I was thinking the other day as I picked up My Favorite Boy from school, how special this time in kindergarten is. I don't really think about it too much, except perhaps when moms I know whose kids are now "grade one-ers" talk about how much they miss it. It is special: the little fenced off yard, just for them; the days of learning and nurturing and security. Perhaps because I'm having one of those weeks, and feel a need for a bit of nurturing myself, I thought that a return to kindergarten for a short time would be very nice indeed.
Imagine if every year or so you had to take a "Kindergarten Sabbatical". For a whole month you were to show up at 8:35 a.m. and enter the little fenced play yard. After 20 or so minutes of playing in the fresh air - nothing structured, just running around really - you enter your workspace. The first thing you are greeted with is a smiling face by someone who is genuinely glad to see you, and an orderly start to your day. Everyone has their own little cubby for wet winter boots and snowpants and jackets. Your cubby is marked with your own name and no one else is allowed to use it.
You sit on the carpet by the teacher's chair and start your day with a song. Actually two; the first being the national anthem (which some people really need a refresher course in!) and another about friendship or plants or teddy bears.
Throughout the day you visit various centers which might include puzzles or playdough or lego or kitchen; or my favorite: crafts!
As a child your imagination is limitless. There are no end to the possibilities of what you can do with empty yogurt containers and toilet paper tubes. Somewhere along the line we squash some or all of that creativitiy, yet there is a need to create in all of us. When was the last time you made a straw necklace, ant trap (top right) or jack-hammer from tubes and boxes? When was the last time you just played? Or painted without saying you can't paint?
Do you remember the smell of chalky tempera paint? Like wax crayons it's a smell that usually brings back happy memories. Combine it with the paint-crusted smock (donated by someone's dad) and you are ready to let loose with those colors.
There's work to be done in kindergarten too. There are math problems involving cut-outs of animals or hearts, but it's usually accompanied by cutting and pasting. There are numbers and letters to practice. There are quite a few of us who could use a little practice in our penmanship!
Once a week you are taken in a line to the library. Imagine going to the library every week! I'm a big lover of the public library, but even I don't get there once a week.
I think all this sounds wonderful, but I haven't even mentioned snack and lunch, where you have to put your work away and sit with your classmates and eat. Someone always does something funny, and once in while someone snorts milk or juice out of their nose. Then comes recess for more fresh air and unstructured play.
Can you imagine how much this kind of routine would refresh and invigorate you? A month of shucking off responsibilies for 6 hours so you can play and make stuff? Personel problems are usually sorted out by telling the teacher of any infraction, and after an "I'm sorry" you get back to what you were doing. Usually with the person who wronged you in the first place, but it doesn't matter now because that was in the past and you have gotten over it.
I think going back to kindergarten would be better than any of those management seminars or other courses they send you on to make you a better employee/manager/boss. Maybe you need to be a better person before you can be a better employee/manager/boss. Starting and ending your day with a song is a sure start I think :)
Growing up has it's perks, but there are just some days when you could really use someone else to open your applesauce or zip up your coat.
I wish you all Kindergarten Days.