L'école McCropder

By Kathryn Wong and Sarah

Note to the Reader: We opted for too many pictures because the kids are SO cute!

On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, the teachers at the French preschool and kindergarden (the maternelle) went on strike leaving four McCropder children unoccupied for the entire day – a day, it must be noted, when their parents did have school. And so that afternoon, the co-collaborators Aunt Sarah and Miss Kathryn held the first day of l'école McCropder!

Our schoolhouse consisted of the kitchen and living room area in the single's quarters. It was very sweet to see the four of them coming in through the doors, armed with backpacks, ready to go to school. We congregated with the four kiddos – Elise, Micah, Abi, and Maggie – downstairs and discussed the anomaly of Rules and what they mean and why we have them and what it looks like to follow them. It was, perhaps, a little difficult to determine what actually sunk in, for the energy levels were rather high and the attention spans a bit low as should be fully anticipated from healthy, growing children.

We were more or less able to follow the lesson plan – practicing letters and spelling names, singing songs, counting objects inside and outside, learning about opposites, practicing shapes, and reading (an exceedingly odd) French story about fish... (we later found out that the parents had been listening in on this part of school...hopefully after hearing all about fish wearing hats and going shopping and taking care of their pet shrimps and other such nonsensical things they still believe that their children received a good education that afternoon!)
Spelling names and jumping on the alphabet mat
Kathryn reading a book about opposites (French and English!
Sarah reading the exceedingly odd French book about fish

The children then did an excellent job of creating a story about two fairies living in a magical forest named Grace and Emily who were captured in a bag by the villain Mimi and there they suffered until they finally sent out a magical note to their friends, and although the note was led astray by a storm of epic proportions, it at long last was discovered by the intended recipients and Grace and Emily were saved! For a suspenseful conclusion, Mimi went through several stages of becoming good and going back to being bad again, and eventually we concluded with a good Mimi who also turned into a fairy. It was a joy to watch their vibrant imaginations, captivated in a second by the mere concept of a magical forest, tearing through this story, words tumbling out of their little mouths almost faster than they could speak. Towards the end, they were, perhaps, ready to be done with the whole school thing, and so we ended our afternoon of school with a rousing game of run/hop/crab walk/walk backwards/walk sideways/crawl down the hall and back again. All in all, it was deemed a successful day, and fun was had by tout le monde!

Proudly displaying the poster board story they wrote.

The following day, all seven of the McCropder children came over to the single's for a Valentine's Day party while the parents enjoyed some Valentine's Day time of their own. The Fader girls contributed some festive, valentine's day décor, and several families brought heart cookie cutters and thematic sprinkles for the occasion. The event got off to a somewhat rough start with little Ben McLaughlin who was quite distraught for reasons still unbeknownst to us. After a good deal of wailing, he perked up at the prospect of making cookies, and the rest of the day went just swimmingly!

Prepping the table with flour for cookie dough and cookie cutters
Uncle Carlan's storytelling
The making and decorating of the heart sugar cookies was deemed a success (no small undertaking with seven children ages seven and under) and while they baked, the kids listened (for the most part with rapt attention) to Uncle Carlan tell the story of twins searching for their lost parents. The cookies were decorated perhaps not in an entirely conventional style as there were only so many adults to stop the children from digging into the frosting and gulping it down in spoonfuls and shaking sprinkles on the table (not the cookie), licking up said sprinkles, and then repeating the process. Once the cookies were finally all frosted and sprinkled, everyone was given permission to eat two cookies each. Somehow at the end of the feeding frenzy, there weren't many cookies that made it out alive, and the math didn't quite add up with each kid eating two cookies. But such is life. The pizza lunch (sans plates or silverware. We're all about dish conservation and all that.) was greeted with enthusiasm and delight, and creativity let lose with the plethora of Valentine's Day cardstock and stickers and foamy shapes supplied by Aunt Sarah. Fun abounded in great quantities.
Valentine Crafts

The race is on for Valentines candy!
With still a good ninety-minutes left before the return of the parents, Miss Kathryn ran outside and created a scavenger hunt of Valentine's Day candy. It was a day of sunshine and warm breezes, and it was a joy to watch the kiddos tearing back and forth across the school property searching for their sugar hearts. Ben and Sammy, having not quite gained the same kind of mobility as their siblings ran excitedly behind the rest of the pack, needing to turn around quite frequently as the rest of the group tore past them, around them, and through them. Anna and Elise in particular were fans of the game, and long after the other children had lost interest, they continued to ask Uncle Carlan to hide and hide and re-hide their heart lollipops. We stayed outside until it was time for them to go home. Soon they began to show signs of fatigue – Sam slouched over his swing, almost asleep, and so full of sugar (sorry, parents!) and hopefully some good memories to boot, thus ended Valentine's Day with the McCropder kids.

Anna is an awesome cookie maker and cookie decorator

Elise perfected the heart shaped cookie. 

Ben (much happier)

Work is more productive with the tongue out

Abi enjoyed many, many, many sprinkles. 

Pizza and friends - Life is Good!


Before any of the 4 adults noticed, Ben enjoyed multiple spoonfuls of frosting. 

Micah spelled his name with cookie dough - creative genius!

Sammy joined us in time for pizza. 


tscarlet said...

Wow. That's impressive. I mean, yeah, I knew you were amazing people, what with the learning a foreign language and moving across the world to help transform a nation through health care and all that. But SPRINKLES with TODDLERS!?!?! I had no idea that you all were that kind of amazing. Making AND decorating cookies? With FROSTING?!?!? To some (old) people reading this post, this will summon up sweet memories of their own long-ago projects with their little ones. But having had attempted the building and decorating of graham-cracker "gingerbread" houses a mere 2 months ago with my own brood, I have a rose-colorless view of this event. Heck--I even strategically planned it around the two-year-old's naptime to keep the mayhem at bay.

Props to the McCropder singles--MAJOR props. Now that you have survived through this event, you are ready for anything. :)

Unknown said...

I am so impressed with your creativity and energy! You could come be a mentor to me on how to entertain my grandkids! :-)