Today, we went on a field trip to an apple orchard north of St. Paul. We drove through some beautiful country, and I tried to turn off the part of my brain that calculates the disparity between million-dollar homes and a bus full of homeless kids in matching rugby shirts who will mill around in the wind for a couple hours and then head back to the shelter.
I don't think the kids noticed.
There were other school groups there—including from a Muslim school, a very photogenic bunch of suburban kids and a smattering of mothers bringing their home-schooled children.
Our kids poked their heads through painted plywood cutouts, felt dried corn husks, crammed into a playhouse and rode through one orchard on a trailer towed by a tractor. Some, thankfully not too many, explored the port-a-johns. Next, they went through a store where they couldn't buy anything, looked at an apple sorter that wasn't running and peeked through a window at an old man doing something that produced condensation on the glass.
Back outside, they made an attempt at Duck, Duck, Goose that turned into a mobius chase of a A calling J a goose and then J calling A a goose and then A calling J a goose and then kids were running every which way and then it was time to get back on the bus.
This is preschool, not college prep, and I don't think we achieved any learning that would show up on a standardized test.
But at this age, it's hard know for sure.
G, the kid labeled as developmentally delayed, was my buddy for the day, and though I spent a fair amount of time retrieving his wind-blown Yankees cap and keeping him away from the lake, I have a hunch he is further along this week than last. M is on a behavior plan and did not make the trip.
I saw J's dad on my way out for the day. I told him how much I enjoyed his son. I expected the father to be proud of the boy, who knows his letters and has a generally happy disposition.
Instead, the father sighed and said, "I wish he was that way all the time."