Center time in Kindergarten last week revolved around the five senses theme. While I was teaching a group of students about taste at the science center, a couple of noteworthy things happened. The children were given a variety of salty, sweet and bitter food items to try (pickles, M&M's, salt, sugar, lemons, etc.). On the first day teaching this center, I must not have been clear instructing the children to spit any food out on their napkin that they didn't like. While passing out some dark chocolate, which was only about the size of a slivered almond, I explained about the word bitter and turned around to see one little girl's belly button exposed as she wadded up her shirt, trying to hide the awful mess she had created by spitting her "taste" into the pink fabric. One cannot possibly believe what a teeny tiny amount of chocolate mixed with a little saliva can do to the garment of a five year old. I tried to clean her up but to no avail. I've a feeling not even Heloise would succeed at getting that stain out.
Another day, while working with a different group of students, I proceeded to explain that we were going to taste a variety of foods, when one of the boys told me, "I can't have anything." Thinking maybe he was hesitant because he could smell the pickles, I explained that they could spit anything out that they didn't like onto their napkin. This little guy just looked at me and as serious as can be he said, "I can't eat anything. I'm dropping weight for a tournament." I could NOT believe my ears. Never, in all of my years working in Kindergarten, have I heard such a somber and troubling expression from a five year old.
Now I could rant and rave and tell you all how I feel about a Kindergarten child being forced to lose weight for sports, but I won't. It is reasons like this that I am happy to be a teacher's assistant and not a teacher. I just pass information on to Mrs. B. and let her deal with it.