An Independent K-12 school on a beautiful wooded campus, 3 miles from Washington, D.C.

Potomac News

A Walk in the Rainforest

Whenever I'm having a particularly frenetic or stressful day, I find my way into a kindergarten classroom. Last Wednesday was one of those days. On that particular day, the children in Ms. Steiner's class were abuzz with excitement. First of all, it was Ms. Kettler's birthday, and they were putting the finishing touches on their special birthday cards while licking frosting from the birthday cupcakes. And as it turns out, it also happened to be the day of the much-anticipated Rainforest Play. Rolls of scotch tape were being shuttled around the room so the performers could tape their carefully crafted costumes to their bodies: skinny orange tails marked with black spots, ornate butterfly wings, jaguar ears, colorful poison darts, and, of course, blue water for the river. Once everyone was ready, Ms. Steiner introduced the animals, who then gathered on the rug. (This was Ms. Steiner's only role in the event, mind you. The children planned and collaborated on the play during their "Center Time.")

Whenever I'm having a particularly frenetic or stressful day, I find my way into a kindergarten classroom. Last Wednesday was one of those days. On that particular day, the children in Ms. Steiner's class were abuzz with excitement. First of all, it was Ms. Kettler's birthday, and they were putting the finishing touches on their special birthday cards while licking frosting from the birthday cupcakes. And as it turns out, it also happened to be the day of the much-anticipated Rainforest Play. Rolls of scotch tape were being shuttled around the room so the performers could tape their carefully crafted costumes to their bodies: skinny orange tails marked with black spots, ornate butterfly wings, jaguar ears, colorful poison darts, and, of course, blue water for the river. Once everyone was ready, Ms. Steiner introduced the animals, who then gathered on the rug. (This was Ms. Steiner's only role in the event, mind you. The children planned and collaborated on the play during their "Center Time.")

Once all the animals had gathered on the rug/rainforest floor, there was an awkward silence that lasted about 10 seconds. Then all of the animals began to slither, hop, crawl, flutter and chew. The river (Walker) was sprawled on the floor, rippling his blue paper to mimic the flow of the river. A couple of animals approached to drink from the river. Some animals were moving slowly while others pursued their prey. The morpho butterfly flitted from tree to tree, and the sloth decided to take a nap right in the middle of the action. To an outsider, this scene might have appeared chaotic. But to the sloth, anaconda, leaf cutter ant, jaguar, poison dart frog, butterfly (and other animals I can't remember), it was a beautifully choreographed moment in the rainforest, where every animal knew its role.