I have a darling child in my class — let’s call him Roo, after the bouncy joey in the Winnie the Pooh books — who has suddenly become a joyful little tornado. He was never like this until about a month or two ago, and now he cannot stop moving. If he could cartwheel, he would.
He’s happy, definitely — overflowing with happiness. He’s not acting this way because he is stressed (at least, that does not appear to be the case), or because he is defiant or oppositional. He’s just overflowing with motion and he can’t help it. He arrives at school with a huge grin — “Hi, teacher!” — and runs into the room to get the stick with his breakfast code, and then runs out into the hall — “Roo, walk please!” — and then runs back into the room looking for his buddy. When he finds him, they jump up and down and hug and then run off to the cafeteria to breakfast, leaving me sputtering in their wake.
The buddy comes back and is his usual calm self, but Roo can’t settle. He sits down to work at his journal but is talking a mile a minute, and can’t seem to focus. I kneel down beside his table, and say, “Roo, the question of the day is what is your favorite thing to do at school?” He grabs for a pencil and is about to start scribbling when I stop him.
“Just wait. Can you answer my question? What is your favorite thing to do at school?” He looks at me, then falls out of his chair.
Once he is seated again, I ask again, making suggestions this time — blocks, legos, stories? “House corner!” he yells, and then grabs a pencil and draws a sort-of-triangle shape. “This is a monster, ” he announces.
I take the pencil from him, and say calmly, “remember, you wanted to draw about the house corner. There are no monsters there. What is in the house corner?” I have to make suggestions before he interrupts me —
“Babies,” he says.
“Right, there are babies. Can you draw a baby?”
He does eventually draw a baby. But he also stands up a lot, walks around the room a lot, uses a really loud excited voice to talk about all sorts of things except for the task at hand. His whole morning was like that. Once, when I redirected him to sit back down and work on his journal he threw his head down on his arms and said, “I hate this school. I’m never coming back here.”
He manages to keep it together during Music, but afterward, when we are walking back to class and he is holding my hand because he cannot walk in the line, his jumping nearly makes me fall down the stairs. Twice. He is contrite when I tell him how much that scares me, and is quiet and calm for 10 second periods (alternating with 15 seconds of jumping and talking) all the way back to class.
By the time he goes home, I’m exhausted, and I’ve already googled the phrase “preschool teacher advice hyper child.”