Adventures in Grade School Art

I had a great morning.  It was a day that really brought home how important the little things can be when you pay attention. 

I spent an hour volunteering in Big Dude’s class.  I got to play with the laminater and re-create the song book the kids use regularly.  I got to create a spring themed bulletin board that showcased the kids’ art.  What I lack in artistic talent I more than made up for in sheer volume (it looked a bit like spring threw up on the wall, but it was fun).

Mostly what I got was an insight into Big Dude’s day.  Having now started school, he spends so much time away from me that I don’t know what happens for much of his day anymore.  Spending an hour in the classroom means I now understand what he means when he tells me his friend ‘moved down to red’ (a disciplinary tool) or what being a detective means (a reading/letter recognition exercise).

It is also gratifying to know that Big Dude still wants me part of his day.  He jumped up and down repeatedly this morning when I told him I was coming to class, and when I actually arrived his face lit up in a way that made my heart ache.

When I was stapling up one of the many ladybugs that adorned my art display I got to talking to one of the other teachers (the same one, by the way, who was trepidatious about teaching Big Dude for fear of showing up in this blog as The Teacher – there’s no way around it C!).  She told me how great she and the other teachers thought parent volunteers where and how happy the kids where to see parents in the school. 

This is probably going to sound a bit Pollyanna-ish and maybe it is easy to say for those of us who don’t work out of the house full time, but I truly think all parents should try to make the time to get into their kids class, even just once.  It broadens my understanding of Big Dude’s day, it forges a connection between myself and his teacher, it gives me an idea of how he relates to the other kids in his class and it shows Big Dude that I am a part of his education.

I know, it IS easier for me.  I work from home and only part-time at that.  I am lucky enough that I get to do this twice a month.  I am grateful for that freedom and know that not everyone has it.  That said, the sign-in sheet at the school this morning showed at least one working dad was in the school at the same time as me.

I’m not trying to preach here… I just really enjoyed my time this morning and can see the great value in my being there.  I don’t want to spend all my time cutting paper and photocopying lessons, but a few hours a month is a great way to stay involved and show my support to both Bid Dude and his teacher.

To top it off I got a note home from the teacher this afternoon telling me how thrilled the kids where to see their art so prominently displayed in the front hall of the school.

A pretty great way to spend an hour, I think.

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