Saturday, November 17, 2007

Charming cupid

Yesterday I once again spent quality time at Patience's elementary school. I've recently been fairly critical about district level decisions that I strongly believe negatively affect children. However, the good thing about spending time in the school with the teachers and children is that I get the chance to see how teachers creatively keep children engaged in learning and challenge them with great new lessons. In short, I get to see teachers succeed despite frequently not being enabled to do so or supported adequately.

The kindergarten teachers are a fantastic group; I don't think, from what I've seen, that a child could get anything less than a really good one. They truly seem to get joy from the children.

In addition to the teachers, the children spend quality time (once a week) with the music teacher, the art teacher and the coaches.

One coach we know from gymnastics, where he taught a couple of Patience's classes. He's a tall young man, and seems patient and kind.

Another coach Patience describes as something of a pinch hitter. She seems very organized and energetic; she seems to like to keep things moving along.

The other coach is truly in it for fun. He always seems very upbeat. He's gregarious and fun. I heard this is his Just Because I Want to job, just because he loves coaching and kids. He's a little older, not that you'd guess that.

Patience's PE isn't the old dodge ball and square dancing torture I recall from elementary school. It's fun and exciting.

The coaches work a fair hand at keeping their PE class fun, interesting and hip. Patience likes PE, which isn't a surprise, but she also likes the dancing they do, which is a surprise to me because I haven't been able to engage her interest in dancing at all. However, these coaches have, and I thank them for that!

Yesterday, at the school, I stood with a gaggle of moms and spied on the PE class. The female coach and the fun coach were leading the children in...the Cupid Shuffle.

Music blaring, a field of about 80 five to six year olds stood in lines shuffling like Cupid. It was fantastic.

Some children struggled with the steps, staring at their feet. They occasionally got a little tangled, but they'd uncross their ankles and keep going. Some children were very precise, doing the steps just so--more interested in ensuring exactness. Their faces were pinched with concentration nearly as intense as the children who struggled. Some children free-formed, spinning and swaying to the music's beat. Some children, including Patience, did the steps, more or less, with a great deal of verve and some originality.

Patience took huge steps to the left...to the left, and now to the right...to the right...and her walk it by yourself included grabbing a friend and pit-style bouncing.

We stood on the side, watching and laughing in pure joy and amusement. I had my camera and snapped away.

Patience spied me and waved, grabbing a a hapless child to her side while shrieking, "My mom! My mom!" She waved madly and lost her place in the dance until the coach bellowed, "To the LEFT, to the LEFT," while whipping her arm in a counter-clockwise circle and exaggeratedly moving to the left. Patience's friend grabbed her arm and dragged her back into the dance.

Nothing shook the focus of the concentrating kids, although one who I know well did break for a second to shoot me a small, quick smile. The free form kids happily seized any opportunity to ham it up more.

And that's when it happened. A free form boy near Patience grabbed her, spun her around and kissed her! Patience froze, startled, then a small smile spread across her face. She giggled, and resumed dancing. The boy hopped and leaped in circles around her.

When the dance ended, the coaches guided the queues to the door to go back to class. They had to put on their costumes for the kindergarten feast. As the lines passed by, the kissing boy called out, "Hey Patience's mom, today Patience is my bride so I get to kiss her ALL DAY!" and then he grabbed her again and planted a kiss on her cheek, just to demonstrate, to exclamation mark his words.

Patience smiled, then checked my reaction. I smiled and shrugged, reminded her she could tell him no, but she smiled again and said, "It's okay." She looked pleased.

And off they went to class, her Cupid shuffling along behind her.



Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
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18 comments:

jen said...

seems like a very good place to be, all that energy and creativity.

Kellan said...

I too spend a lot of time at my children's schools and it is good to be there to see all the good they do and how hard they work. I love those little Kindergarten kids, don't you? I can see how the teachers get great joy out of teaching all those little precious children. My sister teaches 2nd grade now and has taught 1st grade for years - her students are also fun to be around - at that young age.

Thanks for coming over and leaving the nice Anniversary wish. Have a great weekend, Julie, and see you soon. Kellan

Family Adventure said...

Oh Julie, that is adorable! I love that little story about Patience and her cupid :)

Glad the kindergarten teachers are good. That's *so* important.

