Kindergarten was pretty laid back when I was 5 years old. We weren’t pressured to actually learn anything; it was more of a social experiment. If we didn’t know basic shapes, colors or letters, our teacher assumed we’d learn what we needed from Sesame Street. So instead of being stressed, we played for a year before the harsh reality of First Grade kicked in.
My teacher was the amazing Miss Hansen at Viewmont Elementary–and I wanted to marry her. She was pretty, smart, fun and full of ideas to keep a room full of curtain climbers entertained for four hours every day.
Here are some important things I learned in kindergarten:
- Don’t eat snow. After watching us eat snowballs, Miss Hansen got out her handy-dandy hot plate, dumped a pile of snow in a pot, and melted it so we could see what we were eating. Floating in the melted snow were various items including gravel, a rodent skeleton and the bumper of a VW Beetle. I haven’t eaten snow since.
- Boys are strange creatures. When I started kindergarten, I hadn’t been blessed with my little brother yet. He wasn’t even a naughty grin on my dad’s face. So encountering boys on a daily basis induced several levels of culture shock. Boys made weird sounds. They banged dump trucks into my ankles. They ran around with no purpose. And they thought the word “poop” was literary genius. Turns out, boys didn’t change much as I got older.
- Sitting incorrectly is dangerous. If you lean back in your chair you’ll fall over, break your neck and end up in a wheelchair forever. This horrifying lesson stayed with me long after kindergarten graduation. I still think of Miss Hansen when I see somebody balancing on the back legs of a chair.
- Coconut milk is pretty nasty. During the spring, Miss Hansen planned a faux class trip to Hawaii. We drew pictures of what we’d pack (swimming suit and candy), made leis (nobody snickered), went on a “plane trip” and had a sip of coconut milk. And promptly spit that crap out.
- It’s okay to wear pants. I wore dresses all the time. It gave me the illusion I was a sweet little girl. My dad bought me a new dress for kindergarten and I wore that blue dress with the attached red apron until it fell apart. But, before the annual zoo trip, Miss Hansen insisted everyone wear pants. I was shocked. And then I discovered I loved pants! I could climb without boys looking up my dress (see Boys Are Strange Creatures)! Haven’t worn a dress since.