This weekend, I will get the wonderful privilege to volunteer as a Storywalk reader for Beginning With Books. I’m so excited to present a new version of a book I’ve incorporated into pre-school performance and workshop for almost fifteen years. Honey I Love, by Eloise Greenfield has been redone with colour pictures by artist, Jan Spivey Gilchrist!
Back when I was actively presenting workshops, I used to pack extra copies. Invariably, there was always some little kid who couldn’t let me leave with the book. I’ve probably bought 25 copies of the original version. I mean, could you stand in a housing project looking a cute kid in the eyes and take a book away from them? Not me.
Reading at the Storywalk will be a wonderful end to a week in which I’ll be combining my skills as an artist, performer, educator and mother for the first time in a year. I’m nervous. I can handle the 6 - 8 group. I excel with the 9 - 13 crowd. And I always manage to be effective with the teens. I’ve done performances for pre-schoolers before. I’ve even done a few early literacy workshops. But, I’ve never taught a class for a term for a bunch of 3 - 5 year olds.
For two hours over the next ten week period, I’ll have a group of twelve 3 - 5 year olds at PALS Enrichment Programs. I’ll be teaching a class called “The Fun Peace.” I think I’m crazy. But, I believe that early exposure is one of the most critical gifts a parent can give a child. So, here is the synopsis:
The Fun Peace
Peace can mean many things - quiet, stillness or an active call. Fall is the perfect time for reflection on connection, stillness, warmth, co-operation, and love. Every human, no matter how small wants to be in a peaceful place. Using movement, art, poetry, folk tales and historical stories, this class seeks to invite young people to find and become peace. During the term we will decorate candles; make drums; become "a living drum;" walk a spiral, dance and a host of other creative projects. Young people will be afforded opportunities for creative undirected and directed play. And hopefully, together, we will write our own peace stories. Historical figures introduced will include: Cesar Chavez, Wangari Maathai, Martin Luther King Jr, Ghandi, Alia Muhammad Baker and Chief Seattle's speech about the Earth.I originally developed the class because I was pondering the way in which I’m raising my son as a conscientious objector. (You can look at these old posts for more information.) As we read books and did projects, I realized some other parents may want to have an arty-crafty, storytelling, movement, history class. I was right, because parents actually signed up for the class!
If it hadn’t been for PALS, I wouldn’t have believed the work we are doing at home is relevant to others. So, now, by giving of my time, energy and expertise, I am once again a community organizer. If any of you out there are interested, I’ll post my bibliography and lesson plan each week. That way you can round up your friends and teach it along side of us.
As to Sarah Palin - to whom I don’t want to give undeserved attention - watch out! Here comes a next generation of community organizers. And because of the class size, we outnumber the drones you’ll be unleashing on the world two-to-one.