******With Little One staring kindergarten last week, my mind has wandered through my elementary years. Little memories from my childhood.
I remember going to kindergarten in Simi Valley, California. There was a gate around the kindergarten classroom. I cannot remember my teacher's name but I do remember that we got a lifesavers lollipop when we were able to identify all the lower case letters of the alphabet. It took me a couple of tries, those b's and d's were hard to tell apart, but eventually I got my strawberries and creme lollipop. I felt so proud of myself.
I remember being so sad at the end of the first day of first grade because I did not learn to read that day. I had been wanting to learn to read for so long. As a kindergartner, the school had wanted to have me go to first grade for a reading class but my mom declined. She did not want me to be bored in school like she was all those years. She promised I would learn to read in first grade. Turns out that was not the curriculum for the first day.
I remember moving from California to Oregon at the end of October during my 1st grade year. In Oregon we rode a bus to school. I liked waiting at the bus stop and riding around the neighborhood with my friends. In first grade in Oregon we played on the bars at recess and made houses out of the trees on the playground.
I remember in 2nd grade, my friend and I used to make colored glue using our markers and white glue. I am sure we were supposed to be doing something more productive with our time but we were both often done early with whatever lesson we were doing that hour. I remember going home after school with my friend Rebecca and roller skating in her culdesac for hours. I think that was the year my mom made me a Little House on the Prairie dress that I wore as many days as I could.
Third grade was a hard year for me. I was an incredibly emotional little 8 year old. I left the room crying a lot. I thought it was all the stress of my family life at the time, but my Hockey Boy is also really emotional and he often had to sit in the hall to calm his tears once he turned 8. I survived though even though I was convinced my teacher did not like me. A hard thing for a little perfectionistic, teacher lover like me.
I remember times tables in 4th grade and having a male teacher for the first time. I liked his class though he was the teacher nobody wanted. I liked the times tables tests. I liked being good at math. 5th grade was another male teacher. He was older and spent a lot of time building character but did not seem to care too much about the academics. It felt like a play year to me but I think I actually learned a lot as well.
One of my favorite school lessons ever was in 5th grade when a group of us got to go to a special class once a week or so and create our own civilization. Philofire because we were lovers of fire. All our artifacts had fire references. At the end of the unit we went to another school and buried all our artifacts in a big pile of dirt. We then dug up another school's make believe civilizations artifacts and tried to figure out what they were all about. What a great lesson plan!
School was a refuge for me. There were rhythms and systems in place that did not change year to year or moment to moment. There was lunch times and recesses to play and be kids. There were new places to visit in the pages of the books we read. There were caring adults, well except that one third grade teacher, who took care of me everyday no matter how they were feeling.
I loved school. I loved it so much that I eventually became a teacher myself.