Thank You’s & Mirrorwork

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By Laurie

First of all I want to start off with a big thank you to our school community for helping us in numerous ways stay healthy, especially last week! Being healthy was a BIG subject at Elm House and our families who came to school helped us out with special attention to hand washing and picking up those wet bags every day, thank you! With lower attendance rates at school, teachers were also working hard at extra sanitizing and Spring Cleaning all week. We do so appreciate your working with us and the children in your conversations, thoughtfulness, and keeping sick kiddos home. I hope those of you who are under the weather feel better soon!

Our continued thanks to families who joined us for our Saturday garden work party. It was a smashing success and great fun! Thank you for sharing your time, good food, garden tools, and muscles to make our outside space look fresh and vibrant!

While our weeks have been graced by the sun, we’ve been doing some work around identity and noticing skin color. I am curious about what provocations lead to conversations about noticing difference, and how we might facilitate more conversations.

We took out the outside mirror again and began washing it’s surface last week on one of our sunny, warm days. This created an afternoon of focus and engagement with this small group, intent on cleaning, spreading mud, finding ways to interact with the mirror’s surface (“It’s slippery!”) through walking feet with shoes and without, running trucks, using sponges and brushes and chalk on it.

We saw how many children could (safely) line up on the slippery surface of the mirror, and how leaves did cleaning it compared to sponges. It appeared to me as though the children’s favorite tools wished to interact with the mirror, when I played “peek-a-boo” with my reflection nobody jumped in, but a shovel joined the game for a short time. Perhaps this group was interacting with the mirror from a place of what tools, toys and imaginary or sensory play they were most engaged with at the time?

 We have begun some art projects moving from our rainbow color-matching work to noticing colors all around, as well as continued conversions about hair, eyes, and skin tone. In my conversations just starting out about hair, eyes and skin, I’m noticing a trend toward attributing traits of friends on themselves- a child with brown eyes seeing their friend with blue eyes and saying, “My eyes are blue!”, or asking about matching skin tone and getting either a favorite color (“purple!”) or the color the kiddo is wearing that day. Hmmm, looks like we may need a story here to help us out!

Stay tuned to see where our explorations in identity lead us!

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