Monday, November 02, 2009

The JK Halloween party

Liam's class had a Halloween party on Thursday afternoon, and some time ago his teacher sent out the call for parent volunteers. I booked the afternoon off work and signed up lickety-split. I didn't have any meetings or major commitments to worry about, and once winter hits, my involvement at work typically peaks. I figured I should do it while I had the chance.

I was so excited about this, because I was dying to spy on Liam in the school environment and see what his days are like, what the other kids are like, what his interaction with them is like, etc. We dressed him in orange and black that morning, as per his teacher's request (his class was not allowed to wear costumes) and I pulled out my Halloween shirt, too. Mallory was invited to wear her costume to Cindy's again that day and when she saw Liam and I having our picture taken, she decided to get in on the action, too. Note that in the mad scramble to get out the door that morning, we were unable to find her proper princess tights and shoes (we did locate them in time for Halloween!)

The party was scheduled to start at 2 and I was asked to come in at 1:45 to receive my instructions. The party consisted of the class rotating through different activity centers. Receiving my instructions was pretty quick so I had lots of time to spy on Liam, who was out on the playground for recess. My heart was in my throat as I arrived at the school and first saw him. Would he be playing with other kids or would he be all alone? I saw a bit of both. He was doing some crazy running around on the play equipment, but was also hanging pretty tightly with a pack of little boys at times. I got the sense that things were good.

When the kids came into the classroom after recess, I got a lot of out-of-the-corner-of-his-eye stolen glances. Not a lot of outright recognition until later in the afternoon. I was struck by Mrs. Garrow's classroom presence, the way she had the kids organize the coatroom before being allowed into the classroom, the songs and routines she had clearly established. I quickly picked out the boys whose names I have heard most often at home: Malcolm, Aidan and Nathan. They all seemed like nice kids. There was one kid who was a bit aggressive for my tastes and it didn't surprised me that he is not one of Liam's closest friends. I took advantage of having small numbers of kids rotate through my center each time to try to learn a bit about them. Besides memorizing the faces and names - which I am absolutely awful at, by the way - I tried to suss out who is JK and who is SK since the class is a split. (On the bad news side, I think that all 3 of Liam's friends are SK - meaning there is no chance of them being together again next year.)

By the end of the party, Liam was deliberately trying to catch my eye. The very last thing the kids did was hand out their treats to one another, which was utter mayhem. Although Liam had told me earlier that he did not want to take treats in to his classmates (AFTER I had bought and assembled them), he got a kick out of handing them out and almost all the kids reciprocated. I am glad that he got to participate in the handing out activity.

Before I knew it, it was 3:15 and the kids were getting coats and outdoor shoes on, and the bus kids were heading in one direction and the after school program kids were going in another direction and the parents who were picking kids up were clogging up the door. Liam was being pokey in getting his stuff together because he was busy running his mouth to me about all the activities he had done in the other centers. Finally, we were the last ones left with Mrs. Garrow. She looked like she was getting ready to leave and I finally told Liam to stop talking and get his stuff together because he could tell me all about it once we got in the car to go pick up Mallory. And Mrs. Garrow interrupted me to say no, let him speak - she had never heard him say so much at once before, and she thought it was wonderful.


Dawn said...

so sweet!!! Eric volunteered on Halloween at Noah's class, I was sorry to miss it. :o(

Dana said...

Glad Liam is fitting in so well at school. Mrs. Garrow sounds like she is a terrific teacher and just right for Liam.