When children come to school next week, they will be greeted at the front entrance by this hand painted dove. I can’t imagine anything more welcoming for children than walking across this threshold to start their day at school.
This Peace Dove goes way back, and was painted by Janine, then a parent in my class – the same parent who drew children’s ideas for the Peace Quilt. As years have passed, she has repainted the Peace Dove whenever needed. See, parents hang on long after their child has left school, much like children do.
Janine is an artist, and her daughters were in my class. It’s surprising (in the best of ways) how art can play such a huge role in school. I only have three art posters in the classroom; a sun by Eric Carle, a Grandma Moses painting, and Starry Night. That’s it. Janine’s daughter, Juliet, always loved art, but I had no idea how much the Starry Night poster had influenced her. When she visited MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York City with her family, she was beside herself when she came face to face with the real Starry Night. She kept telling her mom how this was in her classroom and how much she loved it. Mom was shocked and sent me this photo:
I was shocked, too. Juliet had never said anything about Starry Night. I quickly learned that children learn and grow in many different ways. Art is a visual that goes straight to the heart and the brain, much like the effect of a walk in the woods or a day by the ocean. Words aren’t always necessary. Never underestimate the power of art, or the mind of children.
Here is my classroom (it takes a few seconds to connect):
I love the big windows looking out onto ‘the whole wide world’ for children. There are no bright colors, except for toys. In case you haven’t guessed my favorite part of the classroom, here it is:
Reading books to children gives them the greatest foundation for learning. It’s the most important (and favorite) thing I do for children. Plus, it is exciting, fun, and develops a bond between teachers and children. Nothing beats reading aloud! Do you recognize the books on the bookshelf? There is a mix of old and new, fact and fiction, patriotic, rhyming, and wordless. The books rotate every month, plus there is always a ‘little bit of everything’. And, nature is just a few steps away:
Stay tuned for Part 2, starting the new year at school from the teacher’s perspective.