The children in the afternoon class of Tina Ruggerio’s Cabbagetown Co-op Nursery School line up single file in the narrow hallway between the classroom and the gym. There are eleven tykes total, my three year old son one of them. All are barely three feet tall. They are so eager to play and so full of beans that they continually wiggle. Tina then tunes everything out, including the parents still milling about, and focuses on the eleven little heads. She gets them to breath slowly, in and out, while waving their arms up and down like birds. The flock moves off, down the short hallway to the gym, flapping and breathing and wiggling and singing and firmly under the care of a tremendous teacher.
The Cabbagetown Co-op Nursery School is the first exposure that most of the children enrolled have had with education and formal structure. There is one classroom and it is immaculate. Activities are arranged in stations (a divide and conquer approach that could never be managed in your home): trays of big, coloured beads and string, a raised sandbox, coloured feathers and ink set above a pad of paper, a stable of costumes, a rug for story time. There are two classes each day, one in the morning, for children 27 months to three years, and another in the afternoon for three to five year olds.
In September my son learned the days of the week and in October he learned about leaves. The kids bake muffins every Thursday, and learn the basics of healthy eating. Each week one family buys the snacks for the class and Tina and her staff prepare them. My son is happy when he goes to school, he’s happy when he comes home and it’s reported that he’s happy when he’s there. The hours that he spends at the Cabbagetown Co-op Nursery School give him confidence in himself and what he has to say. Which is exactly what we want.
Register for class at cabbagetownnurseryschool.ca.