Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PreSchool – The Story of Romana by Jennie Fitzkee

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

Pre-school teacher of over 30 years, Jennie Fitzkee, has been a welcome guest here many times and this is her first post in 2020. This week Jennie shares the lovely story of a little girl from Romania and her family.

The Story of Romana

Romana was from Romania. She was the kindest little girl. She spoke very little English, yet she clearly enjoyed school. She is the child on the far right with the biggest smile.

I remember the day I took this photo. We were playing a game of Musical Chairs. In my version, every time the music stops I take away a chair. Children have to find a lap of another child to sit on. When we get down to two or three chairs, it is a scramble. The squeals and laughing say it all.

Romana loved this game. She also loved art. As a three-year-old she helped illustrate our classroom God Bless America book.

Romana was a born giver. She noticed everything. She loved Milly the Quilter.

The following year her younger sister, Stefana, was in my class. She was a delight. Then their little brother, Vlad, joined school. I loved these children.

I learned much about family traditions and culture in Romania. When Romana was five or six, she went to Romania – alone – to spend much of the summer with her grandparents. They only spoke Romanian.

And then the unthinkable happened. Their father became sick with cancer and died in a relatively short period of time. His mother came to America from Romania to see her son before he died. I went to their house to take care of the children so the adults could have some time together. That was so sad!

I will never forget the funeral. I’d never been to a Greek Orthodox funeral. It was formal, with an open casket. Children were in a playroom downstairs, yet Romana came into the sanctuary, saw me, and climbed up onto my lap for much of the funeral. She was fine. I held it together.

Over the next few years I visited, always bringing my autoharp and a stack of books. We played, sang, danced, and read stories. It was delightful.

Time moves on and so do children and their families. Last week the family stopped by school to say hello and goodbye, as they are moving out of town. I wasn’t there! So, they wrote messages to me on the chalkboard, and climbed up on the loft in my classroom to make me a video.

©Jennie Fitzkee

About Jennie Fitzkee

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.

I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

Connect to Jennie

Blog: Jennie Fitzkee
Facebook: Jennie Fitzkee
Twitter: @jlfatgcs

My thanks to Jennie for permitting me to share this posts from her archives and I know she would love your feedback. thanks Sally.

62 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PreSchool – The Story of Romana by Jennie Fitzkee

  1. Reblogged this on A Teacher's Reflections and commented:
    This is one of my best teaching stories. I loved Romana. May I add that I still carry the paper bracelet she made me many years ago?
    Thank you for posting this, Sally. Read on, and delight in a wonderful little girl and a very special day.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What a delightful post. Love the video. The love of the children shows. It is scary moving to a new country where you don’t know the language. You helped them with the transition and then with them losing their father, Jennie. You will always be special to them. xo

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Robbie. Yes, I did write a post about Romana and the family. Such a wonderful family. When I visited when the father was dying, his mother was there. She insisted that I come and eat some of the things she had baked. She didn’t speak English, but there she was with her son dying, and doing what she needed to do- bake and feed the people who came to visit. Isn’t that wonderful? This new world could certainly use much of the old world.

      Liked by 5 people

  3. Jennie, I doubt there are any other teachers like you! 😀 Giving not only all your time in the classroom with your wonderful and creative classes but giving of yourself, your time and friendship outside school. The support and care to Romana and her family are fantastic and looking at the video it’s heartwarming to see the children’s love for you! Amazing! xx

    Liked by 4 people

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