Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Better Late Than Never at the Pumpkin Farm

Caroline's field trip to the pumpkin farm had originally been planned for the week before Halloween, but thanks to the ample rainy weather we've had this fall, they postponed it to yesterday. Thank goodness because it would have been a MESS! However, we were very fortunate to have mild weather for November and the day went off without a hitch.

Probably the funniest part of the day for me was before the field trip even started. I took Caroline to school and hung out until we were ready to leave. Since I was there, I got the full blown morning experience. Seeing the flurry of excitement along with the usual morning chaos is quite interesting especially seeing my child in the mix of it. On one hand she looks so big and on the other she still seems so small. And randomly, I happened to be there when Caroline was made the Star Student of the Week and got to go and say her name and class on the morning announcements. How's that for chance? (Star Student is a school wide behavior program in which each class chooses a student with good behavior to be recognized.) It was so cute to hear her say her ENTIRE name over the loud speaker - most kids only said their first name, but Caroline said first, middle, and last! Then she came back and the teaching assistant took attendance. You'd think this was no big deal, but to kindergartners, it is. Ms. M. went through the list and most kids were saying "here" at the appropriate time. But then I heard a kid say "shark" for his turn and then another kid yelled out "microwave." I wondered what Caroline would do and I was not disappointed.

"Caroline H______?"


What???? Then a few more kids said "here" and a few more random objects were given instead. Nothing like a little bit of fun in kindy-land. Something about this reminded me of a TV show or a movie, but now I can't remember which one.

But then, it was onto field trip prep and the big challenge of the morning was lunches. Oh my gosh, what a mess! Being that Caroline goes to a Title 1 school, there are a lot of students that receive free/reduced priced lunches which means that when they go on a field trip and have to pack, the school will provide a bagged lunch for them. Seems simple, right? Nope. Parents were supposed to write on the permission slip if they were going to provide their child's lunch or if they wanted the school to provide one so I guess some parents said they would provide it, yet then the kids showed up with a lunch and others, whose parents hadn't requested a lunch and they were assumed "packers" showed up with no lunch. It wasn't like they hadn't reminded parents the day before about it! I couldn't believe it. And then as we were going through lunches to make sure that everyone indeed had a lunch, you see all the nasty things people pack their kids and call it a lunch. Some kids didn't even have a drink or if they did bring a "lunch" it was hardly anything. So, the teacher had to get additional bagged lunches to make sure no one went without. I really shouldn't be surprised that parents obviously forgot since going through the take home folders and seeing how many kids had full folders that should be completely empty at the start of a new day meaning that their parents hadn't bothered to look at anything in the folder. WTH people? This tells you why our education system is so problematic - parents don't think they have to do ANYTHING other than get their kid to school - that's their part in their child's education. It's really sad. The teachers/administration can only do so much. Okay, just had to get that out.

So then we got on the bus and the kids were great! Many of them had never ridden a bus before since their school district is so small that they don't have any bus riders. I think that made the trip more exciting. The trip took about a half hour and the kids were psyched when we got there but still were really well behaved.

We spent the morning learning about the farm, animals (I never saw greenish-blue chicken eggs before!), pumpkin growing, and hay vs. straw. We even got tractor/wagon ride out to the pumpkin patch where the kids got to pick their pumpkin. It was really beautiful out there and is where I took C's picture. The kids were really well behaved and very enthusiastic about everything - truly an interest in learning about their experience, which is so refreshing.

The only downside to the day were the yellow jackets. Being that it's later in the season and not really cold, they were out with a vengeance. When we sat down to eat lunch, it really was difficult. Most of the kids were freaked out and then wouldn't eat. A few of them (including Caroline) stood up to eat out in this little field we were next to because the YJs weren't bothering them there, and then they all ended up not really eating and running around instead. But, play is more important than eating to a kindergartner as evidenced by Caroline's bag full of food she brings home most days (although it has gotten better recently since we made the teacher/cafeteria ladies aware).

We were back on the bus just before 1pm and back to school at 1:30, as planned. I'm constantly amazed at early childhood educators and how well they roll with the punches. They really have the patience of saints and clearly have a calling for what they do. I really enjoyed myself too and liked getting to know a bunch of the kids in Caroline's class. One of her good friends, Ashley, is such a sweet girl and told me on the bus ride home that she tries to help Caroline stay on green. She said, "Sometimes she gets on yellow, but I like to help her get back to green." According to Caroline and Ashley, Ashley has never been below green before, so I'm appreciative that Caroline has such a sweet, well behaved friend. As we all know, a lot in school has to do with the friends we make.

Oh and I also got to spend some time chatting with one of my neighbors whose son is in one of the other K classes. In fact, her son is the one that Caroline is currently in a state of puppy love over. His mom is great and we're hoping our kids will be in the same class next year together. We both have our concerns about the fact that the school doesn't have the best reputation in the area and know a lot of people who kind of look down at it and do whatever they can to not send their kids there, but we both are very impressed by the teachers/admin of the school and know how important our parental involvement is in their education. It's nice being on the same page with another parent who feels the same stigma when you tell other people in the neighborhood where you are sending your kids to school. We're doing just fine, thank you!


Jammie J. said...

This was a really interesting read, I enjoyed reading it. :)

I heard/read somewhere that green/bluish eggs are a sign that the hen is a new layers? Not sure if that's true or not.

Heather said...

You would cry if I told you how many kids come to school without lunches---its a daily battle. AND my school doesn't provide lunch! Full folders, also a big problem. I think we are just an overbooked & overscheduled society and need to slow down a bit in life!