By Jarrod Green
Inspired by Stacey's piece, "Baby Birds," we took her first line as a prompt at our June meeting. We all wrote pieces that began "This is the time of year when . . ." The results were a delightful mix of humor and heartfelt reflection.
In March and April at preschool there’s a lull, a false sense of security, that is in no way mitigated by the knowledge that May and June are coming.
When I went to college in Rhode Island every year there was a week in February when the sun would come out and all the snow would start to melt and we’d all wear t-shirts, ignoring—by senior year, willfully ignoring—the fact that a hard freeze was only days away and we were all guaranteed to slip on the ice and bruise our tailbones. That’s March and April at preschool. The kids are older, more confident and competent, comfortable but not yet cocky. The teachers have worked out the kinks in the system, and their relationships with the kids have gotten reliably fun. The administrators have crossed a lot off the year’s to-do list, and there’s still enough time to get the rest of it done. The weather is fine, and we’re all wearing t-shirts.
Now it’s mid-June, though, and despite the uncomfortably humid weather, we’re in the metaphorical hard freeze. There are some joyful moments of course, seeing projects wrap up and children reach milestones—the snowball fights and hot cocoa evenings of my college days, so to speak. But (he said, continuing to torture the analogy) it’s hard to ignore the icy streets and the knee-deep snow that makes walking anywhere a dangerous, tiring slog. Teachers are stressed by the tasks yet to do and the limited time in which to do them. Children are alternately cranky because they’re hot and sweaty and cranky because they played in the water and now their clothes are wet. Administrators are spending more of our time putting out fires—or, whatever, thawing frozen pipes—and less of our time getting things done that have to be done before the end of the year. There hasn’t been a day this week when I’ve accomplished even half my required to-do list, and there hasn’t been a moment I haven’t been doing something urgent.
We’re all looking forward to summer. It’s only, god help us, two and a half weeks away, but it feels like I’m back in college, trudging to class on a dark gray morning, watching my breath freeze, and thaw, and refreeze on my scarf. June at preschool can be a long, cold winter.