I went to Miss Levine's kindergarten class today. Can you feel the smile on my face? It's about to break my cheekbones.
I've known four of her classes. They have all been filled with love and joy and wonder. Some were more well-behaved than others. Some were quieter and some noisier and some just couldn't settle down. The current crop is simply amazing.
I was there for Writing Centers. Divided into groups of four, the students spend fifteen minutes on the computer, on the iPads, with their journals, or reading aloud with the teacher or the reading specialist. The timer dings, and they move seamlessly between clusters of desks. There's no pushing or carousing; there is work to be done and they are there to do it.
These are five and six year olds, many of who have English as a second language, and some, barely that. Few have English speaking home lives. Some began the year with no English at all. Yet, today, I they read me stories they had written, with words covering the front and back of their papers. No one, it seemed, had heard of writer's block.
Their sentences had capital letters at the start and proper punctuation at the end. Some asked questions as part of their narratives, others repeated the same phrases, changing the characters as they went along. Some could not remember what word the combination of letters they had written were supposed to convey, and the many different spellings of outer space made me cover more than one grin. I had to keep reminding myself that this was kindergarten.
I brought a book of 346 stickers, and I decorated the students as they came to the station at which I had parked. They were awarded randomly, for achievement and for smiles and just because. they went on cheeks and sweatshirts and the backs of hands. Moustaches resided on upper lips - of the girls - and sharks and anemones floated in pastel glory on the boys' sweatshirts. They chose what they liked, gender free and easy.
We sat on the floor and read the Pirate ABC's, and when Pirate Pete had to Pee the laughter was uproarious. Yes, as Miss Levine reminded us, we all pee every day. Still, it was silly to have it in a book at school, and we couldn't stop giggling. They couldn't get close enough to me, and I couldn't reach my arms around tight enough to hug them all. It was marvelous.
I closed my eyes as they lined up, and we complimented one another and Miss Levine and then they touched the Word of the Day (come) as they whispered it softly to my waiting ear. Then they went to lunch and I drove off, my heart full.
It's impossible to have a bad day when surrounded by young love.