~While we try to teach our children about life, our children teach us what life is all about.~
A child’s mind is not about reality, but rather about the make-belief. The belief that the doll or truck they play with has a mind and feelings of its own. A child takes an adult down memory lane when they too once did not know how to blow a bubble or tie their shoe. A child is the root to love, peace, and happiness. A child teaches about the value life has and the simple things that truly matter. A child warps from clueless innocence into knowledgeable chaos.
Kindergarten- The road base to success starts at the front door of a kindergarten classroom. A frighten child cries as their parent parts with them for the first time, a passing phase that’s all it is. As weeks continue on the tears become smiles and a cheerful wave goodbye. Colors, letters, and numbers are all introduced into the life of a 5 year old. “I know how to spell my name. K-E-L-L-Y.” A 5 year old shares all that their brain has bolted in. It is a time when a child loves and cherishes the time spent with any individual. They smother people with hugs because it is their ways of showing thanks for all that you have done/ do for them.
First Grade- The golden rule of kindness. This is a 6 year olds stage in life where wiggling is the only language they truly can convey. It is a time of learning respect and how to have fun yet make good choices when doing so. It is a time when they develop their own mind and opinion that they will carry with them for years to come. It is a time for the areas of learning are introduced. It is when they smash letters together and make words longer than 2 syllables. It is when numbers are added together to increase in size. It is a moment when color is more than just a crayon or a favorite.
Second and Third Grade- The years of favorites. It is a time when all elements of school are cherished. The child not only is kind, loving, but now is developing goals and plans. Every subject is a favorite to one child or another. It is the root to their careers. Some want to be scientists, astronauts and firemen; while others want to be police, teachers, actors, athletes, or even the president. They have no limits to the life that they live. Nothing holds them back from meshing reality with their make believe. It is a time of transition from hugs to high fives to handshakes and fist bumps.
Fourth and fifth grade- The years of unleashed beasts. It is life starts to become tough. Homework is more than just a coloring page or a sentence. It is when the tough guy act is unbelted and kindness evaporates. Peers develop into both leaders and followers. It is when the time presents itself to which path should be taken. It is when fitting in matters and standing out is weird. A time of firsts began to sink in, first girlfriend, boyfriend, best friend, and kiss. It is those times remembered as “what was I thinking”. It is the twist of feeling equal to being stereo typed and criticized for the choices made.
Sixth grade- The year of changes. It is a time when not only the mind changes but the body follows suit. It is a time when hormones are raging and girls dramatic senses are soaking in. It is when a child comes to terms that they no longer are children but growing youth. It is when homework consumes hours after school. It is a change from spelling words to the skills of literature, reading, and writing all applying to the same paper. Sixth grade year is a time when in most cases, the school, faces, and teachers are all new. It is a time when the mouth becomes mute because shyness arouses from feeling subordinate in a class full of upper classmen.
Seventh grade- A feeling of being jammed in. It is a time when hopefulness of ever leaving becomes irrelevant. It is when the teenager realizes they are stuck here for a few more years and they may as well enjoy it. It is a time when listening is replaced by hearing and teachers become a nascence rather than a tool for knowledge. It is a time when rumors are shared and love is rare. Seventh grade is when a career choice changes because of the lack of want to put forth that type of effort into their education. It is when bad behavior becomes acceptable and being a nerd isn’t. It is when a 13 year old values friend time more than family and a time when pictures are shoved into a box for future laughs.
Eighth grade- moving on. It is a time when the same child that at one time afraid to leave their parents arms now long for ways to get out. It is a time when morals come to play from what is good from bad and right from wrong. It is a time to test the limits and see how far others can be pushed. It is when rules are firm and window frames are broken, yet a lesson is learned. It is a time of development from being senseless to wise and bold. It is the stepping stones for the future, job, car, grades, personality, and most of all goals and limits. It is a time when life becomes bittersweet because there is no longer an excuse of being a child but now the freedom to being responsible and making choices of their own.
In one single day and 30 minutes spent with each class Deisy and I got to see the transitions of life at play. Antonito Elementary is a school that stretches from kindergarten to eighth grade. It was astonishing to be able to witness the transformation from class to class and child to child. Although our time was limited with each grade it was time well spent. We both were able to witness the differences of age groups and effective methods to which we could get them involved. I must say it was my favorite outreach yet because although the day was long, the number of students we reached went beyond the measures of any other group we have met. It was great to see the smiling face and the wheels turn as new facts were learned. I will forever cherish the numerous hugs I received and the growing number of thank you’s as the day went on. I feel honored to be able to touch the lives of such little hearts. I never knew the feeling of impacting a child until now. I must say it has changed my life in every way possible, not only on my outlook but also in the way I present myself. I realize now that no matter where I go there is always someone watching and most of all someone looking up to me. Children observe the way their role models talk, walk, and act and began to follow suit. It was not until I seen a kid from a previous outreach outside of the classroom and how excited he was to see me that it truly sunk in that I, myself am making a difference, even if it is in the eyes of a child it’s a change made and a future that is bound to be that much more environmentally successful.