Monday, July 13, 2015

Why Parents Should Volunteer At School

Last month I signed up to serve as a parent chaperone on my daughter's class trip to the nearby Discovery Center. I figured I might be the only dad to sign up; it turns out I was the only parent from her class. This means that I was put in charge of four kindergarteners. "In charge" means "try to keep up and make sure none falls from too great a height." 

The class had a "lecture" (I use the term in its elementary sense) on bubbles. Part of the experiential learning that followed included bubble ink. "Have you ever blown bubbles with a straw in your chocolate milk?" was the intro. The idea was to froth up a bowl full of colored water, then press paper on top and make a print. But really, when kindergarteners get license to do what their parents have been telling them for three years not to do at Denny's, they just want to . . . blow bubbles. Lots of them. Until the bowl overflows in a Kilauea of multicolored surface tension. Until this parent, who unwittingly volunteered to "oversee" this activity, found himself spending most of the time sopping rainbow rivulets of water off the table.

The payoff for all that sopping was watching as my wee merry band discovered the Pirate Ship and treasure chest filled with Pirate dress-up costumes. When they had decked themselves out and set their hands to the rigging, I made a serendipitous discovery: A bunch of kindergarteners will focus and stand still for a moment if I ask them to yell, "Aaargh, me hearties!" Instant attention and coordination!

I try not to take many pictures of my children. But when, without prompting, they strike poses on a pirate ship, I cannot resist.

Color, sound, energy: joy!

~ emrys