Monday, April 10, 2006

The Montessori Redemption

Hannah goes to a great school. She really likes it. Her teacher is wonderful, the class size is just right and they have a great playground out in back. In fact, I think it's the playground she likes the best. Scratch that. I know it is the playground she likes best. And I'm talking the actual ground on which she plays, not the equipment.

Oh sure, they've got a really nice swing set, a red car and a blue car. They've also got that industrial strength play equipment that only the really nice playgrounds have. It comes in several large sections with stairs, slides, monkey bars. It's bright red, yellow and blue. Someone was nice enough to donate it to the school. It is really nice.

But what Hannah really likes is the ground on which it sits. I'm talking about the pea gravel. It's all over the place. How do I know this? Because every day she brings a pocket full of pea gravel home with her to keep in her "collection".

She's brought so much of it home over the past year that I'm beginning to think she's trying to dig a tunnel from the playground to the Sonic down the street. She loves Sonic too, though I think she's only been there once before.

I don't think she's caught on yet, but Hannah's collection doesn't seem to grow. She often brings home two pockets full of rocks, which I in turn return to the school playground each week. I feel like Andy Dufresne from Shawshank Redemption.

On the mornings when the kids are outside before school begins I find myself shuffling my feet on the ground as I head to the clipboard to sign Hannah in for the day. As I shuffle along I subtly drop the rocks in my pockets back to the ground from whence they came. My shoes may get dusty, but this is where the rocks belong.

I'm sure she'll have more collections throughout the years, I just hope whatever she takes from school for a new collection is small enough to fit in my pockets so I can return them as needed. I'd hate to have to get special pants made.

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