: laminate seat and back, painted white with large decopaged neon flowers on it, with a chalkboard writing surface. We told Greta that this could be her special homework desk, where she finishes the worksheets that Mrs. Jennings sends home. She and her sister were both thrilled and immediately began chalking on the writing surface. I then helped them set it up in the play room, whereupon Greta arranged an entire classroom of stuffed animals and dolls and proceeded to “teach” them things.
Little glimpses of her day that I never could have otherwise heard or see: “ok kids, look at this mess. The afternoon class is going to be here soon and we don’t want to leave them a mess. That would make them unhappy.” “Back row kids, sit still. Other children are going to sit in front of you for story time. Kids in front, sit criss-cross-applesauce for me.”
Greta wasn’t sure whether to include Ingrid as the student teacher or have her sit with the “kids.” Today, Ingrid got to student teach (= scribble on the chalkboard) but she has no idea, poor little thing, of the pedagogical onslaught coming her way.