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  • Writer's pictureMary Roberts


Most children love kindergarten. When the subject comes up, most people talk with great enthusiasm about their time in kindergarten. However, I am the odd one out, I didn't like kindergarten at all. I thought it was an extremely disappointing place to be. I didn’t understand it. I'm not completely sure why this was, but looking back after all these years I am starting to get an idea. Now that I can see it through the eyes of an adult I see a different picture altogether. Unfortunately I also feel reasonably sure that the kindergarten teachers probably found me just as troublesome as I found them.

I did not set out to make trouble. I just didn’t understand what was expected. All sorts of activities happened at different times through the day. We would go outside and play in the sand pit ,we did a lot of colouring in, and what I liked best we would sit around to hear a teacher read a story. I like things to make sense and I could never see the sense in why I should have to go outside and play in the sand pit when other children were allowed to sit around and listen to a story.

I have a very clear memory of one day when the group I was with went outside to the garden and I thought it would be a good idea if I could just quietly join the group listening to the story instead. I couldn’t see that it would be a problem. Obviously it was allowed, others were doing it and there was enough room. I would be quiet, adults always wanted children to be quiet It didn’t occur to me that it would worry anyone. Before long I heard, “Has anyone seen Victoria?” “ Has anyone seen Victoria?” and in my wisdom, the infinite wisdom of a four year old, I just sat there thinking, “If I sit very still and don't make a noise no one will notice that I am here and everything will be all right”.

It seemed a perfectly logical and reasonable thing to me.

Naturally enough, eventually I was found and, surprise, surprise, they weren’t best pleased. Looking at it from an adult's point of view all these years later, I can see why there was such a fuss and I’m glad I’m not looking after such a child. But as the child in question at that time I could not see it from their point of view at all. I hadn't gone outside on the street, which I could see was where they were looking for me. That was definitely naughty, I knew that children were not allowed to go out on the street on their own. I had a perfectly quiet conscience, I was sitting quietly behaving myself and I really could not see what I had done wrong. Other people were sitting there so there couldn’t be anything wrong with it.

Adults can be so unreasonable.

I was just conscious of it being such a waste of time going outside to play when there was plenty of room inside to sit quietly and just listen. I had plenty of time to play outside when there wasn’t a story to be heard.

Were they remiss in getting the adult idea of staying together as a group and rotation of activities through to a small child or was I just a little horror?

Whatever it was I know that listening to a story was my overriding favourite occupation from a very young age.

And now I love writing stories. I would love to bring other people into an understanding of the world I am creating, a world that reflects life as I have known it in the Outback of Australia. The people, the places, the activities - all so clear in my head - create a world that think, that I hope, would be different and fascinating to others who haven’t lived there.

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