Monday, September 06, 2010

Kasia Manual

This being the start of school, and Kasia's first week in Grade 1, we were asked to write a letter to her teacher to help her place Kasia in context. This is an abridgement of what my wife wrote:

If Kasia came with an instruction manual, the on-switch would be a picture of a horse. She is obsessed with horses and mythical horse-like creatures, such as Pegasus’s and unicorns. The off-switch would be a picture of a raw carrot—unless she got to feed it to a horse!

Kasia is a really cool kid. Sometimes she is shy, but once she gets comfortable in a setting, she tends to dominate a room and ‘take charge’. For this reason, she is particularly excited when she gets to be an assistant to her teacher and really enjoys helping out when there are kids who are new or struggle socially.

We have always been impressed by Kasia’s sense of compassion. If a child is hurt or crying, she will seek out the child, ask to help and will connect on a very empathetic level with their emotional state. She feels others’ sufferings very deeply—sometimes too deeply. Although this empathy will be applied to other children, it is most apparent when she sees/hears of the suffering of an animal. For this reason, she is deeply connected to issues of animal cruelty and neglect. She is very interested in wild horse conservation and dog rescue work. We have a dog, Jackie, who was rescued from an environment where she suffered terrible facial/head injuries and lost an eye [her full name is One Eyed Jack(ie)!] If Kasia had her way, we would have a ranch with hundreds of horses and dogs. Just to warn you—if there is a dog being walked through the playground, Kasia will be right there. We have instructed her to always ask permission to pet the dog first and she tends to be quite good about this.

Kasia has a really great sense of humour. She loves puns and practical jokes. She often comes out with witty comments which seem beyond her years. Indeed, we often discover the extent of her vocabulary when she comes out with a witty retort using unexpected words. She might have a future as a standup comedian. She has done improv through drama programs and shines in this area.

Kasia loves to sing. She has a lovely voice and can riff on the harmonica like an old blues singer.

Kasia has been very reluctant to learn to read. Her explanation to us is that ‘reading is what you do when you don’t want to play ponies’. And, there is nothing better in her mind than playing with her toy horses. Her sister, who reads a great deal, uses the excuse/explanation of reading to avoid playing with her sister. Typical teen behavior, but Kasia seems to blame the reading, rather than her sister.

Kasia loves science. She particularly loves doing experiments or studying something (like a leaf) in great depth, memorizing every nuance. She has recently developed a fascination with history and has started requesting history lessons at night instead of bedtime stories.

Kasia wants to be a vet when she grows up. Actually, she wants to own a horse ranch in Hawaii and work with rescued dogs and horses. She is totally obsessed with horses and loves to ride. She takes riding lessons and asks daily for us to buy her a horse of her own. Any writing or reading activity which involves animals will engage her attention.

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