I don’t know about you, but my family has had just about enough of this forced quantity time. We are ready to go back to living like it is 2019!
The first week was fun, we did crafts, played games and enjoyed the gift of an unexpected week of vacation.
Week two was the week of adjustment. We began to create and settle into new routines. There was some crankiness around my house, but for the most part, we were adjusting well.
By week three, we had become somewhat accustomed to our new living. Routines were set, spaces for learning and working were identified. While some bickering existed, we were still somewhat empathetic to each other’s situations.
But by week four, the gloves came off. We have had enough of playing nicely. Frustrations are mounting. We are sick and tired of being around the same people for 24/7. Even the dog slept on the floor last night.
Missing my students and longing to return to my “normal” schedule, I began to reflect on what I do when my students first enter Kindergarten in the fall. Any Kindergarten teacher will tell you that the first six weeks are the most important for establishing a community of learners. I realized what I need to do. I need to reestablish my “community” at home!
Today is “National Kindergarten Day” in honor of the birthdate of Friedrich Wilhelm August Frobel, founder of the first kindergarten. Frobel, who recognized that children learn best through play and social experiences, is known for starting the first Kindergarten in Germany in 1837. The goal of Kindergarten was to ease the transition between home life and the school experience. That is kind of what we are doing now, isn’t it?
One Hundred and Fifty years later in 1990, Robert Fulghum wrote All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. I fondly recall reading Fulghum’s book in college and feeling inspired that one day, I could be that teacher of “all you really need to know…” His words resonate with me still and I feel that they should be the rules for our current quarantine living. After all, just like Kindergarteners, we are all learning how to navigate this new experience.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Just incase are wondering if teaching Kindergarten qualifies as sane living, you may enjoy some comedic insight to what it is like to actually teach during those first few days!