Monday, October 29, 2012

Handmade Fabulous-ness!

Two Saturday’s ago (aka, a million years ago in kid speak), Churton Street in downtown Hillsborough was awash with a school of fish, hopping frogs, munchy crunch beavers, and a swarm of dragonflies. Kids and grown-up kids alike donned masks, costumes and paper-hand puppets to bring the Eno River to dry land. The Green building classrooms worked alongside teachers, parents and grandparents to create their vision of the Eno.

Dana’s class began their investigation by reading books about river animals. The kids all chose an animal that they wanted to embody and filled their journals with drawings and costume visions. Classroom Mom, and costume wizard Janine helped the kids bring their drawing to life! Riley said that she was going to be a pink coyote, but lured away by the notion of wings, choose to be a dragonfly…and really can you blame her? I asked other kids to tell me about their choices:

“I was a lizard because I thought it was so great!”- Reese
“I was a duck, because I like their pretty feathers” Andy
“I was an alligator, because I like their teeth”.  Quincy

For weeks, kids painted alligator tails, and butterfly wings, made crowns for their parents, and doodly-boppers for their siblings.

Amy’s class studied the ins and outs of river life: plants, animals, muck and yuck. The class made the call to become a school of fish. Each child chose a different fresh water fish, and set about transforming cardboard to dazzling rainbow trout, salmon, and what Abigail called “an America Fish”.  I asked Amy’s kids to tell me more about the parade:

“We had to walk a loooong way” said Ella Marie
“And we had to stop a lot too” Said Elise
“Yeah” continued Ella Maire, “we were so hot, but we got popsicles at the end!”

The costumes were amazing and the studies were engaging, but the real magic came as the kids marched up the street lined with smiles cheering them on. The kids waved like presidential candidates as their community called their names and celebrated their accomplishment. Warm and fuzzy doesn’t even cover how I felt watching these kids soak in the Hillsborough love.  It made me proud for my town to actively say THIS is important. ART is important. Our KIDS are important. To march these values right through the center of town made me giddy with love for Hillsborough, and beaming, shinning pride in our TLS kids!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hello Stranger

Two Saturday’s back, Chef Nate whipped up an insane amount of banana pudding while we flung our doors open to all of our family and friends for a big honking picnic. We invited local legend Katherine Whalen and Her Fascinators to perform for us all. The TLS all-star kids took up all manner of shakers and tambourines to help the band keep the beat. Parents and teachers spread out blankets in the setting sun, while the kids whizzed by with their friends, a blur of giggles and sweat.

This is by far one of my favorite events of the year, and not just because banana pudding is involved. One of the core tenants of the Reggio philosophy is community, and boy oh boy, do we love our community. Born out of the wreckage of post war Italy, the towns surrounding Reggio Emilia leaned heavily on the community to pool their resources (physical and otherwise) to educate their kids. The result was a multi-facetted and supportive environment where teacher, parent and kids were all partners in the child’s education. It takes a village. 

Now this may all sound like a lofty idea for a banana pudding fueled party, but the sheer pride a child takes when he shares his school world with his home world is not to be missed. The casual conversations between parents on a picnic blanket acts as a pipeline of information where advice and anecdotes can flow freely. A little talk between a teacher and parent about the awesomeness of the band, opens the door for when there needs to be a big talk about a bite on the playground.

So thank you, thank you to all our friends, family and teachers who showed up to share the sunset with us. Your support and encouragement mean the world not just to us, not just to your (super wonderful) kids, but to this big ole village we are in. If we were in post war Italy, I’d totally have your back.