Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Welcome to my Wendy House.......

Do you remember your nursery days? Apparently I attended nursery from being 2½ years old though, obviously, I don’t remember that far back because usually you can’t remember much before you are four years old.

My first nursery teacher was Mrs McManus – I remember sitting on her lap, her soft arms around me, her comforting voice, her smell (pleasant) – I loved her! She was a wonderful substitute for my Mum, who had to go to work to supplement the family income. I was happy at school, there was so much to do and so many children to play with; I didn’t have any siblings until I was five years old, so going to nursery was ideal for me. Of course some children cried all day because they missed their parents but Mrs McManus usually managed to soothe them and had them joining in the play before too long. We each had our own peg on which to hang our coats, with a picture on it to help us recognise our own peg, mine was a clown.

The most magical thing in nursery for me was the ‘Wendy House’. It seemed to me to be a perfect miniature replica of a real house and I just loved playing with the plastic tea-set, pots and pans on the cooker, curtains at the windows and it even had a bed! Of course all the girls, and just a few of the more ‘sensitive’ boys, wanted to play in the Wendy House so we had to take turns so everyone got to have a go playing house and looking after the children (the dolls).

I loved painting. Mrs McManus would set up the easels with a jar of water, brushes and paints, put a plastic apron on us that had sleeves and covered us from head to toe and off we’d go. Everything we produced was a ‘masterpiece’, according to Mrs McManus, and we were allowed to take the masterpieces home to our parents to be pinned on the wall.

Then there was the sand pit, not actually a pit at all but a huge (well everything looks huge when you’re 2½ ) metal tray on legs containing play sand, spades, buckets and other paraphernalia – a great source of fun, it was like being at the seaside!

We also got to play in the huge sinks, measuring water into containers with jugs, and various pieces of equipment which were like a domino effect where you poured water in at one end and watched it move various bits creating fabulous waterfalls. You can imagine the mess we made with that.

Mid morning we would have our little bottle of milk which we drank through a straw and in winter the crates of milk were put on the large metal cage which covered the heater to warm up – I still love warm milk – we always had a biscuit to eat with it too. Something else we were given was a teaspoonful of Cod Liver Oil (I think Rickets was prevalent then – yes I’m that old!) – I can hear you ‘heaving and retching’ - I loved it. I also relished the school lunches, there was always a proper cooked lunch with a pudding afterwards and never being a fussy eater I scoffed the lot!

After lunch Mrs McManus and her helpers would get out the little fold-up beds and set them out in rows, then we would all be settled down with an itchy woollen blanket to have a nap for an hour whilst the teachers had a well earned break. Afternoons meant more play with the many toys and games all designed to help us learn; threading beads on laces, building blocks, weighing and measuring, letter cards to make up words etc, etc. We never realised we were actually learning we just thought we were playing. The very last thing that happened before it was time to go home was story time, when we would sit cross-legged on the floor and listen to some magical fantasy that Mrs McManus read to us – oh I so enjoyed it!

When the day was over I was always glad to see Mum when she came to collect me, but I loved going back to ‘school’ the following morning to my surrogate mum and my school friends. All such a looooong time ago.

What do you remember about your first years at nursery or school?


ciara said...

i didn't attend nursery school. my dad was in the navy and mom was a sahm who took care of me and my bro. i was 4 when i started kindergarten (the cut off date was a lot later back in those days). i had a really kind teacher, but my mom told me that i would cry and try to go home w her. i was really was a major wuss back in the day. i guess that was the start of my dependence on people LOL

Flowerpot said...

I didnt go to nursery school but I started school at 4 and met my best friend that first day. Sadly she moved out to Oz 30 years ago but we still keep in tuoch - spasmodically!

bigbikerbob said...

Hi, I didn't go to nursery School it wasn't about in those old dark days, I actually started school across the road (120 meters)when i was 4. This was unusual then but the headmistress had as a young teacher taught both my Mother and my Uncle, so made a special case for me (a lot less red tape in those days).

girl with the mask said...

