Saturday, January 10, 2009

Santa vs. Trains

I haven't written for a few weeks - I actually stayed away from the computer for most of my winter break. Weird for me, but I did spend some good, quality time with my family.

But preschool is back in session, and so is my need to share it with you.

The day before school let out for break, we had a small Christmas celebration. We made cookies, had a small gift exchange, and most exciting of all, someone special came to pay a visit. A hint...he wears red and says, "Ho, ho ho!"

Santa has been coming to the school for years. Even though it is a busy time of year for him, he always makes sure he is able to pay our little preschool a visit.

I told my students of the planned visit a couple weeks in advance. I always like to feel them anyone scared of Santa? not know who Santa is? When I told the class "Santa will be coming to visit us in 14 more sleeps!", one little boy was almost speechless, with a smile that took over his whole face. He was so excited, it took him a couple of tries to get these words out, "Does that mean I won't have to wait in line forever to see Santa?" "Yep!" I replied. He was on cloud nine the rest of the day. When his mom arrived to pick him up, he informed her, "We don't need to go to the mall to see Santa, he will be at my school in 14 more sleeps!"

The day of Santa's visit, as a surprise to the boys in my class, I brought out the school's train collection to play with. Normally, I don't break out the trains until I do a Transportation unit, but there are several train enthusiasts in this year's group, and I thought it would be fun for them to play with the trains on their last day of the before break.

Big mistake.

The boys LOVED the trains. The immediately created a complex track system that covered the circle time rug, and developed complicated schedules for the trains to follow, as well as made buildings and villages along the tracks. But when Santa came in, booming, "Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!" the boys didn't give him a second glance. "Santa's here? Oh, hey Santa. Look, we have trains!"

Santa didn't mind too much that he was being overshadowed by trains - I guess in his line of work this sort of thing happens a lot. But I had promised the kids' parents pictures with Santa, so I had to convince the boys to stop what they were doing and come talk to Santa. Which they all did, albeit reluctantly. And in each one of their pictures, instead of looking adoringly at the big guy in red, they are looking wistfully over their shoulders at the trains that are waiting for them to come back.

Note to year, bring out the trains AFTER Santa visits.