|Welcoming the parents and grandparents|
This morning we caught a taxi to school since I needed to bring Adalyn along too. I dropped Juliana off and then went to a friend's house (The mother of Juliana's Norwegian classmate used to be my language school classmate) for a quick cup of coffee while the kids ate their breakfast. Then we headed back to the kindergarten.
The back of the large classroom was lined with child size chairs, already crowded with parents and grandparents when we came in. The two dozen children were lined up in their own chairs near the front of the room, waving excitedly to their parents.
|Telling a story about candy rain|
She called on different children to tell what kind of rain they would like to see. Candy, ice cream, and hamburgers were some of the answer she received. She asked where they would like to see this rain, and the children answered, "Just outside my door!" or "Inside my house!" She asked what they would use to collect the candy-rain. "My hat! My gloves! My clothes!"
The group of 4 year olds were surprisingly quiet and orderly. I guess this is one of the important things you learn at kindergarten! After the story, the children gathered at different tables to paint a collective picture based on the story, using paints and q-tips.
By this point the kids were getting a bit more restless, and there was a break for drinking water (they each have a tin cup in their own cup cubby), using the bathroom, and generally wandering around the classroom.
Next several activity stations were set up. One group of children painted pictures. Another built with connecting block-tiles. Juliana's group used a large box of different colored cylinders to build a tower. Toward the end of the activities the calm was beginning to evaporate, and after some clean up the kids got on their coats.
We all traipsed outside to the large courtyard and playground area. The students each lined up on a painted spot on the ground and the teachers led them in dances. I already knew the dancing is Juliana's favorite part, and she had it down pretty well! They did several different dances and Juliana seemed to know just what to do for all of them, adding a little extra hip-shaking-vigor of her own.
|Doing a circle dance with a partner|
After dancing, the children got out balls to throw back and forth with their parents and had a little time on the playground. The kindergarten has a lot of great playground equipment, which is a big plus for a little kid!
By this point all the parents were getting a bit antsy, because after the children were done eating, they could take them home. "Eat quickly. Come on, eat quickly so we can go home." Which was what I was telling Juliana as well!
|Adalyn wonders when someone is going to feed her|
One auntie kept asking Adalyn if she could hold her, and Adalyn kept shying away against me. Then the auntie said, "我抱抱你，给你好吃的！Let me hold you! I will give you something good to eat." Adalyn smiled and held out her arms! So maybe she understands more Chinese than I realized!
|Adalyn making friends with a 姐姐 (big sister)|
When I watched her standing uncertainly, twirling her hair and wondering what she was supposed to be doing, I thought, “Surely this is too much to ask of a 4 year old. To go every day to a place where they stand out, don’t understand, and don’t fully belong.” But despite the difficulty, Juliana really seems to enjoy kindergarten.
I was proud of her, as I saw her watching the other kids to see what she should be doing, as she waited patiently through the parts she didn't understand, as she dove in and got involved anyway. Her resilience and natural confidence came through. I am so thankful kindergarten has been a positive experience for Juliana!