I remember seeing the prettiest teacher ever, and then being really dissappointed that I was in the class next door! Shallow, but true. She looked kind because she was pretty though *sigh*

buffalodickdy said...

Kindergarden at 4 yrs. old. 1/2 days back then- baby boom in USA made all schools and classes pretty big...

James Goodman, Author said...

I remember the smell of the little folding padded plastic mats we had to take with us for nap time, mine was blue and red.

Aren't memories the oddest thing, a phrase or a story can dredge up sights, sounds and smells.

Thanks for the trip into those dusty recesses. :D

Momma said...

I love that you remember all of this! It's a nice story.

I didn't go to nursery school, but I did go to kindergarten. I remember one spring day when we were under a tornado warning (this was coastal TX). The kindergarten teachers got both classes together and had us assume the storm position: on our knees, bent forward, hands over the back of our heads. I was scared. I got up. They folded me up again. I got up. Finally, the teacher from the other K class, came over, picked me up, plopped me down rather forcefully and held her hand on my back until she was satisfied that I would not get up.

These days, the parents would probably have sued the school for emotional distress. Those days, however, I was more worried about getting into trouble BOTH with the school and with my parents (because the parents always backed up the teachers then).

I survived and gradually learned all those things I had to know. Still, I remember it like it was yesterday - Peace - D

Marianne said...

This is a fantastic memory, loved it. I remember having to have our pint of full cream milk at break(Maggie hadn't got to it yet!) with a straw pierced through the foil. I remember passing all my leftovers to the plump girl who sat at my table and ate everyone's food because we weren't allowed to throw it away. I also remember seeing one of the dinner ladies flicking her cigarette ash into the cooking pot. So mostly food related memories then!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

no nursery school for me or kindergarten either. i was "back in the olden days" where you went straight to first grade when you were six.

and i had a sandbox in the back yard but cats would find it! ha ha ha

smiles, bee

Anonymous said...

I love that post - such sweet memories. I had a kindergarten teacher I adorted, who sounds much like your Mrs. McManus.

Akelamalu said...

Ah it's nice that you remember you had a kind teacher Ciara.

You still keep in touch with a friend you made when you were 4 Flowerpot? That's amazing!

Oh there definitely wasn't as much red tape in those days bikerbob, just too much of it nowadays!

I remember most of my teachers from primary and junior school with great fondness GIM and most of them were pretty.

You only did half days Buff? For how long?

Yes it's amazing what a little thing can dredge up in the memory isn't it James?

It must have been very scary for little ones Momma and yes, you're right, parents definitely sided with the teacher in those days. If I ever got into trouble at school, which I didn't usually, I didn't dare tell Mum and Dad or I'd have been in trouble at home too!

Oh Marianne you just reminded me of school dinners! I can still smell the mixed veg - Yuk! I loved the milk though and felt sorry for the children who didn't get it after Maggie snatched it.

Those darn cats Bee, they just love sand don't they?

The memory of a nice teacher stays with you forever doesn't it Citizen?

Joy0z said...

I never experience attending nursery school hehe. Thank you for dropping again Malu. Godbless :)

Suburbia said...

It was lovely to read your memories of nursery school.
I can't remember much except the beautiful Viginia Creaper that clug to the walls of the old red brick house that housed our nursery school. The leaves turned a beautiful red in the autumn and I used to like collecting them when they fell!

the teach said...

I never went to nursery or kindergarten. right into first grade for me! And I have no memories except that my brother got hit by a car when he was in first grade. He was fine! :D

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Alas, I never attended nursery school.


Linda said...

Those are some fantastic memories you have there. I never went to nursery school or even kindergarten as there was no such thing in the State that I lived when I was of the right age. I jumped right into first grade with both feet and no clue whatsoever in Arizona where my Dad was stationed with the Air Force at the time.

One of the things I remember from first grade was when we all got to grow a vegetable plant from a side in a milk carton that was cute down. Mine was a lima bean! However, I hate lima beans!

