Today, as is true for most Mondays, I spent my day as Miss Laurie, the helper in Timmy's kindergarten. It is usually a very busy day, and today was no different, I didn't stop even for a tea all day long. I typically spend the day doing prep work (loads of it), getting the weekly reading books ready, helping the kids with craft and pencil to paper activities and providing one on one time with anyone that needs it.
The kids are a joy, it amazes me that you can put 21, 4 and 5 year olds in a room and have no behavioural issues, at all. This is solely attributed to their teacher, Mrs Manzo, she is very kind and very fair, and amazingly loving and giving for a teacher today (I have had kids in the school system for well over a dozen years now and you wouldn't believe how many won't hug an injured child).
The children all know that Mrs Manzo does not accept poor behaviour, it's as simple as that! And that's all she has to say if a little one even thinks they may start something, "oh no "Billy", I don't accept that in our classroom." End of story, there is no issue. She keeps the kids busy and interested all day long, and is very aware of the need to balance learning with hands on fun activities as well as burning off energy. If the little ones sit for a long time doing "paperwork" she allows for extra free play time. If the weather is too poor for outside play, she ensures extra gym time. She always gives them extra time to eat, knowing they"socialize" a lot and that it affects how much they consume. And she wants to make sure they all eat enough to get them through the day.
Mrs Manzo also makes me feel very useful and needed, making a comment to the children every Monday that they couldn't do it without Miss Laurie. Of course, they could but it is very nice to feel useful, especially since when I had to stop working 9 (almost 10) years ago, I didn't feel very useful a lot of the time. This is in large part the reason I have been giving her a day a week for the last almost year and a half. And probably why another Mom, Miss Shelly, in my son's Monday/Wednesday class has started volunteering every Wednesday, and a Tuesday/Thursday class Mom volunteers in Mrs Manzo's other class one day a week.
I met our school's new VP when classes resumed after Christmas break and I think she was a little surprised at how many regular volunteers Mrs Manzo has. And yet you would think Mrs Manzo would take it a little easier, but she doesn't, she constantly pushes herself to do more and give more for the children. Spending many prep hours searching and organizing new things for the kids to do. Taking the basic curriculum and making it so much more.
Our kids have come a long way so far in kindergarten, and I am thankful she has her students with her for both JK and SK. The curriculum says that kindergartener's need to know about 30 sight words when they move on to grade 1. I can honestly say that most of our SK's are already reading, really reading, and the rest will be before the end of the school year! They love to perform for Mrs Manzo because she is so proud of them and thrilled for them when they do! And she gets results of many wonderful kinds in all areas of her classroom.
It is an honour to be there and I might just have to stick around for another year, of course, Timmy will have to move up to Grade 1 but I can definitely stay in kindergarten for a while longer!