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Education Journal

​In which one may find tidbits from Terri's years as a kindergarten teacher.

"Who is this Aunt Maribelle?"

Terri Reinhart

This was originally a part of a longer article about storytelling in the Kindergarten, but I wanted to re-post just this bit in honor of my real Aunt Maribelle who passed away today in Sterling, Colorado.

I had another child who was having a terrible time at nap.  Uh, I don’t have that right.  She was actually having a WONDERFUL time at nap, dancing around the kindergarten, making noises and generally being such a distraction that no one could rest.  I wasn’t in the classroom during nap time but I would often come down and see this little girl sitting in the front office with our secretary, next door to the kindergarten, because she had been so mischievous.  Somehow, I had to find a way to turn this around.  She was learning very well how to be mischievous but nothing at all about how to rest.  So, the next time I came down and saw her in the office, I picked her up and put her on my lap and told her this story:

“When I was growing up, we used to visit our cousin on the farm and the first thing we did when we arrived on the farm was look for the cats.  We knew that there would be at least one cat that had kittens.  My cousin always knew just where the kittens would be found and soon we would each be happily cradling a kitten on our laps.  Then we would wrap them up in our sweaters (and here I wrapped my sweater around the child) and carry them quietly into the house and play with them in my cousins bedroom.  And we had to keep them very quiet because Aunt Maribelle didn’t allow kittens in the house at all and if she caught us, she would be angry with us and she might even make us scrub the kitchen floor.  So we would put the kittens on our laps and pet their tummies till they fell asleep.  Most of the time they would fall asleep but sometimes a kitten wouldn’t want to sleep and it would meow very loudly!  Then Aunt Maribelle would come and we would have to take the kittens outside again.  And then we’d have to scrub the kitchen floor.”

I then cradled the little girl and carried her back into the classroom and put her on her nap mat.  I whispered quietly in her ear, “Now, be a quiet little kitty so Aunt Maribelle doesn’t hear you.  I don’t want to scrub floors today.”

Two weeks later, the girl’s mother came to me and said, “WHO IS THIS AUNT MARIBELLE??!!”  Every day for two weeks, her daughter would come home and say to her mom, “I was a quiet kitty at nap today and Aunt Maribelle didn’t even know I was there!”

My Aunt Maribelle enjoyed the story, too.