This is a slice about a boy who last year was in our noontime Kindergarten Wrap Around program (This is a time either before or after their half-day Kindergarten session where students eat lunch and then have extra immersion into early literacy activities.) D, appeared very serious, his lips almost never spreading into a smile. He held his body very rigid, arms to his side. His eyes would dart left then right rather than turning his head. His sweat pants were stretched to well above his waist, making them seem extra short. D did not seem to relate to either adults or fellow students. It was rare that he could be encouraged to even say hello, never accompanied by a spontaneous smile. He would often kick other students under the table, rarely showing any emotion other than a piercing stare. We worried about his lack of emotion and unusual stance.
I had only seen D in passing this school year. He had been a Reading Recovery student and I had heard he was making progress. Upon completion of Reading Recovery, it was decided that he might benefit from additional AIS support. I had a picture in my mind of last year's D. I had myself prepared that in the small group he would be working, I would take it slowly, making him comfortable, a smile the goal. Was I pleasantly surprised! Ten minutes into the getting-to-know you stage of day one, I saw a big smile on D's face AND enormous giggles! I helped him select new books for his book box. He cheerfully selected a book saying, "This one's good for me!" as he skipped, SKIPPED, back to his growing pile of just right books. I got chills! This was not the D of last year.
We have now worked together for a week. Our half hours together have been blessed with many giggles, excited expressions, and skipping in and out of my room. (And some good reading too!) He has grown in the last year, he is a delight to work with. D is no longer the five year old but a six year old who I have good reason to believe will continue to grow both academically and socially!