A few months ago my daughter's nursery class was learning about neighborhoods and modes of transportation. There were daily queries of which transportation option I took to get to work and what was my favorite way to get places. In addition, I was asked by a little interrogator if I went to the grocery store or the post office on my way to work.
In order to further cement the lesson, her class was planning a field trip. I decided to sign up to be a chaperone because:
1) It was something I could squeeze into an hour of my morning schedule without attending a full-day event.
2) I thought it would be fun. (Honestly, this was the biggest factor in my participation!)
After dropping the kids off at school and making sure they had all the bathroom department business completed, the other parents, who were also chaperoning, gathered at the class door to collect their field trip pair. Each parent had their own child and then another little munchkin. My daughter was exhilarated that I was involved in this activity. She grabbed onto my hand and decided to swing from it while her friend pulled my other hand and arm down the stairs. (If only they had pulled my legs a bit so I would grow a few inches.)
We made our way outside and the teacher instructed the children to point to and call out the modes of transportation they had learned. Immediately twenty 3-year-olds yelled out, "Taxi!", "Bus!", "Bicycle!" The boisterous nature of toddlers was magnified by 100 times due to this close proximity to them. I could not contain my laughter because it was hysterical to hear them jubilantly calling out everything on wheels.
We turned away from the main boulevard, around a corner and up a quiet residential street. The noise became a bit more manageable. We decided to examine the budding flowers blossoming near all the trees. This fascinated quite a number of the children particularly because they didn't know the names of the flowers (daffodils, lilacs, impatiens, etc.). We then looked in on a couple of the businesses, waved to the owners and patrons, and explained what the people inside those offices and shops did. One particular child, who incidentally is always late to school, pointed out where she lived. It was eye-opening to everyone and horrifying to the child's mother that she was being ratted out.
The best part of the whole field trip was my daughter. Not only because she's my cutie and I got to share this moment with her, but also because she's shamelessly in love with dogs. As we walked around the block, she must have stopped to put her hand out to every dog. She wanted them all to sniff her so she could pet them. She did this unabashedly. She didn't care that her friend was scared out of her mind by every dog. My daughter also did not notice that I had to switch pairs so that her partner would not have a panic attack. She just thought all the dogs were 'cute' or 'fuzzy' and she wanted to pet them.
When we finally returned to the school entrance, the parents and teacher attempted to take a group picture. This was quite a challenge. I alone had 25 pictures of the children and in each one, at least one of the children was either hiding, not smiling, crying or running away from the group. It made me appreciate the work that the teachers do every day. There are moments where I really can not handle one child and yet, these teachers work with at most 20 different personalities on a daily basis. And they do it effortlessly and often, with no complaints.
Although the trip lasted no more than a half hour, I know I will not forget it because:
1) My ears haven't yet recovered from all the screaming
2) It's a memory of a day at school with my daughter that I so frequently get to experience.