School Days and Preschool Days, Too:
A treasury of anecdotes culled from my work and play as a preschool worker and an elementary school after- school activities supervisor




     Three young boys especially enjoy playing together with toy trucks. Their typical ritual is to get identical, or nearly identical, trucks and wheel them together, single file, all over the play yard.
      The other day two of the boys were happily playing in the sandbox with identical orange, two-piece cab-and-trailer trucks that lock together. My attention was drawn as the third child began throwing a fit. I was puzzled to see a third truck that looked exactly like the ones the other two boys were playing with, sitting untouched in the sand.
      "Why, Martin," I said. "There's a truck just like the one William and Calvin are playing with! Why don't you just use that one?"
      "It's broken!" Martin wailed.
      Picking up the truck to see if I might be able to fix it, I found the body intact and the wheels fluid. The whole truck appeared fine.      "Look, Martin, it works fine!" I said, thinking this news might make him happy.
      "The headlight's broken!" he sobbed, jumping up and down.      "The headlight?" I repeated. I hadn't even realized these toys had headlights. I took a look at the front of the truck. Small square, yellow decals, supposed to represent headlights, were affixed to each side.
      "It looks ok to me," I said.
      "No it's not, it's broken!" Martin shouted, coming over to me. "See?"
      As I watched, Martin pointed. I saw that each headlight decal had a thin, black outline. The outline of one of the headlights was worn away in one place about 1/4 inch long.
      "William, will you please trade trucks with Martin? This truck's really fine," I said.
      "I'm not using that truck!" William said.
      "How about you, Calvin?"
      "That one's broken!" Calvin replied.      
      I looked helplessly from child to child. Suddenly, I had an idea. I pulled a pen out of my pocket. Carefully, I cradled the truck in my arms and drew in the missing line.
      "Martin!" I called. "Look! I've fixed the truck!"
      Martin skeptically walked back over and took another look at the truck. A huge smile broke upon his face, and I swear, I could see his imagination at work! It looked like the headlight on the truck actually switched on as he became aware of the change!
      The three boys zoomed merrily away, their caravan of identical orange trucks barreling over the sand and then over the wooden railings that support our play area, all the way down to the other end.

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