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The Architecture of Kindergarten

I pulled this image off the internet and so I have no idea who these children are

I'm going through an interesting transition as a parent in that my eldest daughter, Sammy, is now of an age that I myself remember being. For some reason, I find this mind-blowing.

Like most other humans, I have no memories of when I was an infant, which is probably for the best. I harbor only a trace or two of things that happened when I was 3 or 4 but I do remember in some detail things I experienced when I started Kindergarten when I was 5. I distinctly recall my first day of school at Dunn Elementary, I remember Mrs. Adams, my kindergarten teacher. I remember some kid falling off what I later understood to be a geodesic dome climbing structure and bleeding from the face.

I also remember that every once in a while in PE class the teachers would bring the parachute out of the storage room and onto the gym floor.

I'm sure we did other activities with the nylon fabric, but what I remember most was sitting in a circle around the perimeter of the parachute. We would hold its edge in our little hands and when told to do so we would raise the fabric up over our heads and then immediately pull it down behind our backs. The air trapped underneath the fabric would cause the parachute to act like a parachute and billow upwards creating a glorious (if momentary) translucent multicolored dome. We'd look across the circle our classmates and even though we had seen one another just seconds before, somehow everything was different when we were under the parachute dome. Collectively we had created a space where one had not existed before. Collectively we had created architecture.

When my wife and I visited my daughter's classroom last week much if it looked very familiar from when I was a student over thirty years ago. Of course my daughter's classroom has a computer and a LCD projector and that's all fitting and proper, but I really, really hope that in the storage room next to the gym they have a multicolored parachute or two.