Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Police (10/12/06)
TITLE: My Kindergarten Cops
By Sharlyn Guthrie
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It hadn’t taken long for Emma and Molly to inform me that their daddies were police officers, so I had invited both of them to talk to the class about their jobs. They came before lunch on a Friday, and stayed to relieve me of lunch and recess duty afterward. The sight of two police officers monitoring the kindergarten playground must have been amusing (or alarming) to our school’s neighbors.
That Friday’s visit was only an initiation for my kindergarten cops. One returned with his police car and a poster of the entire police force. Next there came a K-9 officer to demonstrate the skills of police dogs. Not to be outdone, one police officer-dad arranged for the police helicopter to land on the playground. Each child was photographed in the pilot’s seat; then the pilot patiently answered question after question about the helicopter, his favorite kind of cereal, and whether or not he’d ever been to the moon.
If the involvement of the police officers with my kindergarten class had ended there, it would have been memorable, but there was more to come. Both police officer-dads volunteered to take turns overseeing lunchroom and recess duty on Fridays throughout the entire school year. Both of them stayed for art after recess, patiently guiding sticky hands and risking paint splatters on their clothing (after that first Friday they gave up the uniforms).
As a few students finished their art, they snuggled in and around the lap of the police officer helper of the day to listen to a story. Between stories I often overheard the officer commenting on a little girl’s new hair style or sparkly nail polish, or the super hero on a little boy’s shoes. Whenever a kindergartener pointed out a word in the book that they had learned to read, there were high-fives all around.
One Friday the children were lectured on stranger danger and the fact that parents, teachers, and law-enforcement officers enforce rules and laws that are designed to keep children safe. The entire class stood and raised their right hands, along with the police officer, promising to do their best to be rule followers and law observers.
I know from private conversations with Emma’s and Molly’s dads that they face real danger in their jobs on a regular basis. I applaud their bravery, their skill, and their service to the community. I readily admit that they are impressive in their uniforms, complete with badges, holsters, and well-shined shoes. But their heroism was most clearly demonstrated with happy hearts, open arms, and gentle helping hands in a classroom of nineteen five-year-olds. That is what I will always admire most about my kindergarten cops.
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