Saturday, October 17, 2009

Learning to glue and sit still

(Picture taken at Burke Lake Park at the top of the slides.)

I love our Wednesday art class. It's obvious that the teacher puts a lot of thought and creativity into her lesson plans and the crafts the kids will make. Kylie and I have a lot of fun and enjoy a sweet, close connection with one another during the class.

We are five weeks into our ten week course and I've noticed some changes with Kylie.

In the first week, it was a challenge for Kylie to keep still during the story time. Our timetable for the class is craft, story, finger-rhymes, story, move to a song, craft again and then the cycle repeats. So during the 45 minute class, there are about 4 stories read and 4 crafts.

The kids are supposed to sit together on mats in front of the teacher while she reads. The first class, Kylie lasted about 15 seconds into the first story and then she popped up and wandered away. I brought her back. She wandered away again. We stepped out of the room and had a "talk". The second story had a lot of me putting on my stern face and pointing at her to sit and whispering in her ear for her to sit and it seemed like it would never end.

The rest of the class was the same.

The next week was the same.

And Karen and I had some lively conversations about it. We were curious that none of the other kids had any trouble sitting placidly by their moms during story time. Was this because they had attended other classes like this before? Was it because they were in part-time pre-school and had already learned that behavior? We discussed how reasonable it was to expect a 2 1/2 yr old to sit still. We admired Kylie's spirit and her non-conformist attitude. And we wondered how much we should push proper good-student behavior with discipline.

And then Karen and I laughed at how we could spend an hour speaking passionately on such an insignificant topic and how lucky Kylie was to have two moms who cared so damn much.

I suspected that part of the reason Kylie was popping up and away was because she could see it pushed my buttons. So my strategy became to acknowledge with full smiles her good behavior when she was sitting still. And to guide her back to the mats with a calm, bland face every time she wandered away.

By the fourth class she was sitting still for two of the four stories. By the fifth class, she sat still for all of them.

But I still find the whole thing kind of fascinating. Kylie loves stories. She brings them to Karen and I so that we will read to her and she pours over them herself. But she doesn't care one whit about the ones the teacher reads to the class. Even when she's sitting still, she's looking at the other kids or parents, rarely the teacher. The rest of the room is a bland, windowless, toyless, box. Just a room with tables and chairs and that's it. So it isn't that she's being lured away by some cool toy. And she doesn't try to speak to anyone else. She just quietly wanders away. Fascinating. Makes me want to crawl in her head and see what's going on.

Anyway, she's doing better with it. AND she's learning how to glue. She's learned about when she needs just a dot of glue and when she needs to spread a bunch around. She's having lots of fun gluing and it is no wonder when she gets to make cool things like this monster:

and get to glue down macaroni

and get to make a mouse. There is a little girl named Amelia who sits next to Kylie during class. She and her mom have taught Kylie and I a neat trick about gluing. After we glue down something like the mouse's ear, Kylie holds the ear still and counts to three. Amelia and Kylie had fun counting to three together.

Our other letter of the day on Wednesday was "W" and we made a web. Out of colored spaghetti noodles. I'm not kidding you! The teacher had taken some sort of die and colored a bunch of cooked noodles with it into all these vibrant different colors. The noodles weren't sticky or cold. They were warm and bouncy. And I just laughed with delight when I saw them. And gave the teacher a huge smile and said, "You are so cool. I never would have done this with Kylie on my own and it's simply awesome". And Kylie got to make a "web" by gluing noodles.

It looks very strange hanging on the fridge but it was a lot of fun.

Kylie also made two art projects at home with me. This castle.

And this bird with pretend birdseed.
And I made this scrapbook page:
Summer days

1 comment:

Cara said...

I wanted to comment! My daughter is so much like yours, sitting still is secondary sometimes. She likes to move. She prefers standing up to watch TV and play, etc. That class looks amazing BTW. Those projects are great.