🐸My Etsy Sh🌎p🐸

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Beauty in the World

 "Every child has the right to know that there is beauty in the world." - Isaac Stern

Last Friday evening, I went to a ballet recital for 2-7 year olds.  As I snapped pictures of my little ballerina in the corridor, this quote was on the wall above her.

I can honestly say that the words that someone painstakingly scribed onto the wall of that elementary school hallway wall have haunted me for days.  Sometimes, we lose ourselves in the pace of the day to day, only see what is directly around us.  That overscheduled calendar dictates our movements.

But that quote forced the Big Picture into focus.
 Early childhood is IN me; it's part of who I am.  I have been "teaching" kids since I was 12 years old. They needed a Sunday School teacher for the 3 year old class and no one could do it, so I stepped in. I quickly learned (by the seat of my pants!) classroom management, engagement, making learning fun. It became a passion for me.  Me and children are like magnets! We just seem to find each other everywhere - the classroom, the street, the grocery store.  When people who know me speak of me, it's always about my work in the early education field.
 Though I did not know it, I grew up poor.  We had enough.  I always had food, a beautiful home, and clothes. But by most standards, we were poor.  Financially, we did not have money, but we were not in poverty.  My father often worked his full-time factory job and then side jobs to make sure that his family of five was always taken care of.

When I moved to "the big city" as my grandma called it, I saw poverty.  I saw children needing the basics - food, clothing, education, books read to them, a safe home. I worked in a low income preschool and after care program.  I more than once bought diapers for a single parent or food for a family to take home for the weekend as I knew there was nothing in their cupboards.

I felt God's hand pushing me to embrace these children, to help them, to educate them, to read so so many books to them, to spark their love of learning.

I think teaching preschool has been among my greatest accomplishments.
Thanks in part to that quote written on an elementary school wall, I am feeling His nudge again - a nudge to do something. Something bigger.  Something for those in need. Something to give back.  I don't know why (honestly, I don't), but Africa keeps coming to mind.  As I am writing this, I feel a sense of "yes!" and need to explore this calling.  I know that there is work to be done here close to home and in the US.  I do.
I believe that children have the right to education, clean water, food, books, love, art. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if children knew the beauty in the world? There is so much chaos and ugliness in the world, but there is also beauty and kindness and amazing people. How am I going to change the world today? How am I going to change the world of a child today? I guess this post will have to end "to be continued".

Have a fun and playful day,

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Play Dough Perfect Play

 Early childhood education will always have a special place in my heart.  I taught preschool for 12+ years and loved it so much!
 I used to tell parents, "Play isn't rocket science, but it is IMPORTANT."
 Two of the most beneficial things that parents can do with their child:
1.) Read
Read lots of books. Read all types of books.  Read all the time.
2.) Play Dough
The benefits of play dough outweigh any mess that may occur.  Child are squeezing and pinching and poking and rolling play dough.  These actions are strengthening their small muscles in their fingers that will someday soon need to be strong enough to hold and control a pencil to write their letters, their name, the next great American novel!  :)
 Play dough brings out the imagination.  This morning, in a matter of 30 minutes, Roo made a forest scene, a nest, and an ocean.
 My friend Kira @z_dough makes wonderful wonderful wonderful scents in her play dough.  This morning, we played with Blueberry, Wntergreen, and Eucalyptus.
 Did you know that smells "awaken the brain" to learning?  They do!  Why not incorporate smells (good ones!) into play?  Children will be using the sense of smell and touch when playing with ZDough.
Play is important.
Play does not have to be complicated.
Play Dough.
Splashing in water.
Finger paints.
Pretend play.
Don't over think it.  Let your child take the lead. See what interests them and play along! As I always say, the play possibilities are endless.

Have a fun and playful day!

@z_dough on Instagram