I recall my first day of Kindergarten and (sort-of) being sad that my mom was leaving me. When she led me by my little hand into that amazing new environment I forgot she was still attached to me once I saw my classroom and that bulletin board full of colorful cutouts. What really caught my attention, however, were the tables. They had a pair of scissors neatly placed at every seat, a vat of paste in the center and an endless mound of construction paper in every color. I used to love eating that paste whenever the teacher wasn’t looking.
I have fond memories of singing ABC’s and reciting 123s. That was also my first exposure to Dick and Jane (and they weren’t anything like the movie “Fun With Dick and Jane”). I think teachers’ jobs were much simpler back then. A sense of urgency to insist on excellence didn’t seem to be the daily mantra. She was a master at allowing us to be the kids we were. Time marched forward, life sped up, innovation continued (and continues) to happen at warped speed and now competition is razor sharp. The bar is set higher and earlier with each new generation. Paste doesn’t come in tubs any longer. It’s been updated to slick sticks that twist and its flavor has been lost to my generation—still non-toxic, but nowhere near the original stuff.
I hope some day way into the future, I have a grand child. If I’m around, I’m going to volunteer in his or her kindergarten class. To prepare for that time, I’m going to buy as much construction paper as I can find now and store it away. I’m also going to jump on eBay and find some of that edible paste. I’ll stockpile those round-tipped metal scissors too. I’m going to put all those supplies in an air tight container and store them in a safe place… and when it’s my day to volunteer, I’m going to bring the stuff to my grandchild’s school. Every single kid will get a pair of scissors to cut colored paper into nonsense and certainly indulge in a scoop or two of paste. That’s what Kindergarten was meant to be… the last frontier for a kid to be a kid.