After years of partying with little learners, I've decided that what sets a kindergarten classroom apart from the others is its atmosphere of celebration. Hand-crafted snowflakes dangling from the ceiling applaud the arrival of winter. Carefully-cut valentines plastered across the walls celebrate the month of love. A bulletin board covered with family snapshots hail the student named "star of the week." Kindergarteners celebrate dentists, policemen, firefighters and changing seasons. They rejoice over correctly-spelled words, rightly-laced shoes, and single straight lines. And who leads the happy flocks of children in daily celebration? A uniquely gifted person whom I've come to regard with awe: the kindergarten teacher.
Simply stated, kindergarten teachers KNOW HOW TO PARTY! This rare and precious breed of educators has learned to capitalize on a secret that we moms would be wise to heed. Children love to celebrate! One step into a kindergarten classroom confirms this simple truth: if there's a child on hand, there's a celebration waiting in the wings. Children don't need a Hallmark holiday to justify a party, they merely celebrate life as they go.
When my firstborn was eighteen months old, I applied this simple principle to parenthood. I was growing weary of the monotonous routine of our days- laundry, dusting, naps and legos. We led a simple and quiet life, but the boredom factor raged high some days. As spring approached, I longed to infuse our little world with the freshness of the changing season. Reaching back to my teaching days of bulletin boards and crayola creations, I purchased a tablet of colored paper and went to work. Soon construction paper flowers hung from the ceiling above our kitchen table. As God colored the world outside of our window with tulips, daffodils, and blooming pear trees, we colored the world inside of our apartment with flower fingerpaintings and pipe-cleaner bouquets. We ate flower-shaped peanut butter sandwiches and placed bean seeds in a dixie cup filled with dirt. The next time we strolled around the neighborhood, I plucked some soft silky petals for Lukas to hold. He touched, smelled and tasted nature's beauty while I silently thanked God for the gift of spring. My quest to celebrate had begun.