Gloria’s Holiday, a Final Adventure

Today Gloria’s journal was delivered to the class with a final entry, her adventures over Thanksgiving, snow days, and the build up to Christmas.  I promised her I would share it.  She was very excited.  Of course it was hard to read her journal to the children with so many eager little bodies pressed against me, wanting to see everything.

       

Gloria came to visit for the Thanksgiving break and was so lucky to get a couple of bonus snow days, too!  This gave us lots of time to do lots of fun activities – karate class, 2 Thanksgiving dinners, a trip to Cape Cod, playing outside in the fresh snow – just to name a few!  We also have so much fun when Gloria comes to visit!
         -The Farrington Family-

As a backstory, the Dad was a former Aqua Roomer (yes, the Dad) and my former assistant teacher.  Big brother Colin was a former Aqua Roomer for two years.  He knows, “Once an Aqua Roomer, always an Aqua Roomer.”  That means Gloria can always visit.  Little brother will soon be an Aqua Roomer.

Dear Gloria, I think you are ready for a long winter’s nap.

Jennie

Posted in Diversity, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Family, Giving thanks, Gloria, Inspiration, Student alumni, Teaching young children | Tagged , , , , , , , | 57 Comments

Gloria’s Happy New Year

Taking Gloria home for a weekend is a big deal for children.  Taking her home for the holidays is an even bigger deal.  Gloria spent Christmas and New Years with Landon and Savannah.  She returned today, to be greeted by many hugs.  This is her journal, and latest entry  with photos:

Dear Aqua Room,

Happy New Year 2020!
We had the pleasure of celebrating Christmas and New Year’s with Gloria.  Landon and Savannah brought her everywhere, including the hockey rink to skate.  Gloria rung in the new year at Grandma Spar’s house and even wore a pair of her famous mittens.  We introduced Gloria to all our friends and family.  Thank you for letting us enjoy her for the holidays.

Love, The Spar Family.

Don’t you love the hats?  Check out the treehouse in Landon’s bed.

Gloria, we love your Happy New Year glasses!

Accepting differences is one thing.  Defending those differences that you accept is another.  I often think about the children when they take Gloria out.  Yes, people ask them questions and don’t understand.  It takes courage to stick up for others, like Gloria.  She brings more than just kindness to the children.  She helps them to develop a moral compass and take a stand.

Happy New Year, Gloria!

Jennie

Posted in behavior, Diversity, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Gloria, Kindness, Love, Teaching young children | Tagged , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Quotations On Creativity

Here are three of the best quotations on Creativity. Thank you, Charles French.

charles french words reading and writing

Henri_Matisse,_1913,_photograph_by_Alvin_Langdon_Coburn

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Creativity takes courage. ”

                                                               Henri Matisse

Angelou_at_Clinton_inauguration_(cropped_2)

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

                                                               Maya Angelou

Leonardo_self

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“The knowledge of all things is possible.”

                                                                Leonardo da Vinci

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“Starry Night” Continues

The walls in my classroom are mostly filled with children’s art, as it should be.  Gone are the flashy colors and cute teacher decorations.  I learned long ago they are more of a distraction than anything else to children.  My one non-child piece of art displayed in the classroom is a poster of Starry Night, the famous painting by Vincent van Gogh.  I have had it hanging for years, above the loft, where children can easily see it every day.

I really didn’t do much with the poster.  It wasn’t necessarily part of my curriculum, although sometimes we talked about the art when we prepared for our annual art show.  It was just ‘there’, something beautiful to look at.

That changed when Juliet and her family visited MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York.  Her mom sent me this photo, and told me how Juliet was so excited to see Starry Night – the art she had always loved and remembered from her years in my classroom.

I had no idea.  She never told me.  But, isn’t that how it is with art?  Children internalize their environment.  They may not talk about it, but they feel it.  Juliet certainly did.

As the years have gone by, Starry Night has been replicated, admired, studied and often discussed in my classroom.  It is an Aqua Room symbol of love and joy.  It is part of who we are.  And, it keeps growing.

For example, when the children were painting on wood in the style of Renaissance art, Liam shook his head no and said, “I want to paint that”, pointing to Starry Night.  Of course I got him the paint colors- blue, yellow, white, and black.  After a short while he asked me for red.  Red?

“Liam, there isn’t any red in Starry Night.”

“Yes there is.”

“Where?”

“In the house.  The red house.”

“What red house?”

The one near the bottom.”

“Liam, come and show me.”

We went to the top of the loft, and sure enough there it was – a red house!  I had no idea.  All these years and I never saw it.  Liam did.  Children often see things that adults miss.

He painted the house and was very satisfied with his work of art.

The red house story has been told and retold over the past years.  I have yet to meet an adult that knew of the house.  This Christmas I was thrilled to receive a hand made pair of fleece socks, complete with the little red house, from a former Aqua Room parent.  Her children were Starry Night lovers, too.

Starry Night lives on and will forever be.  Happy New Year to all!

Jennie

Posted in art, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Imagination, Inspiration, joy, Love, museums, Teaching young children, The Arts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 78 Comments

Today’s Quote

Soul Gatherings

If in our daily life we can smile,
if we can be peaceful and happy,
not only we, but everyone will profit from it.
This is the most basic kind of peace work.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~
___________

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“The” Quote 0f 2019 – 50 years later

Fifty years ago the first astronauts landed on the moon.  This event brought to the world the victory of science, hopes and dreams – and proof that anything can be achieved with hard work, bravery and spirit.

In recognition of this historic and important event, I want to share Neil Armstrong’s quote.  It is the most important quotation this year, just as it was fifty years ago:

“With courage, imagination, and the will to explore – nothing is impossible.”
-Neil Armstrong-

Whether it is landing on the moon, or finding your way, or taking a risk – Neil Armstrong nailed it.

Jennie

Posted in America, geography, Inspiration, patriotism, Quotes | Tagged , , , | 52 Comments

The Sticky Bun Lady

Christmas Eve

every year for the past thirty years

the sticky bun lady delivers

her special Christmas treat.

Her children were my preschoolers

thirty-something years ago.

She made her famous sticky buns with the class

and the rest is history… and breakfast.

Merry Christmas!

Posted in Expressing words and feelings, Giving, Giving thanks, Kindness, Love, preschool, Student alumni, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 43 Comments