Innocence floods room 1011

Miss Linda describes the activities for the day to her engaged audience in the classroom.

Abbey Fernandez, Web Opinions Editor

Where in the building are light-up sneakers on size three feet?

Room 1011.

As teenagers gossip about the weekend and meet with their Calc teachers, one room stands secluded from all big kids things. In that magical room, 15 three and four year olds attend Staples as their “play school.”

Thomas, Sienna, Owen, Michaela, Maximilien, Lucie, Julia, Hudson, Ella, Elizabeth, Cora, Claire, Brecka, Autumn, and Annabelle. This is the order of their cubbies where they hang their zebra jackets and heart-printed backpacks.

Next they gather on the carpet and listen to “Miss Linda,” aka Linda McClary, as she reveals all the fun activities for the day. These include snack time, arts and crafts, reading, and outdoor play.

As Miss Linda explains, Maximilien, sitting right up front, brandishes his hand and announces, “I’m brinin’ my dog!”

“That’s right Maximilien, on Wednesday you can bring in your dog for show and tell,” Miss Linda responds.

But Max sets off other children’s unrelated comments.

“In seven birthdays I am going to be ten,” Cora, daughter of Staples science teacher Michael Aitkenhead, says. Then another voice shouts out, “You know, my brother’s going to be seven and a quarter.” Miss Linda’s clap pattern garners the toddlers’ attention back again.

It is now snack time so the kids dutifully walk over to the table and wait to be served goldfish on their placemat. Sienna, wearing her everyday hot pink crown, asks, “Can I have some more goldfish please?” Except that every “r” and “l” was swapped with a “w.” Some count theirs, some haphazardly ingest them, but after about five minutes, all goldfish are out of sight and it’s reading time.

This is where the students who in the “Child Study” course arrive. Each high schooler is assigned a buddy. Elizabeth Colwell and Cora go off to read “Knuffle Bunny.” (That beats “The Odyssey” any day). All is running smoothly during reading time when suddenly Autumn, wearing pink polka dot leggings, asks “When are we gonna play?” Multiple children’s faces light up at the word “play” but it’s reading time right now, so Autumn tunes back in to “How I Became a Pirate.”

The group takes occasional field trips, anything from walking through Staples to visiting the Wakemen Town Farm. Julia, in a purple striped t-shirt, explained that when she walks around the building she sees “music” (most likely referring to the music hallway) but then is distracted, points to the wall and exclaims “I drawed the rocket over there.”

The Child Study class keeps a “Kids Say the Darnest Things” book to keep track of the cute exclamations. McClary said, “I had a child exclaim once that ‘Hey, you didn’t tell me that we had a magic toilet!’” This excitement was referring to the automatic flushing of the toilets. McClary loves how even a toilet can be considered magical to a child.

Claire, in light pink sequin shoes, said that she doesn’t find the big kids scary, just big. In fact, the little kids don’t find the older kids intimidating at all.

“The children love the high school students. It works beautifully this way-each make an imprint on each other’s hearts.” McClary said.

Annie Raifaisen ’14, a student of Child Study, attests to this.

“Taking a break from my day to be with the kids puts me in such a better mood. Their smiles, laughter, and innocence make my day,” Raifaisen said.

Smiles, laughter, and innocence fill room 1011.  Perhaps more Staples classrooms should be modeled after room 1011, including the goldfish. And naptime wouldn’t hurt.