Friday, June 24, 2011

the beautiful beginnings of summer

It's finally here. It's 11:30 on a Friday morning and I just managed to start a productive day after a long morning of lounging around reading a book for fun. Pure bliss.

The last day went smoothly. We had one girl in tears who ended up getting one of our most boyish boys in tears as well. Other than that everyone was focused on their afternoon pool dates. There was one last game of duck, duck, goose, letters written to next year's kinders, one last morning meeting.

At the end of the day we gave the children a laminated poster we'd made of their kindergarten year. On one side was a picture of the whole class- taken on the day Magical had come to visit. He's sitting in the front and center, king of the class, grinning happily with his hair beginning to grow back in. At the moment the camera clicked Pixie leaped in front of the group like a jack-in-the-box, her arms flung out as if to say "Ta da! We're the best class ever!" Despite the fact at the time we gave her a lecture on ruining the picture her sudden antics made it a classic kindergarten picture and it truly captures the nature of the class.

Under the class picture is a picture of each child with the teachers and on the back is a self-portrait the students did in the beginning of the year and one they did at the end of the year. These are my favorite. One glance at the two pictures captures the year's growth. Pixie's beginning of the year self-portrait is a mix of colors and circles in toddler-style drawing. No discernible hands, body, feet, or legs. Her end of year portrait is clearly a kindergarten drawing of her happy self- all the right body parts are there. The two portraits side by side almost take your breath away with her growth this year. It reminds us of who she was when she came in- she didn't know her colors, her numbers, or the letters, and the closest she got to writing her name was two lines that almost crossed into the correct letter if you squinted your eyes and held the paper at an angle. Now she only confuses 8 and 10, knows quite a few letters, and can certainly write her name. She's a rock star.

The other's pictures are not quite so dramatic, but do indicate a level of developmental growth in their fine motor skills, as well as what they now find important. Many of the boys depicted themselves with hulk-like arm muscles, insinuating that in kindergarten they went from little weaklings to champion weightlifters. In some ways they did- just more mentally than physically.
It was fun to watch their faces as we pointed out the differences in their portraits. "Look at how much you grew!" we'd say and they'd try to hide little smiles, desperately wanting to simply nod solemnly like the first graders they were becoming but bursting with kindergarten pride.

And then the day was over- a rush to the bus, to the cars, to moms and dads waiting to walk home. Tears, hugs, and lots of smiles of a successful year.

I love my job.

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