First, it was nice to find out what goes on in the classroom. We can only find out so much from Little Man about his day - he keeps most of his school activities to himself or can't find the right way to express it in English or Dutch - which is fine since he's only four. But now I know what's expected of him at lunch. There's no talking until the kids have finished all their food, then they have to clean their space before they can draw or read a book until the teacher returns. Since I didn't know any of this prior to my overblijfmoeder stint, this was all rather enlightening. And since Little Man was excited to have me in the room, he was pretty keen to show me things that aren't accessible during the morning drop off and afternoon pick up, which also gave me a better idea of what happens at other times of the day.
The children speak better Dutch than I do (not like it was much of a surprise), but at least I was able to make enough simple sentences that they understood the instructions - though mostly I kept saying, "Ga zitten," (Go sit down) which was effective but almost feels like cheating. Of course, they tested me with little things to see what they could get away with, like when 5 at a time would complain they each "moet plassen" (need to pee) when there was only one child allowed out at a time. But they didn't revolt or lock me out of the classroom, so I'm going to call it a win.
|Considering this is how I envisioned it going,|
I'd say the result was rather pleasing.
You can find this copy of Gulliver's Travels here.
I thin the funniest moment for me was when one of the oldest girls in the class came up to me and told me that Little Man doesn't always speak Dutch. I explained that we come from America and speak English at home, which sparked a lot of excitement. The girl very proudly told me she could count in English, and as she started counting she was suddenly joined by a chorus of other little voices making the count up to 12 (at which point they all petered out).
So I didn't have much to worry about, and I'm glad of it. My language skills are decent enough to keep 30 small children in check for 30 minutes, and I feel like that's an accomplishment for how far I'm come since starting Dutch lessons last March. Of course, there's still a long way to go, and I'm not sure that I could last much longer than I did or do as well with an older group of kids, but it's a start. And we all have to start somewhere, even if it's just telling someone else to "ga zitten."