Friday, September 23, 2011
It all came back to me as I watched one of the little ones in my neighborhood go off to kindergarten. She was excited about her new classroom, teacher, and taking her first school bus ride all by herself. I watched her bounce off the bus in her bright pink dress and matching backpack. Her mom was beaming with pride at her ‘big’ girl. Looking at them brought back all those kindergarten memories.
I remember it was a huge room with a carpeted area for story time. Round tables with wooden chairs just my size. A hook for my coat with my name on it. One corner was filled with building blocks and another with a small stove, refrigerator and sink for playtime. There was a row of easels with fresh, white paper, brushes and colorful cups of paint. Across the room, were huge glass windows that looked out on the playground with a big grass field, swings, slides and merry-go-rounds. I walked into the room on my first day in my new corduroy jumper and white cotton blouse with the Peter Pan collar and my black velveteen saddle shoes. I didn’t cling or cry. The minute I walked in, I felt right at home. My favorite area was the easels. I just loved the smell of those poster paints, the feel of the paint sliding from brush to paper and the bright rainbow colors.
I remember when my daughter and son went to kindergarten, it was wonderful to see them dash into the colorful, fun-filled room excited to learn and explore. And it was a hard to let them go into the new world of school where I couldn’t be there to protect them. My daughter remembers that the room felt friendly, with little cubbies, a bathroom and a blackboard with the alphabet across the top and the song, ‘Number Rock’. It was the first time she was asked to sing in front of anyone other than family and she loved it. My son loved the blocks, lego table and new computer. I remember my son’s bright, apple green, high top shoes and my daughter’s pink and purple dress. They were both so excited and proud. So was I.
I’m still proud of them both, even though they’re out of school and college graduates, now. My daughter is married and my son has made the move away from home into his own apartment. They are intelligent, creative, loving and responsible people. I like to think I had a little to do with that, but I know that many people along the way have helped in many ways. I also know that kindergarten played a big part, for them, for me, maybe for all of us.
There we all learned to listen, share, cooperate and create. We all learned about letters and numbers and shapes. My daughter learned that she was a good singer and now teaches voice and piano. My son learned he was good at computers and uses those skills every day. I learned to love books. I learned to mix colors to create more colors. And as I remember the smell of those thick, gooey poster paints, time slides backwards to that cheerful, fun-filled classroom.
Ah, kindergarten memories, doesn’t it bring out the little kid in all of us?