Smalltown RN said...

I never went to nursery mum was home with us...what I do remember was when I was around 5 and my gran from England came to stay with us...what seemed like forever my younger brother and I along with mum and gran of course would go visit people...seemed like we were always going somewhere for lunch...that was great....I don't remember how we got there because my mum didn't drive...and I can't imagine taking the bus with gran....that really was a fun time...

storyteller said...

I didn’t go to nursery school but I did start Kindergarten at the age of 4 … and I remember lots of the same things you do … the sand pit, places to paint and take naps, bottles of milk. Thanks for the memories ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Claire said...

Did you doodle the wendy house?

I am adding this question to my list of future posts :)

Ron said...

What a WONDERFUL memory, Akelamalu!

I felt like I wanted to BE there with you, sharing in all that great stuff! And I would definately be one of the "sensitve" boys playing with the Wendy House!

(maybe you could have taught me how to cook!)

I never went to nursery school...but after reading this...I wish I had!

Thanks for sharing this, dear lady. I loved it!

bindhiya said...

Dear Akelamalu,
Thanks for taking us back to childhood :))
this is a beautiful post and thanks for sharing such beautiful memories with us...
I started kindergarten at nursery...I loved my first school and teacher...and miss them so badly when we move to another town...
love and ((hugs)) to you sweetie..

Odat said...

No nursery school or kindergarten for me either. Right into the first grade. Had a nasty teacher! Or was it me always getting in trouble for talking too much and chewing gum! hehe.


Mary said...

I enjoyed your post. I never attended nursery school and there was no kindergarten in the rural are where I lived, so my first memories of school was grade one.

I was an eager beaver. I wanted to learn everything and am still like that. If something comes up I don't know, I research it.

I remember my first reader with Dick, Jane, Sally and Spot. What wonderful times they had.

Thanks for the walk down Memory Lane. I enjoyed it.


Akelamalu said...

I think you would have enjoyed it Joy :)

That's a lovely memory Suburbia :)

Oh crikey that's not a good memory Teach, but at least he was OK!

Not everyone did Nick :)

I can remember growing mustard and cress at school on blotting paper Linda :)

How you must have enjoyed your Gran's visit RN lunching out every day!

Weren't they the best times storyteller? :)

I certainly did Claire - you've got me started now!

We could have had so much fun together in the wendy house Ron. Don't think I could cook then though :(

Our first teachers can have a profound effect on us can't they Bindi?

What a shame you had a nasty teacher Odat. I can't believe you were naughty! ;)

I was an avid reader and couldn't wait to get onto the next reading book - I went through them like a dose of salts Mary. Glad you enjoyed the memories. x

tut-tut said...

I remember my kindergarten teacher was just like a grandma, but I can't remember her name. My first grade teacher was Miss See, and she taught me to read. I can remember reading that first sentence to this day!

Gledwood said...

I remember wearing dungarees, not being able to get them off and so peeing myself on the chair...

CG said...

That sounds like a very happy set of childhood memories!

Travis said...

Lovely memories!

G-Man said...

I attended a 2 room schoolhouse....
K-3rd on one side
4th-6th on the other
Where's the 55?

Jennifer H said...

My first memories are of kindergarten. I remember never sleeping during nap time, and getting in trouble for talking. I also remember the first time I stood up to read in class when no one else would. Also, my report card said I was bossy. :-)

Raven said...

No nursery school for me either, and my Kindergarten experience hold one of the most terrible memories of my life. My early school years in the Bronx and then on Long Island were fraught with trauma and human beings who should not have been allowed near children. I must have been one hell of a witch in some previous life. Was nice to read about such lovely memories.

Akelamalu said...

A teacher just like grandma tut tut? How wonderful!

Aw that's not a nice memory Gleds :(

Yes it was CG :)

Mmmm I think so too Trav :)

You forgot the time difference g-man! :)

LOL you were bossy Jennifer? :)

How awful that you have bad memories of your early years Raven, that's so sad. :(

Anonymous said...