At the moment I work in a ski field, teaching three to five year-olds how to ski. Every day is an adventure because every kid is different. It’s amazing to see all these little personalities. Here are some general things I love about working with these tiny humans.
They will follow whatever story you make up
One day I decided to tell the kids that fairies make the magic carpet run. We kneeled down and looked underneath the conveyor belt to see if they were home. “I see a rainbow one”, shouts one of the girls. A bit later we ride the magic carpet. Every time someone comes down I hear stories about all colors of fairies. Another day we’ve played a robot game. I said the magic carpet is a special robot repair belt and I need my arm fixed. When I ask the kids if any of them need repairs, all kind of things seem to be broken. “I need a new head.” “My foot hurts.” “My arm is broken too!”
They will start talking freely about their family
Kids have no idea about things like privacy and too much information. Once they start to feel comfortable in our center, they start to get chatty. The most random things come out of their mouths. “My brother is so dirty. He always spits everywhere. He spits all over the house.” “My mummy is skiing with a baby in her belly.” “You know, you know, my dad is 48.” Mostly it’s innocent facts, but sometimes you hear things you know you shouldn’t have.
The whole snowfield is a big popsicle
Children learn about their environment in different ways. They see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. Just telling them snow is cold won’t help. A child needs to get cold hands before he wants to wear gloves. A lot of the kids coming to ski school see snow for the first time. Outside in our yard they see some sort of heaven. The whole slope is one big ice cream! Before getting on the magic carpet, most of them get a big scoop of dirty snow on their gloves and you see them sucking their gloves all the way up. Even skiing isn’t an obstacle. Hands reach down constantly. When I say the snow is dirty and the birds and animals might be peeing in it, they look at me suspiciously and then decide that I must be joking, putting some more of the white wonder in their mouths.
You can trick them over and over again
Kids love their mum and dad. Whenever they don’t feel settled or are upset for whatever reason, this is the first thing they call for. For some reason they seem to think that if they scream loud enough, mummy will come to rescue them. But mummy is off skiing, enjoying the peace and quiet, and won’t be back until four. I can’t tell you how many kids didn’t want to do anything. Before we go out skiing, it’s ‘no pee no ski’ time. I’ve repeatedly used the sentence: “But maybe mummy is waiting outside to watch you ski. Don’t you want to go have a look? If we want to go outside we need to do a wee though.” On one of our children it worked all four days he was here.
They know all the things I used to know and have forgotten about
Most boys that come in have an extensive knowledge about dinosaurs. They know the names of most of them, what they eat and why they have strange tows or things on their heads. Another kid knew everything about snakes, because he watched some documentaries by David Attenborough. Other kids can name all kind of birds. Sometimes I feel like I knew much more about the world when I was younger. Now I seem to have forgotten all those interesting things. They’ve made room for grocery lists and what bills to pay.