Friday, 3 July 2009

"Excuse Me...Teacher...?!"

This morning I helped out in Eggie's reception class of 30 adorable four and five year olds.  Egg and I spent the first hour flashing huge grins and winks across the room at each other as he sat in a big circle near the teacher and I perched on a tiny chair at the back of the room (is it wrong to be secretly pleased that I fit rather comfortably on it...after all these years?!)

At craft time the children were making little day of the week books, and unfortunately I totally buggered up one child's project by starting with 'Monday' instead of 'Sunday' (whoops).  At Egg's table I must confess that I found it difficult to keep my artistic opinions to myself.  The children were using lots of browns and blacks and grey to colour in their pictures of butterflies and I was constantly trying to thrust aqua and yellow, purples and silvers on them.  They didn't listen.

However this did inadvertently lead to a rather interesting discussion about whether pink is a girl's or boy's colour, and suddenly I understood why little Egg for some time now has declared that pink is no longer his favourite colour - in fact he absolutely loathes it now!  Ah, the terrible peer pressure issue has at last reared it's ugly head and likely won't let go until well into middle age - if even then.  

I brought up the fact that artists have to use all colours to make beautiful creations, and that artists are both boys and girls.  They didn't know what to say to that, so I further explained that boys don't actually have to wear pink clothes but they could still like the colour pink.  The little girl to my left piped up, 'But my Daddy wears lots of pink shirts!"  Ummm.

Unsurprisingly, I got myself into a bit of a jam during outdoor play when I was asked to supervise the building of a big puzzle structure.  Painstakingly slow attempts to coax the children into fitting the giant pieces together themselves led to me shortly taking over the bulk of the project on my own, grunting like a mad woman and barking for new pieces from the children.  I ended up with a most bizarre and skinny, tall structure - not unlike a giant cd case.

The children all wanted to climb inside, and so for reasons still unclear to myself I suggested an impromptu role play game of 'policeman and criminals'.  Several minutes later I heard the teacher clear her throat in abject concern as she took in the scene before her.  

The 'criminals' were badly misbehaving to get into the 'jail' and the 'policemen' were being rather rough with their charges.  Two children had decided to try and escape by climbing out of the top of the structure (well that's what criminals do I guess...I hadn't thought through that angle) and it was just at this moment that the teacher and I realised that not only were the children involved in a socially questionable game, but that the structure was about to collapse! Potentially serious injury appeared to be imminent to both the children falling from a great height and the other unfortunates trapped inside below.  Ooooops.

The teacher and I silently spent the next several minutes dismantling the hazardous and uninspiring structure, while the children stood around solemnly, wondering why their play time had been so suddenly curtailed.  

As I left at lunch the little ones came up and gave me hugs, asking if I'd come back another time. I can't imagine I'll be top of the list for volunteers after today, but I wouldn't be surprised if suddenly there is a sudden burst of children requesting play dates at Jake's house.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh you've put me right off volunteering when Small Child starts her foundation year this September! I just know I'd get into similar scrapes! And funny you mention the pink versus blue thing... she constantly now spouts to everyone that its OK for boys to like pink and girls to like blue after I said it once... about a gazillion years ago! They have memories like elephants don't they?


Let me know what you think!