Punching the Clock: Play time

I love kids. So spending the afternoon at the YMCA pre-school and after school programs as a volunteer was a lot of fun for me. It would be difficult to find a staff of more understanding and kind-hearted people than those in the child care business.

My first stop was the preschool class headed by Christine Callea and teacher’s assistant Kim Martinson. YMCA Executive Director Jamey Mullen introduced me to the class as they were coloring rabbits pieced together by various basic shapes.

We went around the room and I greeted each child. The torturous anticipation of waiting to tell me their name was making some fiddle eagerly in their chairs, but when it was finally their turn, they’d look up, mind blank, then they’d just laugh and get embarrassed.

I sat for a while and admired the impulsive coloring of the pink, yellow and blue bunnies. Christine explained to me that the day was arranged so that much of the learning activities were held in the morning. These often included fun and educational lessons that help teach recognition of shapes, colors or letters, increase motor control along with several other rudimentary skills. The class is balanced between group projects and individual expression.

Most of the scholastic part of pre-school takes place in the a.m., so I got to play with the kids for most of the afternoon. Christine and I walked the class to the Kid’s Gym. This is an intricate system of tunnels, slides, bridges and padding. It’s the same idea as those gerbil cage attachments you can buy to create mazes and such, except on a larger scale designed for four-year-olds and Evening Sun reporters. What a wonderful place it was for a child’s imagination to explode.

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