Jimmy took a moment to observe the rest of the classroom. Finger-
paintings hung from fishlines on the roof and crayon drawings lined the
windows. Even the door was decorated with a smiley face backdrop on the
Welcome To KR sign. As with the rest of the world, this room
seemed so huge to him. Jim detected the distinctive scent of art and
craft, the nostalgic aroma of a typical kindergarten classroom.
All the children were playing on the floor, a scattered assortment of shy
five-year-olds. Jimmy found the warm, friendly atmosphere reassuring. At
first the concept of standing eye-to-eye with these little children
intimidated him, but there was something about this place that alleviated
that apprehension. He spotted a group of little boys huddled in a corner
playing with blocks and hurried over to join them.
"Hey," Jimmy said. "Can I play wif you guys?"
The first boy looked up and smiled. He was tall for his age, with blond
hair, sky-blue eyes and a lightly freckled face, with a nametag reading
Jake. "Sure," he said. "We're playin' wif twucks."
"And blocks," added a child whose tag read Chris. The red-haired boy was
building an archway of wooden blocks for Jake to destroy with his toy
truck. He accompanied each crash with sound effects.
"Cool!" Jimmy knelt down to join in, happy to be accepted.
"You c'n have tha liddle twuck," the third boy (Danny) said, passing him
a smaller toy.
Jimmy found himself playing and behaving just like a regular child in no
time at all. After a couple of minutes he wasn't even thinking about it,
just acting like any other five-year-old boy would. The stress and
memories of his adult life faded away as he steered the truck and played
on his knees.
He snapped back into focus when Joella knelt down next to him. "I've
gotta go, sweetie," she said. "Will you be all right on your own?"
Jimmy almost felt embarrassed having his mother say goodbye in front of
his new friends, but they didn't seem to notice or care. "'Kay, Mummy,"
he said. She pecked him on the cheek and walked off.
"Okay, children!" Ms. Rose yelled once she was gone. The squeals and
laughter faded throughout the classroom as the kids all turned their
attention towards their new teacher. "Can you all pack up your toys and
come sit in the taped area on the floor, please?"
Jimmy put his truck and a collection of scattered blocks in the container
they came from and hurried to join the rest of the children. He sat on
the carpet between his new friend Jake and a little girl. Soon enough the
taped area on the floor was packed tight with kids.
Once everyone was seated, Ms. Rose addressed the class. She introduced
them to kindergarten and assurred them that 'big school' was nothing to
be afraid of. Jimmy listened attentively as she went through the rules,
telling everyone to cross their legs while sitting down, raise their hand
when they want to speak and always stay within the eyesight of a grown-up.
Sitting amongst a class full of five-year-olds and looking, sounding and
behaving just like one himself, Jimmy found it easy to forget he'd ever
been older and adjust to his new role as a kindergartner without effort.
These elementary rules and childish restrictions just reinforced it.
"... So," Ms. Rose concluded, "all the desks are marked with your names.
Can you all go find your seats now?"
The children got to their feet and did just that. Jimmy spotted his name
stuck to a desk with a picture of a smiling sun on either side. He sat
down next to Jake and Chris.
"Hey," he said, taking the opportunity to get their attention while
everone else was talking. "You wanna play hide'n'seek at liddle lunch?"
"What's liddle lunch?" Chris asked.
"Don'tcha know?" Jake said. "At big school we got little lunch, then
"Oh," Chris said, but he still looked confused.
"Okay," Ms. Rose said. Once everyone was quiet, she continued: "Now,
we're going to start with the word the. Now you might not realise
it, but we all use this word all the time, everyday..."
The rest of the day continued in the same fashion. Although he was very
familiar with the basic lessons held throughout the class, Jimmy acted
like he was learning everything from the start. Soon enough he became so
engrossed in the new reality of being a little boy that it was no longer
a game and he ignored the fact that he knew all this already.
He played with Jake, Chris and Danny at little lunch and lunch. The two
kindergarten classes in the school merged to eat together under the shade
of a huge tree. Jimmy gazed at the teachers watching them at one point,
wondering what kind of grown-up things they were talking about. He was
glad he didn't have to deal with the pressure of adulthood anymore.
After lunch the class drew crayon pictures of their families. Jimmy
wasn't used to colouring in while gripping the crayon with his full hand
and as a result the picture didn't look much different from everyone
elses. He enjoyed being part of the group. No one could ever tell him
apart from any other kindergartner.
Classes all around the school emptied once the final bell went. Jimmy
grabbed his bag and ran into the open arms of his mummy. He told her all
about his day and she listened to every little detail, fascinated.
At home he watched Pokemon all afternoon. Joelle gave him a relaxing bath
and even made pancakes to celebrate his first day of kindergarten. She
tucked him into bed at 8p.m., soothing her little boy to sleep with a
quiet bedtime story.
Jimmy fell asleep, ready for his second day as a five-year-old
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