day 2 at the wccc

2-3 year olds have so much more energy than the 5 year olds, and as a result they tire me out SO FAST.

To set the scene, I came right on time during this visit, and the kids had already woken up from their nap and the teacher this time was much better at introducing me to the children, which may explain why they were more accepting of me in their classroom as they came to me before I came to them. Like last time, I helped the kids pack up their things, except I was much more involved in helping them, for it turned out to be basically me packing up their stuff while they watched/attempted to help. I put the cots away, but there was one kid, named Jackson (I got it right this time, I can actually remember most of their names so prepared to be amazed) who just refused to get up. Mrs. Ruby (the teacher) told me that he was a hard one to wake up. I picked him up and he started to smile and giggle but he tried to hide it, pretending he was still asleep. As I tried to put him them, he refused to stand up so I had to pull out and chair as he jumped slumped into it, soon falling off and "sleeping" on the ground. During this time, the kids were also told to use the potty, and the teachers helped them with this, some of them even had diapers, suggesting that at least some of the kids weren't fully potty trained.

The kids were then instructed to sit at the table for coloring. Obeying orders wasn't the problem with these kids, its just that they wanted to do so much more, refreshed and full of energy after their nap. Many of them wanted me to read books for them, and I noticed that one girl, named Lindsey, who seemed to be a very girly girly girl, was carrying around this Barbie book, and even though the teachers and I told her to put the book back, she would always go back to that book. That book was also the most feminine book on the shelves, suggesting that this girl was already fitting into her gender role (more on this later). The drawings of the children were pretty incomprehensible, except there was this one girl, Emilia (similar to the Elizabeth of the 5 year olds group) had advanced control over her hands, for she was able to draw/color recognizable shapes, which were in this case a blue football. At one point, she even exclaimed "thats not how you color! You have to color like me!" and by coloring like her, she meant everyone had to color inside the lines (which she did an okay job at) and use a lot of force when using the crayon. The pictures of the other children tended to be much a bunch of different styles of lines, such as squiggly lines and awkward looking spheres. One girl, Megan drew me a picture of something, and I asked her to write her name for me, which she attempted to do, as she told herself (Up down, up down, up down) and "Megan" turned into "MMMMMMMMMM".

Then came snack time, by this time I was well acquainted with Jackson, and the other boy in the class, Jonas, and a handful of the other kids, (this class was relatively small, I would guess about only 8-10 kids). As they lined up, with much persuasion, for snack time, they joined the other classes in the little cafeteria room for milk and animal crackers. I sat next to Jackson, who only wanted to drink his milk, and wasn't interested in his animal crackers as he pushed them away from him. These children seemed to also be learning how to effectively communicate, using words instead of pointing to tell others what they want, as the teachers called this "using big boy/girl words". Of course, in order to facilitate this shift, I didn't give Jackson the milk when he pointed to his cup or the jar of milk, instead I asked him to tell me what he wanted, and he did so easily, and then I allowed him to pour his own milk. After a while though, he got relatively bored with the milk, and began to pick at the animal crackers, biting off the parts that protruded from the rest of the cookie, but mistook them to be the legs of the animal, when sometimes they were actually heads. Once they were round-shaped, he claimed that they could "floom" (his word for going really fast. its not really a word, its more like a sound accompanied by a lot of spit). I assumed that this was relative to his knowledge of cars and their aerodynamic shape (he would rant on and on about the Disney movie "cars" and how he has it and how much he loves it, in which other kids chimed in and wanted to share their knowledge of this movie with me"). But he also told me that after snack time, his mommy comes in to pick him up. Being my first time looking after this group of kids, I assumed that he meant right after snack time, when in reality, she didn't come until about 6 o'clock, about 2 hours later.

After this, the kids were sent back to the classroom, for story time, where the same little tricks were used to get them to be quiet, although it didn't work as well as it did in the other group, due to their short attention span, the kids grew awfully restless, especially when the story was about the biological growth of a bird, starting from an egg. It was awful. Afterwards, the kids were escorted to play outside (thank GOD), where they burnt off most of their energy, and the usual playground activities ensued, such as tag, hide and seek, pretend play, and just using the items on the playground. At one point, Elizabeth wanted me to pick her up so she could dust the roof of her castle (which was meant to be a log house) with her fern-esque leaf (where she got this leaf I have no idea) and she giggled in excitement as I helped her dust the roof of her castle. Another surprise came from a boy from my previous group, named Andrew, who wanted me to play catch with him, but he wanted to play behind the trees because the sun got in his eyes and the tree provided shade. To be aware of his environment to such an extent in my opinion is pretty incredible, although his hand-eye coordination was lacking. Afterwards, when a boy joined our little "in the shade" play group, Andrew wanted to play basketball. However, woodchips were all over the playground, so bouncing the ball was an impossible feat, but they tried to bounce it anyways, and he used the tree trunk as a makeshift basket, and by throwing the ball against the tree represented a point. The kids got bored of this impossible game quickly, and plus it was getting cold, so the kids were hastily rushed inside.

For about the last hour, it was constructive chaos, and the kids were allowed to play with basically anything except the table top toys. And at this point, the gender rift became very apparent. The two boys in the class played with the cars the entire time, while most of the girls played dress-up, and dressed up as dancers, cowgirls, and other very feminine roles. The girls almost immediately recognized that the cars were for boys, and one girl, Stella maybe?, when a car rolled her way, picked it up and gave it to the boys saying, "here, cars are for boys". And although one girl did play with the cars, her playtime was brief as she moved onto more gender neutral activities, such as legos or books. The kids soon moved onto table top toys, as during this hour most of the parents had come and picked up their children. When Jonas's mom came, he didn't say a word, just somewhat sat there in "shock", not saying a word and not moving. All eyes were on him, and for a solid minute did nothing until one of the teachers, Miss Brittany, coaxed him to get his coat and things from his cubby. Jackson was the last one to leave, and until his mom came, we just played with a magnetic picture etcher, as he attempted to draw a rocket that quickly turned into an odd black circle.