Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Keeping it ever so seemly.

Last night was a lovely night and this morning was a beautiful morning. Anne and Iris both chuckling and even I was staggering about and smiling by twenty past seven. Knowing Sean had made Hazel's lunch and I'd done a nice job of shopping for the Playcentre morning tea, I figured I had time enough for cleanliness so I even got the washing on the line despite wanting to be at Playcentre pretty early in order to help everything go smoothly for Alan Johnson's visit. Considering that I was preparing to have the UK State Secretary for Education and Skills come to visit intending to learn something from my work I thought I had done a fine job to keep the flap at a reasonably normal level.

But when we walked into Hazel's classroom sitting in her beloved teacher's place was someone else! Hazel became clingier and clingier as the new person, who had actually taught me on occasion when I was a pupil at that school, tried to make friendly conversation. When it came time for me and Iris to leave Hazel totally did her nut. Her beloved, and quite experienced, teacher said that, in her experience, the best course of action was to just leave. So I gave Hazel my jacket as a transitional object and Iris and I left. We heard Hazel's cries all the way out the gate and down the street.

"Hazel does want her little sister but we are going away Mummy!"

I was concerned too; the beloved teacher wasn't there when I was given that advice at a creche and Hazel screamed the place down all afternoon and then went from a pleasantly independent 15 month-old to a dramatically clingy one and stayed like that for a couple of years. Neither was she there when I was given that advice at swimming lessons and she wouldn't put her head under the water for the next year and a half.

Fortunately Playcentre was in good shape despite me being 25 minutes late. The kids and visitors had a beautiful peaceful session (at Karen and Nigel's wedding someone said that a good marriage was like swans gliding across the lake, beautiful, serene and the product of madly paddling orange duck feet under the surface; the session was like that). I'm not sure that Alan Johnson got what we are though; Playcentre is not a play group. Playcentre is an organised pedagogical movement in Early Childhood Education, as are Steiner and Montessori, Playcentre's unique features are that it is based on free play in a rich environment, it is native to New Zealand, and it is run as a parent volunteer co-operative. Play groups are groups where kids play together while adults talk, they are unlikely to be licensed ECE providers).

I rang the school and they said Hazel had settled in 3 minutes, and was busy and happy in her class, that she played happily at play-lunch, and at lunch, and that other kids looked after her.

She was let out of class first because she'd been so brave and I gave her a flower and got a huge hug, she gave me the jacket (which she had been wearing around her neck) back, then she sniffed the flower, rejected it, read me her homework book, said something to her teacher and we set off for home.

I think I need to play some Ultimate; get me ya-yas out. But for now ... housework!

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Blogger RUTH said...

Go Hazel! Independence is such a fine thing.

5:08 PM  

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