Friday, 2 December 2011

Mum the Volunteer

Tara's been excited all of last week. Her Mum has volunteered to help out at school this afternoon.

I walked into her school at 1:30 p.m. not knowing what was expected of me, or what exactly I was supposed to do. I was met at the playground by Tara who ran into my arms screaming 'MUMMY'. She was closely followed by a few other children who were looking at me, while Tara said, 'I told you my Mummy would come....I told you' She hugged me again with pride in her eyes that I hadn't let her down. I couldn't believe that children as young as four and five were so socially sensitive.

I excused myself and explained that I had to let her teacher know I was here. Formalities done, I was assigned the task of making something artsy-craftsy for Christmas for 16 children, four at a time. I really appreciated the fact that the teacher picked Tara for the first group, and also asked her to sit next to me while I started the activity. It was a sensitive thing to do,  almost like letting the child with a birthday sit on a special throne at their birthday party.

I was pretty impressed at how I handled the kids, as was Tara who periodically came up to me for a special hug... reassurance perhaps that she was still my special girl. There were additional perks for Tara as her Mum was allowed to help her with her coat and book bags etc. I of course helped the other children too. Needless to say Tara was very pleased with the whole experience and my performance. I also think she had climbed a notch or two in the popularity charts, as some of the girls asked if they could come over to Tara's house to play.

From my point of you, I got a chance to take a peek into Tara's world, from the inside. I observed some of Tara's routines, like changing coats, tidying up and finding their way around a school playground full of noisy, boisterous but reasonably well behaved children of varying ages. I also noticed the dynamics of children's groups, the survival of the fittest, and struggles of the weak.

Im glad I went in today, and recommend that every parent does it from time to time. Its a learning experience, that's well worth the time and effort. For me, my reward was the smile and pride I saw on Tara's face as she went home with her Mum, who 'wore a nice dress and shoes.' Tara's words not mine.

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