By Jane Enright
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Thursday mornings are my favourite. That’s because Thursday mornings are reserved for Miss Harrison and her kindergarten class at G.R Allen School. Today is extra special though, it’s my first day and we are making Father’s Day Cards. Miss Harrison has set up discovery stations in the classroom and I am stationed at The Flower Shop, cutting out paper ties that we will decorate together.
All my new kindergarten friends are super excited, and like Curious George, are curious about me with a bazillion questions. “Who are you? Why are you here? Where do you live? I like your shoes…are you staying for nutrition break? You have grey in your hair, are you Miss Harrison’s mother? Do you have any pets? I have a fish…can I help you cut? Finally, like herding cats, I manage to satisfy their curiosity (or so I think), when a boy taps me on the shoulder and says “excuse me, is the Flower Shop open?”
Now I haven’t met this little fellow yet, but I can tell he’s all business; and very keen to open the Flower Shop for the day. Technically, according to “the rules,” you are not supposed to go to the Flower Shop, or any other discovery station, until your other work is complete. I know this not just because Miss Harrison told me so, but because this is not my first rodeo. When I was in my early twenties I had a stint teaching kindergarten, grade one, and grade four in a fly-in community called Sachigo Lake, underneath Hudson’s Bay. At the time, we had no running water, but we had kindergarten.
I stick out my hand and introduce myself; “Hi I’m Jane, what’s your name?" Little guy says with a big toothy grin, “I got my journal done, is it open yet?” I quickly surmise this kid is intuitive, and masterful at redirecting the conversation. I laugh and say, “of course it is- but who’s on cash, you or me?”
It turns out little guy’s name is Adesh, and when I ask him if he comes here often, he replies, “I love the Flower Shop, I come here nearly every day.” After he carefully rings up my bouquet on the fisher price digital cash register, and gives me my change, I say to him;” you know Adesh, you seem to really like it here, perhaps you could own your own flower shop someday?” For a moment I could see his mind and imagination wander, and then the lightbulb went on. Adesh had just experienced the power of imagining, and believing, that yes, he too could own a flower shop. Watching him took me back in time to my own childhood. It also reminded me that to follow our life’s purpose, all we really need to do is remember those lessons we learned in Kindergarten - including the power to believe in yourself, be playful, and if you can dream it, you can do it!
Later, as we were closing the Flower Shop for the day, Adesh turned to me and asked; “when were you born?’ Smart kid, he wanted to know if I was legit. When I told him the year, he turned to me, mouth gaping and exclaimed; “YOU ARE SOOO OLD!”
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
By Robert Fulghum (and Miss Harrison of course)
Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday school
These are the things I learned:
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life-
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.