Heidi

Suz said...

It's such a cute story...and I'm glad that the gym teachers are providing such a fun time for the kids. I really didn't like gym at all!!!

Cathy said...

How sweet! Sounds like a lot more fun than the PE classes of my childhood. I used to dread them. (I wasn't a dodgeball fan either, although I usually lasted longer than most, just because I was a coward.)

Jeff said...

Cupid Shuffle eh? That's pretty innovative for kindergarten. It' nice to see teachers thinking outside the box!

Maddy said...

I wouldn't [willingly] give up the option of volunteering in the school, so many opportunities to tune in.
Best wishes

slouching mom said...

Oh, oh, oh! I loved this story!

Mom101 said...

That is absolutely darling. And here we were, stuck with the Alley Cat and Chicken Fat.

Thanks for not being the mom that sues that boy for sexual harassment.

Lawyer Mama said...

OMG! I can just picture it. I bet it was ADORABLE seeing all those kids shuffling. You know, I remember my elementary school gym teacher teaching us the Hustle. How times have changed....

Lawyer Mama said...

Kim got home at 4 AM??????? Holy moly, what did I miss? I need details. DETAILS!

And somebody better have brought a freaking camera.

Julie Pippert said...

Jen, yes, loads of energy and creativity. Here elementary ends by grade 5/5th grade, before kids start to limit themselves, you know?

***

Kellan, my mom taught K and 1st for about 30 years. In high school I ended up teaching dance classes at her school too, 3-4, and 4-5 year olds in the program for teachers' kids. It was fantastic.

***

Heidi, I know, this is their introduction and a great teacher is awesome. Her teacher is on maternity leave but her son is in K so she's up there a lot anyway, with her newborn. The kids get so excited to see her.

***

Suz, I have to tell you I'd take PE class from these coaches LOL. In fact they do a lot of family activities...mostly marathons!!!!!

I tell all moms of preschool and younger...start cross training NOW!

***

Cathy, as the school Special Kid (don't know if you read my blog that long ago) until 4th I was the dodgeball target. Dude. HATED PE. Later, no longer the target but we had to square dance...not my bag baby!

***

Jeff, yeah they are pretty creative! The fun coach always makes me laugh so I think he's great. I think I need to find a class that shows all the current dances. Anyway Kim (After the Ball Kim) said I better get on the ball fast with this.

***

Maddy, absolutely. Although sometimes tuning in is a full-time job!

***

SM...I tell you what would be such a kick: the Ps and your boys. I can just imagine. The Ps with the Tars was worthy of a news article. ;)

***

Liz, you probably would not have been able to stifle the laughter it was that darling. If it helps, prior to Cupid Shuffle was the Turkey Tango (although that's hilarious too).

Oh yeah so not sexual harassment material. It was just cute is all it was, LOL. The funniest part is I think little kids get sort of crushes? And I think Patience has a teeny one on this kid. The even funnier thing is he reminds me so much of the boy last year I think she had a little crush on. Of course, he was the boy ALL the little girls had crushes on...

LOL

Kathryn said...

Are you kidding me with this? This school sounds awesome! I wanna go there. I wanna do the Cupid Shuffle. I can just picture all those little cuties shuffling along. So adorable!

Ali said...

There's part of me that would have really enjoyed home schooling my children. Then there's the 90% part of me that knows there's no way I could provide all these fabulous group experiences - and I still do lots of cool stuff with them outside school anyway.

Thanks for sharing a positive school story, methinks we give too little acclaim and too much bad press.

Ali

Emily R said...

Wow -- PE class is a lot more romantic these days.

Kyla said...

Awwww! "Hey Patience's mom, today Patience is my bride so I get to kiss her ALL DAY!" That is so cute.

Poor BubTar is terrified of marriage (he doesn't like kissing STRANGERS!). I think he'd have a heart attack if he had to be pretend married at school!

painted maypole said...

great story!

Yolanda said...

Wow. I'm so behind the times. I'll have to add the Cupid Shuffle to my Electric Slide reserves. This story made me nostalgic. When I was in elementary school every day had a theme (not offically, just spread amongst the kids). Wednesdays were "Wedding Day, which meant that if you accidentally touched someone of the opposite sex, you were married to them for the rest of the day.