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April 23, 2003 - Wednesday
Harry's preschool teacher has been encouraging the children to "read" stories to one another during their morning meeting, a circle time that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a half an hour. Of course, none of the three-year-olds can really read, but they can recite stories from memory or make them up as they go along describing the pictures. The latter happens far more often, especially because the teacher swapped out most of the books on the shelf at mid-month. So, the kids take turns sitting on a little stool in front of all of their classmates, describing a book, in whatever manner they can.

And, guess who is apparently one of the most articulate and confident "readers" in this potentially exposing, if not embarrassing exploit? It is our own shy boy who went for his first two or three months at preschool rarely participating at all in the morning meeting. From August when he started through January, he was there he was the youngest by some three months, although several younger kids moved up from the toddler room over the year end break, and that put him at a physical disadvantage that perhaps made it somewhat intimidating. But, he's never been behind with speech and maybe, with his love of and comfort with books, this is his forum to shine. Where most of the other kids who even agree to try act shy and stumble, I'm told Harry expressively, even emotively, names and describes bugs and insects (it's insect month at Preschool) with aplomb. It's really a very pleasant surprise given his history and his personality, although that is clearly a moving target.

Of course, as I discuss Harry's personal growth with the teachers, I find that Harry has also been helping, although surely not consciously, draw some of the younger kids out of their new class anxiety. Apparently, Harry was indeed quite normal in his shyness for those first few months and, while it seemed like a long time for anxious parents, he actually got acclimated more quickly than many. Now he has friends who are closer to him in age and that's probably a confidence boost itself.

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