Puppets, Finger Paints, and the Jackson 5: Our Year In A Co-op Playschool.

Harper got her diploma from playschool yesterday. I arrived to pick her up a few minutes before the end of class and could hear Cyndi, their awesome teacher, calling their names to get their certificates, and I thought about how the school year was over, and how our little dudes had just completed their first school experience, and how hard we all worked to make the school happen, and how we’d talked so long ago about what we wanted it to be and then made it just that, warm and nurturing and imaginative and positive, and how they loved it so much, and what a nice group of increasingly civilized little beasts they were… I really was about to tear up – and then Kim, the mom who was the helper, popped out of the school room with some empty snack cups, a harried look on her face, and said something like, “Oh man. They are so baaaaad today.” Oh well. That’s kids for you. Just when you’re so full of the purest love, so full you think you’ll float to the ceiling and then burst, they act like total dicks and just chew on your heart for a while. It’s probably for the best. Otherwise we’d be so lovey and goony and overly permissive and we would never let them sleep.

I feel so thankful to have gotten connected with all these awesome families and kids.  And I’m so glad we did the co-op. Harper definitely was ready for something schooly, and really has thrived with the structure and socialization and color freeze dance. The half-day ended up being perfect for her, too – she’s pretty strung out after those three hours, and basically unable to deal with anyone other than Murray for a while. (Murray who has been stomping into the apartment and threatening to steal princess bandaids, by the way — what a jerk of an imaginary friend he is sometimes.)

The Best Things About Greenwood Playschool:

1)   It is the prettiest playschool in the world. I mean, if you were 3, wouldn’t you want to go to school in a lovely house with a yard full of play equipment and fluffy hydrangeas? And, ah, across the street from a cemetery? OBVIOUSLY YES.

2)   Circle time. Harper rushed home to play circle time with her cubbies every day after school for about the first four months. (Now they’re more into this psychedelic mashup of ballet, Cinderella, getting married, and Miss Spider’s tea party.) Sitting on the adorable quilted spots our host mother (that makes us sound like leeches, which we are…not?) made, fighting over the pink one, discussing various topics of great importance like the color of the week or the weather, and hearing a story? Does it get better? I ask you.

3)   If you ask the kids, the answer to that last question would be: yes, it does get better. AT SNACK TIME. These kids, several of them avowed non-eaters, get crazy with snack time. Snack time is the greatest thing ever. It’s like the toddler equivalent of going for drinks with friend; they all get happy and solicitous all the sudden. It’s funny to me now at first we marveled that they sat at the table and ate their crackers and drank water from their cups without lids. That just shows me how far they’ve come, that in September that seemed impossible. What monsters!

4)   Music. Whether it’s free time, dance time, jump-up-and-down time (an important part of the curriculum particularly in those wilder times of the first semester), or that precious color freeze dance time, these kids regularly rocked out to The Ramones and The Jackson 5.  And that is a Brooklyn playschool co-op for you right there.

5)   Cyndi. I mean, she made this school what it is: fun, playful, high energy, imaginative. Every time I was the helper I was amazed at her patience with dickish kid moves that made me immediately slip into pissed-mom-voice. She’s so good at what she does. And obviously she’s also a comic, a puppeteer, and fluent in Spanish. And she thinks of really good art projects.

Which makes me extra happy that we are rebooting for next year.  I can only assume that our experiences with Brooklyn pre-K, public schools and beyond will be just as sensitive, imaginative, nurturing, and joyful.  Rrrrrrrright?

2 responses to “Puppets, Finger Paints, and the Jackson 5: Our Year In A Co-op Playschool.

  1. Greenwood Playschool rocks! I was a visitor only 2 times, but was also very impressed. AND two of Beth’s siblings (Emily’s Uncle Rick and Aunt Shelly) also visited. We’re glad there’s such an open door policy! Cyndi is great, and it is obvious the kiddies love her.

  2. Pingback: Kitchen Table Math Drop-Outs | household words – amy shearn and her blog.

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