November 21, 2002 - Thursday
I stayed with Harry at preschool for about a half an hour after pickup time today. His class was going outside into the big field rather than the enclosed playground area and Harry really seemed to want to be a part of this somewhat unique adventure. And, it didn't seem to me that an extra adult along with six (seven with Harry) energetic 3-year-olds and just the teacher wouldn't be a bad thing, although Harry's teacher was quite up to controlling the inevitable randomness and manic running. For me, though, it was more interesting to see Harry playing with his peers.
It's been something of a slow process for Harry to fully integrate into the class. Since he started there in August he's often refrained from doing group activities. I think he's been very happy at the school, but there's this shy, or unconfident, or proud side of Harry that makes him less willing to try new things when he feels he might somehow be out of his comfort zone. I guess going into preschool as a very young "three-year-old," we figured socialization was the unknown. His ability to focus was just fine. His language skills are better most of the class, including some kids almost a year older. But, he'd not been in too many group situations and neither his mother nor I were ever the center of attention as kids. Being a little shy was almost a given, even though he's not when he knows his environment.
Just a week ago his teacher wrote a personal note at the bottom of her weekly newsletter offering her belief that Harry was finally getting comfortable with her, his environment, and his classmates enough to be less cautious. That was very nice to hear.
I watched Harry play Red Light, Green Light with the other six kids. He was the slowest runner, although he's also the youngest and smallest and there's no surprise that he's behind many of the other kids physically. At three, eight or ten extra months of growing and getting faster is a serious percent of life. Harry didn't seem to understand the entire concept of Red Light, Green Light, but hung in a lot longer than most of the older kids who didn't either or didn't care and just wanted to run around as fast as they could. Half took off running in random directions, effectively disintegrating the game within a couple of minutes. Harry was one of the first to attack a roughly four-foot high pile of small rocks (little to be used around the driveway) and was, thus, for a time something of a trend setter. But, beyond that he clearly did more observing and reacting than leading. And, I guess that's to be expected. At least, he was a part of it all and not isolating himself, or perhaps just playing by himself, as I'd gotten the impression that he often does in the playground.