Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tykes Today: They're All Wet

We have a little one with us in the morning. He is small, blond, two and a half, and still in diapers. (or "nappies" whatever.) He knows what the schedule is and so encourages us to move along faster in our schedule in the understanding that the faster we finish our tasks (such as tidy up time, biscuit time, and garden time) the faster he will see his mother again. The order of tasks must be preserved- but surely not the time duration, right?

Anyhow. Today during garden time he decided that it was cuddle time and raised his arms to be picked up before burrowing his face into my neck for a couple of minutes. Yes little one, you can stay there and be all cuddly. Then he got bored and scampered off to play with another little boy's car for a bit. Eventually the car lost it's lustre (How?! How could that be?! It is a car!) and he scampered back, held out his hand, and said "come." How could I resist? I was being commanded by a very sure toddler. So we walked hand in hand around the perimeter of the garden looking at flowers and plants. I'm a little in love. Even when I have to physically block him from going back inside ten minutes after we've come out because maybe his mother will be back.

This afternoon we went to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain: ( The fountain is a large circle with lots of different textures. Hilariously there is a line on the enterance sign saying "please do not walk in or on the fountain" when clearly it has been designed to be walked. Today was rather hot and the place was crawling with sopping wet children in various states of undress. We pretended like our tykes were not going to get sopping wet. We took off their shoes and socks, rolled up their trousers, took off extraneous layers (like a skirt if they were also wearing leggings) and then let them roam. Obviously we were foolish in this respect. They were soaking by the end. I walked around the fountain twice ('around' as in through the water and around the circle. I blithely ignored the sign's request) holding hands with some of the slippery-er tykes. OOh. That could be read two ways couldn't it? Oddly I mean tykes that were more prone to slipping rather than those tykes that might slip away from us. Maybe I should have stuck with the tykes that would slip away from us? Not to worry, we didn't lose a single tyke.

Eventually we got them out of the ever circling pool of water, pretended that they were dry, made them put their shoes back on, and walked down to the shore where we fed the ducks/geese/pigeons an entire loaf of bread. Mmmm. Nice day.


I went walking in Abney Park Cemetery today after dropping off my last rent cheque for the Stamford Hill flat (it sounds like we're good to go for moving in to the Clapton place next Monday. Oddly, we're also meant to sign the contract on Monday? So paperwork and moving on the same day? Am I the only one who think that sounds a little weird?) Since it was such a lovely day out and since I had a handy plastic take out container with me I thought: let's pick blackberries!

Here are some helpful hints for blackberry picking:
1. Wear smart shoes. Blackberries are thorny, flip flops are not advised.
2. I'm not sure if this is true everywhere or not but in Abney park the blackberry bushes are frequently growing in tandem with stinging nettles.
3. Stinging nettles look like this:
4. It is not sacrilegious to stand on headstones in order to reach juicy, delicious blackberries
5. blackberry juice stains. Maybe endeavor not to use your shirt as napkin for finger wiping.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Yoga class! (and tykes)

This week we have new tykes and these new tykes, while adorable, don't really speak English. It's interesting (if totally predictable) that a different group of kids has a completely different dynamic. This week they are quiet and willful- they may not be hollering- but they make their desires known anyway. No problem. Even without the English.

This week they are also destroying the garden in new and different ways. Last week they destroyed the garden by digging holes and transporting mud around all over the place. This week they are just ripping all the petals off the rose bushes in the centre of the play area. To each their own.

Today it was raining a bit so our brilliant plan to go to the Diana memorial fountain had to be scrapped- so instead we built a gym in the hall. I love doing that- the kids all run around like crazy in a private, enclosed space. So pretty much all I have to do is periodically count them to make sure we still have the whole bunch of them and holler at them to quit it whenever they start pulling their friends around by hula hoops around their necks. Must be careful of tyke necks.

Here's an interesting question. One of the kids we've got currently is clearly, to my mind, on the autism spectrum. He doesn't make eye contact, he doesn't really respond all that quickly, he spends a lot of time lying on the floor, and he doesn't really talk. So I asked the teachers today what sort of support they get for special needs children. There are plenty of special needs at the school. The language issues are the most immediately obvious since so many of the children are foreign, but there are a fair amount of behavioural and developmental issues as well- for instance on Monday we had a six year old soil themselves. Not only that she tried to pretend like it hadn't happened...which seemed age inappropriate. Anyhow- basically there is not that much support for the teachers.

In other news: YOGA! I've been to two sessions now at this cute little holistic medicine office in Walthamstow. I found it by looking up the style of yoga I did in Baltimore and then plugging that into the yoga alliance site which is an organization that certifies yoga teachers. The teacher, Hayley, is wonderful and because it is at essentially a doctors office rather than a yoga studio the room is really small which mean that there are only four people per class (all that the room can fit) and that equals lots of personal attention. Which is brilliant. So now I feel all bendy and healthy and great. I've been using a spot that was free because someone was on holiday, but I'm on the list now so that as soon as a permanent spot opens up- I get it. Nice.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Music class with Tykes!

On Friday one of the activities we did was music! Which made me really happy, I like teaching music. But it also brought up a new question: what do I do when half the class knows the songs really well and the other half (or even third, whatever) has never heard them before? We sang "My Mini-beast Friends" which is one of the songs that I did with the nursery classes for parents day. It's a fun song because it's got this part where it goes "down on the ground" and you bend over and touch your toes. Hilarity ensues. In any case- I couldn't get through one line of teaching it to the new kids without having the tykes who already knew it start hollering the rest of the song out.

This is actually going to be a big challenge: a lot of the songs I've used so far I'd like to continue using because they're fun, I like them, and I have a clue how the kids react to them. But if I'm not going to be able to teach them? The tykes stay in nursery for one or two years depending on how old they are when they start, and I'm not sure how many tykes enter the school at reception age but I should think it wouldn't be an insignificant number which means that both sets of classes will have a bunch who've had me as a teacher before and a bunch who haven't.

In any case we also did art yesterday. Listening in on a conversation during home time I heard this interaction:

Girl 1. Wow, my painting is so pretty! Can I see yours?
Girl 2. shows girl 1 her painting
Girl 1. Wow, my painting is so pretty!