Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Green Lion

The readers among you with razor sharp memories may recall that many moons ago I worked in a nursery school for a while. Mostly the job was good fun, like when one of the little ones would proudly show me a piece of art they'd worked on, or watching them learn to read on their own and so, but the getting thrown up on and having to help change the little darlings after they'd had 'accidents in the toilet' were not so fabulous.
Also, there were the incidents such as the one with the Bumblespider that terrified me to my very soul until I figured out WTF it was, and although not as scary, this tale is very similar.

The nursery was held in a church hall which fortunately came with a car park big enough for the little ones to use as a playground, the only slight downside of which was that it didn't have a gate at the entrance to stop the tiny-tots escaping out into the road if we didn't keep an eye on them. No matter how often we told them that they were not to play beyond the 'end of the wall', it wouldn't stop some of the older, naughtier children from trying it on and daring to play beyond the cars next to the entrance where anything could have happened to them.
After some debate between myself and Miss Carrie, the other girl who worked there, we came up with the idea of cordoning off an area of the car park with tape, but kids being brats kids, the older, naughtier ones used it as a skipping rope or to tie up the smaller children, so after more deliberation, we simply got a really large red crayon, and drew a line that if crossed, would result in ten minutes in the 'naughty corner'.
To our amazement, the red line worked. Whether it was the threat of the naughty corner or not we weren't sure, but it worked and the kids knew that to cross it was verboten!
It was so effective in fact, that most of the children wouldn't even play near it, which for us was a bonus as we didn't have eyes in the back of our heads, contrary to what the little'uns thought.
And so playtimes became a lot more fun. We could organize games without worrying that someone was going to run into the road and get splatted by a car, which for a nursery teacher is a bonus.
Weeks passed in the spring sunshine and with the exception of the day a rather large dog decided to join in a game of tag, all was peaceful, all was calm.
Until one day when a little boy came running over to me and Miss Carrie in tears and saying that the Green Lion had captured his friend and he was scared that he wouldn't see him again.
We tried to calm him down so that we could try and find out what on earth he was on about, but all we could get out of him was that the Green Lion had stolen his friend as he'd been very bad, and he was scared that he'd never get him back.
We asked him to show us where the Green Lion was, but the tot was so distraught he wasn't making any sense at all. He wouldn't even point in the direction of this nasty, friend stealing Green Lion, such was his terror.
It was right at the end of playtime so we herded the rest of the kids into the hall and I took the boy into a quiet corner to try to find out what was happening.
We took a register to make sure all the children were present and correct and as none were AWOL we figured that at least the boy's friend wasn't one of them, which was good.
After another ten or so minutes, the poor boy was still in tears and we were no closer to finding out what was up, so I went outside to see if I could find any clues.
I looked all around the playground and was about to go back in when I spotted a very small teddy bear lying about five feet across the red line.
Suddenly all became clear and grabbing the bear I dashed back into the hall and asked the boy if it was his missing friend.
To our delight, the tears stopped immediately and the boy hugged the small bear as hard as he could.
Turned out that he hadn't yet learnt about colours and thought that red was green, had mis-heard the word 'line', and as we'd instilled such a strong warning about anything crossing the Red Line, he thought his bear was gone forever, poor little thing.
Kids eh? A most excellent source of entertainment, but I still don't want one of my own.