Wednesday, November 14, 2012
And they're off! School readiness, our style.
Every year in term 4, we watch our older children spread their wings and start to fly.
They become masters of their preschool universe.
They are strong and secure in the relationships with their friends, their teachers and their surroundings.
Their play is complex, independent and intricate.
They can do things themselves. Practical things. Self-help things. Problem solving things. Conflict resolution things. Negotiation things.
In fact, if we have done our job well, they rarely need us at all.
They want more, different, bigger, newer, harder, riskier, faster, longer and higher.
They climb - high. They hang upside down. They somersault. They run - fast.
They are at ease.
They love to tease us and joke with us -and to push us.
Their artwork is detailed, and often tells a story.
They push boundaries and limits.
They stand up for themselves.
They are curious.
They like games with rules.
They build cities with blocks and create magic out of boxes and tape.
They look after the younger ones - mostly.
They tell us what they want, in no uncertain terms.
They take on challenges.
They experiment with power.
They play with words.
They write letters. They write their names. They write books.
They create their own play spaces.
They teach us things.
They undertake feats of complex engineering.
They tell us when we need to water the garden, feed the worms, pick the beans or feed the chooks.
The delight in 'real work'.
They roll their eyes but then get on with the business of packing away the block area or the sandpit like a well oiled machine.
They make us laugh.
They are explorers, artists, scientists, mathematicians, authors, actors, musicians, athletes, dancers.
They give each other comfort and support - most of the time.
They can be still, and are learning that sometimes they need to be.
They know what they like. They know what they can do. They will tell you that they are good at everything.
They still like a cuddle, but then they are off again.
They like nonsense. The sillier, the better.
They run through the bush, naming the landmarks along the way. The creek, the short cut, jump rock, the cave, boat rock.
They spend the days as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, babies, cats, dogs, lions, ninjas, superheroes, aliens, princesses, astronauts and pirates.
They are special. They are needed. They belong.
They don't just belong. They own the joint!
"You are going to cry, and cry and cry when I leave preschool." said one five year old matter of factly.
We tease them that we won't let them leave. "You have to. You have to let us go."
And we do. They're ready.