I've been working at the tykes school for their Holiday Camp this week (and will continue to do so next week) and here are some things I've learned:
1. little boys *never* have their flies zipped. It's just not going to happen- dexterity comes later
2. tykes are GROSS. I've washed my hands more in the last three days than in the last two weeks combined. On the plus side: my fingernails are sparkling.
3. When holding hands with a tyke, say for street crossing purposes, your hand will be used to scratch their face, shove up their nose, brush hair out of their eyes, or stick into their ear.
4. There is a specific facial expression- sort of pleading, guilty, and concerned all at the same time- it means they need the toilet. Learn to identify it quickly.
5. If you start paying attention to a tyke they will most likely want your attention, undivided, for the next 20 minutes. Then they will drop you abruptly for a small wheelie truck.
6. This isn't exactly something I learned- but today one of the girls came up to me and exclaimed "all the flowers are gone!" meaning the patch of grass she'd been messing with had been picked clean of dandelions. Naturally my first response to that was to tell her that there was a song about that and to start singing Pete Seeger's "Where have all the flowers gone?" to which she reacted by looking at me like I was crazy and possibly dangerous before scampering off to go be a dragon/good fairy.
So far we have had free play time, gone to the science museum (where I had a lovely time talking to a kindly grandmother in the play space), set up the hall as a gym with hula hoops, a small climbing structure and a collapsible tunnel, and gone to one of the play areas in Hyde Park.
When we go on outside adventures the teachers wear neon yellow "City of Westminster" safety vests. Cute. Then we explain that the tykes need to look for the green man before crossing the street and that they must hold our hands, no really, we mean it. Also- catch up to the people in front of you in line and please stop hitting our butts!
Holiday camp is basically babysitting for 16 three year olds with three other babysitters who don't all totally agree about what is supposed to be happening. So that's kind of frustrating. I like teaching music better- there is a set thing I am supposed to being doing with the tykes and the structure helps. That being said the other three women I'm working with are lovely and we're getting better at working together as the week progresses.
We have a few problem children- one has just moved here from Argentina and doesn't speak a word of English. It is such a huge change for the foreign kids- we had a big break through today in that he spent the entire afternoon with us without his nanny and only cried pathetically for about 10 minutes which is a huge achievement. We also for the first time today ended up with a new nearly six year old girl from Hong Kong. She's also dealing with the abrupt change to everything she knows- but she was good by the end of the day too.
Then there is a family of three siblings and their friend from another school. They are a handful. A demanding, smart enough to know how to play us, and snarky for four/five handful. I secretly like them, but they rile each other up and then the rest of the class up and life would be much easier without them in it currently. That being said, I kind of like watching the schemes the eldest has- she reminds me of Jimmy and his "pajamas are too interesting!" comment. I feel like Laine could totally school this kid. Come visit Laine, help a sister out.
In other news I have borrowed a recorder and a beginners book to teach myself the recorder. I've been sitting at my kitchen table and chortling to myself while attempting to play. I'm on page 27! It's a waltz with 5 pitches, tied notes, slurs, and it is in 3/4 time. Fancy.