By Vita Forest
On Thursday, Darcy became the most popular kid in the class when he was able to correctly describe what a “long shot” was, thus earning the class their one-hundredth marble in the jar, and hence their first “marble treat” of the year.
Due to peanut allergies, dairy intolerances and a desire to encourage healthy eating habits, I don’t do food rewards. Instead we do experiences, and one of the best of these was passed on to me by my friend and colleague Betty. The whole class gets a little early-mark for lunch and takes lunchboxes, drink bottles and hats (and sometimes even picnic rugs) and ventures through a gate, into a lovely grassy park-like area, beneath some shady paperbark trees, for a private picnic. This area is usually “out of bounds” as it is located behind the school hall (and therefore out of sight of teachers on playground duty), so stepping onto this hallowed grass is highly exciting for 5 – 7 year olds.
So as Friday lunchtime approached, we took our provisions and set forth in two lines beyond the gate and into “out of bounds”…
The kids sat beneath the trees and pulled out their sandwiches and sushi. A gentle breeze wafted through the gathering and some kids looked up through the leaves to the sky beyond.
“Look at the clouds! It looks like an ice-skate!”
“I think it’s a dragon breathing smoke!”
“No, it’s an elephant, it has a trunk…”
“I think it looks like an atomic bomb,” The last from a very worldly seven year old.
And it was. We watched the cloud pictures blow about, the breeze obviously stronger up there than down here on Earth.
When eating was done, there were handstands and cartwheels from the girls (even a one-handed one from Desiree). The boys started a game of Survivor Tip, dodging each other around the tree trunks. There were smiles and shouts and laughing and squeals and everyone playing together.
Then the bell rang and it was time to go back and join the rest of the school again.
“I wish we could just stay out there,” someone said wistfully as we crossed back “in bounds”. It was very tempting, for me too.
All it took was fifteen minutes, but what a refreshing little break we had.