Three very special guests visited Mrs. Clifford’s kindergarten class at Floris Elementary School; Watt Hamlett, Jill Vinson and Robert E. Squirrel, you can call him Bob. Kat Clifford, who was raised in Reston, Virginia, was one of the first to buy Watt and Jill’s first children’s book, Reston A to Z. Watt and Jill shared their story and the process behind creating the charming images while entertaining all twenty two questions and connections from these inquisitive kindergarteners.
Lucas’ first day at LANK (Lake Anne Nursery Kindergarten)
September 11, 2009
On September 11, 2009 Lucas had his first day of junior pre-school at Lake Anne Nursery Kindergarten (LANK). February 12, 2016, Oliver has three months left. Over the years I’ve volunteered, attended class parties, play dates and school events, eager to participate in anything and everything. Now in my seventh year I rarely make it to kiss and ride, haven’t been to any class parties and only one play date. So I nudged my way into Oliver’s Valentine’s Day party. All the kids were gathered in a circle where they patiently waited their turn to hand out their Valentines to their classmates. They iced and decorated cookies, licking knives and fingers. As the kids finished up, Mrs. Even started a game. I watched the kids silliness and giddiness and was reminded of what I too often forget with my youngest, the magic and wonder of being five years old.
As we finish our 7th year and LANK its 51st year, I am grateful for the time Penny bit another child, twice, because she finally learned to share, the teacher conferences where I found out Lucas has sick dance moves, Penny is quietly confident and Oliver is an artist, the art projects that fill my treasure trove, and all the bittersweet memories Lucas, Penny, Oliver and I have made in this nurturing, affectionate, sweet school to which we’ll soon say goodbye.
If I could speak a new language I would speak child. I would climb into their little heads and see how they process what they feel and react with their gut, how they take something they see and turn it into something they do and how they deal with the millions of impulses coursing through their little beings. I would know that crying means “I’m sad” or “I’m disappointed” or “I’m pissed”. I would know that hitting and snatching can sometimes be an outcome of insecurity, that clingy-ness is an expression of fear and tantrums are a misdirection of emotion, or just plain fatigue. I would also know that singing and dancing and smiling are the most beautiful expressions of happiness, contentment and safety.
Just as I am learning their language they are learning mine.