Children

My First Year of School

In summers, during most of high school and college, I worked in a summer camp. My assignment was, pretty much, to protect and entertain a cottage full of three-to-five-year-olds. It was such fun that I decided I’d like to teach children as a career.

After graduating from the university, our certificates covered: nursery, kindergarten, and grades 1-8.

As luck would have it, before graduation I was hired to teach in my hometown. The year was 1969, a year of many problems and few jobs. So this was a blessing.

Journey to Art

Some say infants are born with wisdom and abilities. It is a thought to ponder.

Let’s take a journey watching a young artist create and grow.

When a baby is old enough to manipulate small objects, he should be given one crayon and a white piece of paper. He will be beyond delighted when he realizes that he has the power to make this crayon work. You’ll see a big, happy, toothless smile! Share in his joy.

Best of Friends

Two four year old girls in my nursery school class were the best of friends. When one entered the room, the other would run to give her a big, welcoming hug. They managed to sit side-by-side throughout all activities and held hands when they walked around the room.

These girls were bright, creative and mature beyond their years. Every so often, something of interest would happen at home and they would turn this idea into a little two girl play.

These plays delighted me so much I’d stop what I was supposed to be doing and watch (from afar, of course).

Farms and Pies Oh My

When Bruce and I were first married, we discovered Jones’ Family Farm, and started a tradition.

Each October we’d go to the farm and pick out a huge pumpkin. Then we’d bring it home, and work all weekend to make pies (usually 9) and loaves (usually 6).

Sometimes, we’d make pumpkin cookies or pumpkin pancakes (not a big hit). We’d cook the seeds. Then we’d distribute the pies to my parents and my brother Mike, Bruce’s parents, aunties, neighbors, etc.

I’d always bring some in for the teacher’s lounge at Second Hill Lane School.

Blueberry Day

One of our favorite summer days was blueberry day.

We’d put on old clothes, our straw hats, then gather our baskets and make our way to the Jones’ Family Farm in Shelton. We’d hitch a ride on the “berry ferry”, and be driven out to the blueberry bushes.

Blueberries are easy to pick and practically popped into our small baskets. When our small baskets were filled, we’d dump them all into the big basket and fill that up. The camera was always on hand.

After the picking, we’d drive to Huntington Center and have lunch and dessert at Sassafras Restaurant.

Writing on the Back

One of the most popular games with my children was to write on the child’s back, and have them tell me what I wrote.

It starts really simple, like writing an “A” or an “O”. Then I’d draw some symbols like a plus sign, a box, a triangle, or even a tree.

Then more challenging was writing a word or a phrase.

This is really fun, sensing what someone is writing on your back. It could be your arm or leg, too. But we used the back.

We would reverse roles, too. And I would guess what they were writing.

Sniffing Spices

When my children were very young, we would play a game. They would smell spices, herbs, and other flavorings. The idea was not necessarily to know their names, but rather to become familiar with them directly, meeting them, letting them talk to the children.

Remarkably, many years later, I learned that this is how indigenous people would learn about healing plants – by meeting them and learning from them, rather than human experts.

The children really had definite opinions about each flavoring.

Make Believe

Many years ago, there was a day when I wanted my two young children to pick up sticks and branches in the yard.

They didn’t want to do it. They saw it as work - my work.

So I told them the branches are really lambs, and we need to bring them together over there in a pile. That worked wonders. They were very happy to bring all these stray lambs together. A little “baaaa’ing” helped too.

Failure Leads to Success

Often in life we discover that failure leads to success.

Let’s think about it. Two parents are raising two children: Joey and Johnny.

When Joey’s learning to walk, his mom is holding his hands as walks across the room to his dad. Along the path, walking across the room, Joey is secure, he can’t fall because mom’s holding him, and he feels protected. And everything he does is perfect in the eyes of his parents, because he successfully walked across the room to daddy.

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