Thursday, April 1, 2010

rain, rain go away

The day before spring break began we were scheduled to go to the zoo with our kindergarten classes. 8 classes of about 20 kindergartners each, tromping around the zoo.

But we all got up, dressed, and ready to go spend a few hours leading our wet but happy classes around the zoo, pretending to see animals who were too smart to come out and play in the wet weather. So when the trip was postponed we all at first felt a sense of relief- we wouldn't spend the whole day cold and wet- but then came the sense of panic. What on earth were we going to do with an entire day with some very disappointed kindergartners? The classroom teachers were fabulous in pulling things together, watching zoo clips on websites (have you seen the baby panda videos on the San Diego zoo?) and even checking out a Wiki created by 2nd graders at our school.

Most of the kindergartners were sad, but got over it. We'll go in the spring, we explained, in April when it's warm.

Some, however, did not.

Children with special needs have a harder time of rolling with the punches, and being flexible. It doesn't really matter that it's raining outside. We'd said we were going to the zoo- so we needed to go to the zoo.

One of my friends never recovered from this disappointed. He stomped around the classroom angrily, occasionally hiding in the classroom bathroom when an adult attempted to approach him. He sat upside down in his chair for awhile- something we've noticed he does when he's upset. (we're considering teaching him yoga since he tends to go into the positions naturally as a coping strategy). He threw his feelings journal on the floor- refusing to draw about how he felt. He didn't want to calm down- he yelled. He wanted to go to the zoo. He didn't want to go to the zoo in April- he demanded, he wanted to go to the zoo today. We'd said we were going to the zoo today! Why not today?

I felt his pain. Because really, when I got up in the morning I was prepared to go to the zoo too- I was not prepared to sit in the hallway with a disgruntled six year old yelling at me about how he didn't get to go to the zoo. And really, at that moment, the zoo in the rain might have been more fun.

But we survived the day and we all took our disappointed selves home to relax over a much needed spring break.

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