On Tuesday I went to K's school for an "observation." Which, in the manner of West Seattle Montessori School, means I stood around for 30 minutes, something of a distraction, while the kids did their best to continue continuing on. K was definitely distracted by my being there, but I gather that was ok too. She showed me what she'd been working, and the teaching assistant suggested she do some things while I watched (adding glitter to her fish, for example).
I loved being there, seeing what she did for part of her day. She's not been especially forthcoming about what goes on at school, and I'm not sure why that is, but there was something I saw that made a small light bulb go off. Near the end of my 30 minutes they started music, and this meant they all sat in a circle and the woman who teaches them songs came in and they sang.
The first thing they need to do is sit quietly. K did a good job of this, listening to her teacher, even with the distraction of my being nearby. She looked back at me several times, but it was clear she was focused on doing the right thing and on paying attention. Once the music teacher came in and started them on a new song (new month, November, so last month's Halloween song doesn't much apply any longer -- now instead of pumpkins, they're singing about turkeys sitting on a fence), K paid close attention to her. There were hand motions and new words and it seemed clear to me that K didn't catch all of them at first. She watched closely though, so closely that it was hard to catch her attention to wave goodbye and blow her a kiss.
Here's the thing that registered with me: I've always been a watcher, unwilling to really step out and do something when I don't feel I've got it nailed. I've also been good at following directions, at least back before I got to be a stubborn stick-in-the-mud. I think K's inherited both these traits, at least to some degree.
I like the paying attention and following instructions bit. I just hope she doesn't sit too long and is willing to make mistakes and be a fool. That's how we all learn, by falling on our faces. Easy for me to say, right? Here's to falling down!