Discussion Thread

  • 1.  The Life of a Kindergartener

    Posted 12-03-2020 06:56 PM
    Do you remember your kindergarten years or interact with five-year-old children often?  There are a few things that I'd like to borrow from that period in my life for my work life today.  Snack time is one of them but staying curious at work is another.   I remember learning about magnets in kindergarten and going home to try them on every surface around.  Nowadays, I get so caught up in completing a task on schedule that I forget to explore like a child.  

    Are there any experiences from your kindergarten days that you would like to implement in your work life today?

    Thanks for taking a stroll down memory lane with me,

    Jameelah Ingram P.E., M.ASCE
    Washington, D.C.

  • 2.  RE: The Life of a Kindergartener

    Posted 12-04-2020 09:22 AM

    I vividly recall the nap blankets and nap time, the cloak room, the fish pond, finger painting, meeting kids I know to this day and, most of all, my teacher, Ms. Uek. She was my introduction to school and set me on a lifetime of being a perpetual student.

    What do I apply today that I learned then? Curiosity and, of course, naps.


    Stu Walesh PhD, PE
    Consultant - Teacher - Author

  • 3.  RE: The Life of a Kindergartener

    Posted 12-04-2020 09:23 AM
    "Nowadays, I get so caught up in completing a task on schedule that I forget to explore like a child. " - Truer words were never spoken!

    As a kid, I used to like making things out of paper, shoe boxes, paper towel rolls, and glue - rocket ships, buildings, and things like that.

    A few years ago (as an adult) geodesic domes really caught my interest - I visited Epcot at Disney World, a Buckminster Fuller exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum, and the ASM Dome near Cleveland (ASM Headquarters and Geodesic Dome) within a couple of years of each other.

    The geometry of triangles in hexagon and pentagon patterns to create a round surface fascinated me, so I set out on a series of lunch hours (of course, because you can't cut into billable time....) figuring and creating 2D patterns in CAD to print on paper to then cut out and bend and glue together.  I experimented with different approaches - the interlocked hexagons and pentagons (like a soccer ball) vs. concentric rings laced together with triangular bracing.  I ended up with a better understanding of domes and a lot of nice paper models ….. but to this day I haven't had the opportunity to actually design a real one.  I've got a lot of respect for the folks who've designed actual domes - ASM, Montreal, and Epcot (dramatic ones) as well as more workaday ones like covers on water and sewer plant tanks.  More importantly, I got to feel like a kid again and remembered why I was attracted to engineering in the first place.

    Greg Thein, PE
    Cleveland, OH

  • 4.  RE: The Life of a Kindergartener

    Posted 12-08-2020 11:29 AM
    One thing I loved about kindergarten was that we had 3rd Grade Reading Buddies that came to our classroom occasionally and read with us in pairs.
    My reading buddy and I were the only girls in our class that wore glasses, and I thought that was special. 

    It was great for the kindergarteners because we got to have someone reading us fun stories, and it was great for the third graders to practice their reading and encourage a younger student.

    In the workplace, it is so important to not only have a mentor to look up to and model, but it is also beneficial to help those coming up behind you.
    I already try to do this, but it is something that is important to prioritize again from time to time. Even something simple can help form a connection to someone, although as adults maybe it isn't as simple as "we both have glasses."

    Heidi Wallace EI,P.E.,M.ASCE
    Tulsa OK

  • 5.  RE: The Life of a Kindergartener

    Posted 03-17-2021 08:55 PM

    I remember days in preschool where we were placed in a big rooms to figure out how to create on our own. Kids split up into areas, like creating things out of blocks. That was one of the ways I showed an ability to visualize designs in three dimensions.

    In terms of deeper visualization now, I think about being able to examine my responsibilities and figure out if there are any missing or stagnant details. My part-time job involves looking at energy company websites and examining the monthly bills for a database. That became easier to schedule overtime, so at some point, I examined the database's history and the management of the accounts and discovered, one company had reactivated dozens of accounts for apartments. It took a while for anyone in the office to fully realize this, but it was through my deeper analysis that I discovered the accounts not just then, but recently again too.

    When we settle into a schedule, it can take deeper eyes to realize any ways to improve.

    Alexander Granato A.M.ASCE
    Bexley OH

  • 6.  RE: The Life of a Kindergartener

    Posted 03-26-2021 04:14 PM
    @Jameelah Ingram, Good subject. Here's a related experience from my kindergarten years, not specifically from in kindergarten. Our Wisconsin family home was across a highway from Lake Michigan. Often, when I was a very young boy, my mother and I walked to the beach at a point where a creek flowed into the lake. I enjoyed playing there while building dams and levees and digging canals and wells. Late in high school and early in college, I learned that studying civil engineering would enable me to "play" with water, be paid for it, and do some good. Therefore, I appreciatively studied about, researched on, and worked with water in academia, government, and business for several decades. A vivid kindergarten memory is the huge tile-lined fish tank at one end of the massive classroom. There's that water thing again! Stu ​

    Stu Walesh PhD, PE
    Consultant - Teacher - Author

  • 7.  RE: The Life of a Kindergartener

    Posted 03-27-2021 05:19 PM

    Hi Ms. Jameelah Ingram,

    I think maybe what some of us are missing are those moments of exploration without criticism. When we are in kindergarten we don't really think much about what good or bad ideas are and there is an innocence to that level of exploration that a lot of us are missing as adults. When we are in K-12 it's the same throughout the education system, it's a place where creativity, innovation, and valuable discussions are celebrated but when we move on into the workforce some of that gets lost. I found that I went from a platform that celebrated those qualities to something that was more rigid and limiting. If there's anything I would want is to work at a place that maintains the mindset that learning is continuous, learning is celebrated, and it doesn't stop in the workplace. We went from a platform that enhances and encourages performance and great qualities to a platform that is forcing people to crank out extraordinary results, maybe even sometimes on an artificial level. 

    Oanh Le, EIT A.M. ASCE

    Oanh Le EIT, A.M.ASCE (She/Her)
    Rochdale, MA