First Graders Study Butterflies
Open any door at the preschool on Willow Place and find a world of wonder: children shrink and follow a cat to a moonlit party on the roof; they head off on the R.V. Calypso to explore bioluminescence; they build the Great Wall; they accompany Abu the elephant from Baghdad to Aachen bearing glittery soap for their classmates. The marvelous teachers of the preschool bring these worlds of wonder into play in their imagination. An owl poetry party or a cape-festooned love parade celebrates their travels:
“I love you as much as chocolate ice cream and a heart that loves all of the people in the whole world.”
Open any door in this cabinet of curiosity on Willow Place and find potions and maps and dream-wrenches to fix the time machines. In the course of becoming expert at the stories of Burningham and Ungerer and Scheherezade and Steig the children become expert at considering their own words and the words of their friends and teachers. Their language is tucked into poems in their pockets and their playful performances; their art, swirling everywhere, reflects their visual ingestion, a translation of the data surrounding them:
“I love you as much as a chocolate house and as much as going to Coney Island.” –Talia
Open any door of the four classrooms of the preschool, or to the shady play yard or the beamed big room and find us as we spin our world into existence. We paint it, play it, sculpt it, dance it, draw it, sing it, push it, shove it and it becomes ours. What a bunch of thieves we are sitting around telling stories about heists and bests and wranglings. We take this world with its bones and toenails, shells and rock, needle and thread and tell it into the rest of our lives. This is just one of our beginnings.
Head of the Preschool