Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Herding kittens

I worked in Lily's class this morning as parent helper for the first time in more than a month. My regular sitter has been out of the country, and although she left me a list of numbers for her roommates who also babysit, I never got around to calling them. So I had to request subs at school to work on my days and pay the sub fee.

But today Miss K was back, and so Lily and I headed off to school. As I left, I thought about grabbing my camera, but we were running late and I didn't know where the camera was, so I bolted without it. I really, really wish I had taken 30 seconds to find it.

Lily's preschool is in a church that's on the campus of the University of Texas. The teachers often take the kids on little walks around campus - to the turtle ponds a few blocks away or to the Littlefield House next door to the school. But today, Lily's teacher decided on a grander adventure. We walked over to the Blanton Museum of Art, which is across campus from our school - it's a bit of a walk.

We paired the kids up, attached their "return to ECC" tags, and headed out the gate. Miss M was at the front of the line, and I was at the back. I have pretty long legs and tend to walk quickly, which meant I kept stepping on the pair in front of me. It turns out we shouldn't have paired those particular kids with each other. "Paul" and "Beth" are both daydreamers, and they'd both come to a standstill in the middle of the sidewalk, staring off into space. All the kids would yell that Paul and Beth needed to run to catch up, and they'd take off, only to repeat the process again.

I was interested in watching the reactions of the people we passed on campus. If I were walking along and saw 11 pre-k kids running along, I'd stop to watch and smile. Most people we saw did just that, especially the sorority girls. Others glared at us for blocking the sidewalk with our herd, upset I guess that we were impeding their progrss. Still others ignored us completely. The kids had fun waving to everyone in sight.

Our final destination was an outdoor installation at the Blanton. It was a pergola-like structure hung with hundreds and hundreds of lengths of rubber surgical tubing. The kids had a wonderful time running through them like a car wash, gathering as many of the tubes as they could possibly hold, and wrapping themselves up in the tubs, like flies caught in a springy web.

The teacher and I let them play for about 20 minutes before heading back. We knew the walk back to school would take even longer, and boy did it. About two blocks from the school I thought two of the little boys were going to sit down and refuse to take another step. They should all sleep well tonight from the walk.

As exhausting as the field trip was, I'm glad I had a chance to go. It was fun to watch the kids watching everything around them. They were fascinated by the many statues we passed, and they loved the little go-cart cars the UT police officers drive. It's good for them to be exposed and to have to the oppportunity to explore campus this young, and to see all the different shapes and sizes and races of people who inhabit the place.

But now, I need a nap.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a Blanton, I had to say hi! JP