In September, many children start kindergarten. For many of them this is something new. There are new friends, new adult teachers, new games, new meals and new rules. Vojta started to go to one of these kindergartens. He was a restless boy who was always making things up and didn’t want to listen. As soon as he came to the kindergarten on his first day, the teacher saw in his mischievous eyes that he was going to be a rascal. He was a good boy, but he couldn’t stand still and didn’t seem to hear the teacher’s commands.
The first week in kindergarten, the teacher explained the rules to the children. One of them was called the turtle rule. The teacher pulled out a big piece of paper. It had a turtle drawn on it and children around it. She pointed to the picture and explained: “Children, this rule is called the turtle rule. It is very important that none of you get hurt in kindergarten. Turtles walk slowly, so we will not run and jump in kindergarten either, so we won’t hit anyone or fall down ourselves. Of course, if we all play a game together that involves jumping and running, we break the rule. But if we go to get a drink, go to the bathroom, or clean up toys, we will follow the turtle rule. We’ll walk nice and slow so we don’t hurt anyone.”
No sooner had she finished talking than Vojta jumped up and ran to the toilet. Then, in the distance behind him, he heard everyone calling out to him, “Vojta, the turtle rule!” And so it repeated several times a day. Almost every time he ran somewhere or went to get something. He could never walk slowly. Vojta was so fast and restless that he always took off like a shot and was always running somewhere. Sometimes he dropped something, sometimes he bumped into someone. The teacher was unhappy with him. Only after a few months did Vojta slow down a little. He kept repeating the turtle rule in his head.
But one day something happened that surprised all the children in the kindergarten. The children were already lying nicely in their beds after lunch. They hadn’t slept yet, but they were resting. The teacher was sitting at her desk reading a story to the children when suddenly the phone rang. The teacher was startled and in order to answer it, she quickly jumped up and ran across the classroom. But the floor was already wiped, clean and wet. And as the teacher hurried across the wet floor, her foot slipped and stretched both wide and long on the floor.
All the children ran around her. Among them, of course, was Vojta. He smiled at the teacher and said: “Teacher, the turtle rule. You have forgotten it.” At that moment the teacher was ashamed. She sat down and smiled: “You are right, Vojta. I had completely forgotten the turtle rule. And then it turns out like this. That’s not the way to do it, children.” All the children started laughing and were glad that their teacher hadn’t been hurt. From then on, they all remembered all the rules. And the children and the teacher followed them.