With children learning how to get back into routines that require once again rising early and trying to remember math formulas, I also decided to go back to school. I figured no one would be messier than pre-schoolers.
Pre-school aged children are unlike any other age.
When I visited Little Lambs Preschool/Childcare, 142 Market St., teachers barely introduced me as Miss Alyssa before the children ran to tell me anything and everything. I heard about trying different colored apples, getting into a bicycle accident, and opening birthday presents.
When Sun-Gazette reporter Alyssa Murphy, seen above helping children paint, visited Little Lambs Preschool/Childcare, she found staff kept the youngster busy with activities and healthy snacks — occasionally messy activities and snacks.
My job as a journalist is primarily composed of talking to people about their experiences and yet I have never met a chattier group of people. It wasn't just talking to talk either, they really cared about what I thought about their stories.
Preschool has changed a lot in the many years since I attended.
Teachers make eating healthy fun. They dress up apples with peanut butter and marshmallows to make smiling faces.
Some children go out of their way to share, as I found out when I discovered an apple licked clean of both peanut butter and marshmallows. I appreciated the thought, at least.
The teachers at Little Lambs never really lose that childhood attitude. They became champions of hide-and-seek when the children tried to avoid the end of playtime.
Puzzles offer challenges that are both colorful and educational, showing children animals and places they usually only see in movies.
During music time, I found myself somehow remembering the words to a song that I have not sung in many years. Not that it was hard to remember the words. If you know how many days there are in a week and also the names of those days, you probably can also sing it.
During free time, I found the three-year-old version of me. While the other children ran for toys, she grabbed a book and tucked herself into a cozy corner.
Playtime held the most fun though, of course. Who wouldn't agree?
I watched children race around on tricycles and saw only one brief crash. I felt tempted to see if I could pedal around without tipping, but even though I'm small, I don't think I'm that small anymore.
Being four years old is being curious and scientific.
Some of the children left behind a castle playland and tricycles to play with paint.
They pointed out the different brushes to me, explaining which design each made, before going to work on colorful creations. It was not long before children exclaimed "What happens if I mix these colors together?" Then a moment later, "I made pink!" "I made gray!"
The children ran around the rooms when told, sat when told and froze when told.
Even when the children didn't stop, or spoke despite the "marshmallows" in their mouth, or managed to get paint all over the table, the teachers just laughed, When shouts of excitement turned to an ear-splitting volume, they still laughed.
No matter what the shenanigans the children performed, no matter what substance the teachers found their hands covered in (top ones I saw were peanut butter, paint and glitter), no matter how many toys littered the floor during play time, everyone seemed to have some good, semi-messy fun.