Monday, July 12, 2010

This might kill me

Yesterday evening, Olivia and I attended the first of five vacation Bible school classes. I have made the following observations about this particular program and how my child fits into it.

1. In a room full of three- and four-year-olds, my child (aged 2 years and eight months) is taller than 85%. And heavier. And stronger. And has half the attention span.

2. This VBS program was not designed with three- and four-year-olds in mind. It has five different activities: Crafts, Music, Snack, Games and Story Time. Each age group cycles to a different activity every 20 minutes or so. We found out quickly that, for most activities, 20 minutes was WAY TOO MUCH TIME FOR THIS AGE GROUP. We'd spend 8-10 minutes doing the activity. The remainder of the time we'd either be herding twenty impatient children into a very small classroom to color the same picture AGAIN, or we'd be chasing them down as they tried to run around the building or parking lot. I can understand why there are something like 15 adult volunteers to handle JUST THIS ROOM. Still, it's not quite enough.

3. Our group did the activities in the order listed above. Snack was well timed...right in the middle. But everything else was a little wacky. Especially games and story time. The game started with a demonstration of different types of soil (rocky, weedy, etc) since the lesson for the day was the parable of the sower and seed. But since we hadn't yet heard the lesson in story time, the kids didn't get it and spent all the time plunging their hands into buckets of sand and dirt. And then they were put in two lines to "compete" in a relay race wherein they would each run to each of the four buckets and "plant" (drop) some seeds in, run back and tag the next person on their team. This seemed kind of stupid to me because it was strangely disconnected from the story. Why on earth would I bother putting seeds in this weedy bucket if they aren't going to grow? I wouldn't have blamed any one of those kids if they had run straight to the bucket of potting soil, threw all of their seeds in, and then ran back to their team. Except they wouldn't have done that because none of them knew the point of the story yet.

4. Also, have you TRIED to get three- and four-year-olds to stand still in line and wait their turn? And get them to stand still AGAIN after they get back from their turn. Yeah. It doesn't work so well.

5. And whose bright idea was it to give the youngest group the LAST story time? By the time they finished all of those other activities, they were too fried to pay any attention to the story. I felt sorry for the lady reading and trying to get the kids to focus. And I tried not to laugh at the futile effort as I chased my kid around the parking lot (where story time was held) for the entire duration of the story.

6. Evening wouldn't have been my preference for VBS, at least for this age group. We meet from 5:30 - 8:15 p.m. I know it's more convenient for working parents, but trying to get little ones to work as a group this late in the day? Not so easy.


It was apparent to me, too, that Olivia is more...shall we say, high spirited...than ALL OF THE OTHER KIDS. I'm starting to really think that she may need some help learning to focus before we approach the idea of school. Anyone have any recommendations about how we might go about having her evaluated?

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