Little guy, you’ve almost completed your first year of kindergarten. You began the year with maybe 200 words and approximations of words and were just beginning to put two words together. We sent you off into that little adventure land of bricks and play dough, painting and stories, animals and climbing frames, dirt pits and sand pits a little uncertain as to how you would cope. At the end of each day I would ask,”What did you do today?” And you would say,”Play.” That was it. One little word to sum up an entire day, unlike the avalanche of words I would get from your big brother!
I relied on your teacher and teacher aide to give me a little insight into what you were doing and learning. You were quite happy to explore the kindy environment, always busy, always keen to learn things. But I would watch you playing by yourself. You would play beside other kids, but not with them. I wondered if the breakthrough would ever happen – seeing you join in. When I picked you up, the other kids would usually be in a group interacting with the teacher and you would be doing something quietly by yourself, quite content in your own little world. You’ve always been happy to explore things on your own, focussed enough to find enjoyment in it, curious enough that your little mind is occupied without the need for constant companionship.
Yet I hoped you would find a friend.
On one of my roster days, I met Will, a tiny friendly boy who took an interest in you and would play where ever you went. Your favourite part of the playground is the dirt pit. It’s got a shed with toy tools and builder’s helmets. You love tools and you dominated the tools, even before you had the words to do it. I heard that when the tools came out and other kids wanted some, you would sort them out – these are MINE and these are YOURS. Apparently another mum took the tools one day, before being informed,”Don’t touch the tools!” by an anxious teacher aide. You’ve trained ‘em well.
Anyway, Will joined us this day. You were busily building a road. Will played nearby and kept calling out,”Noah, come help do this!” and trying to get your attention and involvement. He asked me why you didn’t talk and I explained that you were still learning but were getting better. I’ve noticed Will greeting you and saying goodbye at the start and end of the day. I even told his mum how special this was.
As the year has progressed, you’ve gained so many words and have been learning the art of putting sentences together. They’re not perfect, but we are getting so much more insight into what you think and do. I’ve seen you making eye contact with other children, speaking to them and even joining in with them – tea parties with the girls, building blocks with the boys. Your language is still limited and makes social interaction difficult, but you are trying hard to engage with your kindy buddies. When you couldn’t explain what you wanted to build to the boys, you ran to the craft table and drew a picture to show them. What a creative and smart way to communicate!
Today Will joined you at the activity table where you were hammering wooden pieces into a cork board and you told me,”This my kindy friend.” It is wonderful that you have a friend. Will has persevered in being a friend, even when you didn’t quite understand what it was to be a friend. You are reaching out to other kids confidently, even when they knock you back a bit because of your speech. You have an enjoyment of all that you do and see the humour in so many things – stories and jokes and games. You have an infectious giggle that gets the other kids laughing too and joining in with your imaginative games. And you have a friend who is not one of the teachers!
And we get to do it all again next year. Kindy has been so much fun, you’re coming back for more. This time you’ll be able to tell me about your day and you’ll be interacting with the other kids from the very beginning in preparation for that next big first day – SCHOOL!
So this year, you’ve found two very important things – your voice and a friend.
Love you lots,