Topics in Early Childhood Education

Monday, May 18, 2009

But It's Cute!

I am writing this while sitting on my deck eating ice cream (hey...its 90!). I recently remembered a teacher who was very unhappy with me when I asked her to remove a 'cutesy' picture she had created from the wall of the her classroom. She needed the space to display more important items, such as the children's artwork. She was upset because the picture was so 'cute.' Well, sometimes cute stands in the way of functional. We just removed a tree/bush from our backyard (see photo). It was beautiful and added wonderful color, but it blocked the view of our waterfall and pond area from the deck. So we dug it up and put it in the front yard. We initially missed the color splash, but removing that lovely bush has let us enjoy the waterfall and pond area so much more. Not only that, but we have a complete view of the area when grandchildren are here (we still have three that are a worry around the water). It has also let us watch the daily march of the huge flock of quail that come to our yard to feed and bathe (they hatch eggs in the neighbor's unkept yard because they can hide and no one goes in the backyard...but we provide the restaurant and atmosphere). All these things we enjoy more because we moved the beautiful picture...bush. Sometimes adjustments are necessary to see the real beauty around.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Happy Meeting

I just returned from speaking at the New York AEYC Conference in Brooklyn. What delightful people were there at the conference. I had the opportunity to meet Vera B. Williams, one of my favorite authors. We discussed my favorite book that she wrote, "Amber was Brave, Essie was Smart." It is probably one of the least known books my Ms. Williams, but it is my favorite. It is for older children (first grade +) than most of her books. Through prose, it tells the story of two sisters who care for each other while mom works and daddy is 'away.' I always ask my children's literature students to address the multicultural aspects of the book, using the text and the pictures. The book always reminds me of the vulnerability of children and how resilient they can be in difficult circumstances. It was a joy for me to meet Vera Williams, as she has given me many great memories as a teacher and as a grandparent.