When [my kindergartners] left me, they left me with the most wonderful memories and the imprints of their kisses upon my heart. To me, the blessed little events, the tiny magical moments, and the wonderful quick coincidences were like kisses." -From the IntroductionA former kindergarten teacher, Christine Pisera Naman watched over many classes of five-year-olds as they made their way through the school year and discovered new things about themselves and the world around them. In Caterpillar Kisses, she turns her observations and insights into twelve delightful real-life vignettes, one for each month of the year.
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April 04, 2005
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Excerpt from Caterpillar Kisses by Christine Pisera Naman
The First Day of School
It was the first day of school, the first hour to be exact, and I sat at my desk in the front of the room surveying the class before me. The motley crew of five-year-olds scattered in front of me comprised this year's kindergarten class. The names and faces change from year to year. They are boys and girls, tall and short, plump and thin. They are blonde and brunette and one is always a redhead. Their hair is short and long. Their uniforms are neatly pressed and wrinkled. They come bearing everything but the kitchen sink and they come empty handed. They are always very different from, yet very similar to, last year's class. They are also very different from, yet very similar to, one another. However, although each comes in a unique outer wrapping, inside they are all five-year-olds. And I have always found five-year-olds to be a very good thing.
They sat before me, each coloring a paper caterpillar with their name printed on it. This was one of my favorite "getting to know you" activities. I have found through the years that there is nothing children enjoy more than seeing their name anywhere and everywhere. Printed big, bright, and bold. They enjoy it; they become flattered and proud. "If my name is here, I must belong," their eyes seem to say.
I studied them with interest, noting how uniquely they approached the task assigned to them. Some sat straight and tall, coloring perfectly and confidently inside the lines as if they were modeling for a Norman Rockwell painting, while others looked more like Spanky and the gang from The Little Rascals, disheveled, slouching, and wielding each crayon wildly like a sword.
I rose from my desk and walked around the room offering encouragement with positive words and gentle touches on the shoulder. "These are simply the most beautiful caterpillars I have ever seen," I gushed.