Last night I went to the parents' open house to meet Lucy's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Blubbers/Blevins. I seriously do not remember kindergarten being nearly as fun as it's all set to be for Luce. The whole room was set up like a rainforest, complete with a tiki hut in one corner.
Each parent found their child's place and sat in one of the teeny tiny chairs. From my early impressions, Mrs. Blevins is enthusiastic, funny, creative, and fast-paced. She seems a perfect fit for Lucy. Earlier this month, a friend of mine was asking Lucy all about going to kindergarten. Lucy was excitedly telling her about Mrs. Blevins and how she'd wanted her for ages to be her teacher. My friend asked, "What was it about her that made you want her to be your teacher?" Lucy answered (without skipping a beat), "She has GREAT hair." So in addition to those qualities I listed above, yes indeed, Mrs. Blevins also has great hair.
One of the things I'm most excited about for this year will be the focus on science. Neither Darren nor I are that into science, so Lucy hasn't been exposed to it much. In kindergarten they'll be observing a caterpillar turn into a butterfly first thing, then they'll be conducting various experiments. In fact, each of them will get to be the star scientist for the week, do an experiment at home, then bring it in and demonstrate to the rest of the class.
We also met Bananas, the class monkey, who will get the chance to spend the week with each child. He brings his journal with him, then the student writes down all his or her experiences with Bananas and shares them with the class. Mrs. Blevins also showed us a new technique she's been using since last year that has really skyrocketed the kids' success in writing. We also got to see what the reading program would be for the year and learned that the children would be doing a play of Eric Carle's "The Lonely Firefly" in September.
It was the discipline system that really got me though. In one part of the room there is a large paper tree. On the tree are many colorful parrots, one for each child with his or her name on it. After their first warning about behavior, the child has to pull their parrot off the tree and put it in a basket. Then they lose 5 minutes of recess. The second time, parrot comes off and 10 minutes of recess is lost. Third time your parrot gets pulled, a call home; fourth time a trip to the principal's office. Mrs. Blevins assured us that had never happened with any of her students. Then she said the line of the night, "Of course, I'm sure all your children are perfect and always listen and always obey. Sometimes though...you just have to pull your parrot." Somehow we'll be working that phrase into our family lexicon.
All in all, the whole setup just seemed an ideal place for Lucy to learn and bloom and grow. I can't wait to see everything she's going to do.
After her presentation, we each had to fill out a learning style questionnaire. Please forgive me for a moment. But I've just got to get this out. One parent asked, "Should we fill out our learning style or our child's?" It reminded me of a story my friend Julie told me when she was teaching. She was taking her kids on a field trip to Moccasin Lake. One parent asked, "Is Moccasin Lake a lake?" After receiving an affirmative answer she asked, "Do you think there will be bugs there?" Track with me, people, track with me.
OK, I've dealt with that.
Anyway, as I was leaving, Mrs. Blevins collected my paper and saw I was holding Lucy's folder. She beamed and said, "Lucy's mom! I'm so excited Lucy is going to be in my class! I just can't wait!" I told her the feeling was mutual, and she asked, "Does she know how to say my name yet?" Just wait until I tell her why Lucy likes her so much.
By the time I got home, I discovered that, by some amazing turn of events, Darren actually had obtained a sample from Elaine in one of the sterile plastic cups. We will now be referring to him as Annie Sullivan.
I'm still spending today however in a frustrating loop of doctor phone calls and trying to figure out where to take the sample so that I don't have to make the 3-hour round trip drive back to the pediatrician's office if we could just use a lab that is local. It's 2:00 p.m., and I still don't know what I'm doing, and I've got a 2-year-old in excruciating pain.
I think it's time to pull somebody's parrot.