Oh to be Four Again: The Antidote to Hamster Wheel-er-itus

Ever wish you could shed the heavy-weighted baggage of adulthood and go back to being four? 

Well several weeks ago, I had the privilege of doing just that.  Well sort of.  I was still 40.  But I did get to fix my gaze on PK4 students and feel the flow of their morning. And it was packed with activity and yet also somehow incredibly relaxing. 

 Here is a non-exhaustive photo and transcription account of what I encountered:

I started my day with the smooth, soft start of choice. Want to read a book about spiders and talk incessantly about so many spider facts that the adult listening feels inferior? Consider it done. Want to paint a butterfly? Got you covered. Want to go up that loft and try on fifteen dresses before 8am? Have at it. That is . . . until the pledge starts. Then I found myself, Pavlovian-like, being carried to my square on the circle to say the pledge, take roll, and shout out whether I was hot lunch, lunch box, or half day.

Now that we found ourselves in a circle, we might as well take advantage of the delightful but oh-so-fleeting attention spans that mark 8am. “What letter does butterfly start with?”

Okay enough of that. Let’s get back to play.

“How do you untangle this?”

“What color does white and red make when you blend them?”

More spider facts. And volcano-larva facts. And then, more spider facts.

Oh and don’t forget these guys up here.

The chime goes off. It is only 8:25am.

A flurry of clean up.

“What day of the week is it?” “FREE PLAY!” Nope. That’s the activity we started with this morning.

“I love art science!”

“Turn your bodies back this way. Take a deep breath. Some beautiful ready, set, go.”

“Who is the leader? Door holder? Caboose today?”

“If today is Wednesday, yesterday was . . .”

“FRIDAY!” Nope. “Tomorrow we will say tomorrow is Friday!”

“Now the weather report. How did it feel outside today?”

“Yesterday we rolled our ball to greet each other. Today we are going to do something else that starts with B to greet each other . . .”

BOW! “But I want to do it like a princess!”

“That’s a curtsy. Maybe when we talk about C.”

It’s also “wave it out Wednesday!”

“We are now doing our listening activity; you listen to what I do and then you do it.”

“Take a minute. Check your body.”

Rhyming words! Blending words! Compound words!

“Now to get our wriggles out! Oh no- I can’t find the right song on the CD!”

“It’s okay! We love you anyway!”

Switching classrooms.

“Do you know what it’s like for your parents when they come see your PK4 Sing?”

“It’s like taking off the wrapping paper of the most ginormous gift ever- the biggest gift they’ve ever had is your beautiful VOICE!”

“TOMORROW fall starts . . . Tomorrow we are gonna say BYE BYE to summer. What is another word for the new season besides fall? Let’s read a book about fall, one that I loved to read with to my children when they were young!”

“Time for us to go potty and go outside!”

“This is our string family!”


“Why are you pretending you’re crying?” “WE DON’T KNOW!” WAHHHHHHHHH

Meanwhile back inside . . .

Let’s say our blessing!

“The Ants Go Marching . . . ” 3 at a time excused from the circle to get snack!

“Sit by me! I love these!”

“If you have a book out, shut it tight! If you have a MOUSE on your book, you may put it up and line up. Time for music!”

“Who can march REALLY high? Thumb’s up if you are ready!”

Meanwhile in another co-curricular . . .

“You made la Luna feel very safe!”

“Remember we don’t touch our friends we don’t want to get our germs on them!”

“Let’s take one rainbow breath to calm our bodies! Air hug .. . I can feel that air hug!”

“Now that we’ve had time with puzzles, let’s join the circle! Criss cross applesauce. Ms. Rubinski is going to bring you FOUR BUTTONS!”

“Pete the Cat! Take your buttons off and count with the book! 4 minus 1 is . . . “


“Okay great work! Now I’m going to open up upstairs, the dollhouse, legos!”

[Insert massive giggles and potty humor whoops.]

Meanwhile in another classroom . . . some are doing this:

While others are doing this:

And across the hallway it is clear center time:

And in yet another classroom, children are choosing to either:

But now it’s time for show and tell. So everyone needs to put things away.

“If you have shoes, put them in the cubby so I know you are ready for show and tell!”

“Tell your friend, ‘I don’t like it when you punch me there.'”

“Okay, now we will share what we brought that starts with B! If yours isn’t chosen, take a big breath and know that there is always next time!”

“Can you all say Barbie?”

“I’m so excited! Are you so excited?!”

“That’s gorgeous!”

“When I “wink” at you it will be your turn to get up and get ready for lunch. . . . so watch my face closely!”


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