At the end of each school year, when the six-year-olds are preparing for their transition into Class One, the five-year-olds begin sub-consciously to step-up and prepare for their new position within our kindergarten family.
They start to take on more responsibility, to help with setting the table, clearing and cleaning, becoming more capable, more confident. Socially they form a distinct group, voicing stronger opinions, in stronger voices. They take up more space, organise more complicated games. They feel bigger and stronger and stand firmer.
Then, when they return to kindergarten in the autumn, play happens, work gets done, projects are started. New children are shown the ropes, reminded of the rules, encouraged and supported. Songs are sung, words and tunes remembered, snacks produced and eaten. Things are as they should be. Or is something different?
‘Where are the Sun children?’
‘There aren’t any sun-children.’
‘You are the sun-children.’
‘All of you.’
‘Oh, yes, we are, aren’t we?’
They may quite literally stop in their tracks, panic a bit, look confused. Then, when they are happy that we do indeed have sun-children, sun children that can manage, are coping, are strong, they continue on their way.
These children really take hold of this new role. With pride they ensure that everything is done properly, as it always has been. The toys are put away properly, snacks come in the correct order, rules are upheld, everything is in its place, and all is well. And the younger children watch them, and wait…