What a wild and wonderful week this has been (a little drama, too…but I’ll get to that later). I do a few workshops for early childhood educators each year, and I had one planned for last Saturday for about a year. Well, on Wednesday, my “favorite son” (ok, they are all my favorite, but this one has supplied me with my only grandchild!) called to say that he, his wife and the little prince (along with their two dogs) had some time and could come to visit at the beach for a few days. Doesn’t it always happen that way?
Well, anyhow, I told them about my workshop and encouraged them to come on and enjoy the beach house for a couple of days while Sugarman and I took the 4 hour trip to the workshop, then we would all hang out together for a couple of days when we returned. Turns out that was the perfect plan!
Our baby, now 13 months old, and just as beautiful and precious and smart as you would expect his grandmother to believe him to be, loves the beach. He’s a fiend for the sand and is fearless about the water. His mom slathered him with sunscreen and topped his little red head with the cutest beach hat and he cruised the beach, wooing our somewhat elderly friends and neighbors along the way. What a treat!
While my heart was home with the baby, my brain and self were at my workshop in central Texas. My background is in early childhood education and child development. I’ve worked for years as a teacher, principal, and university professor in this area, and just wasn’t ready to give it up. This workshop was on the topic of Inclusion of Special Needs children in the regular education early childhood classroom. I had a great time working with 30+ preschool teachers. We sang, danced, worked on mini-projects, and even did a little “Name That Tune” to illustrate the power of music in our lives.
I shared several books with the group, including Hooray for Diffendoofer Day, Leo the Late Bloomer, We’ll Paint the Octopus Red, and The Important Book. What a great way to illustrate concepts and to demonstrate the power of children’s literature!
I have found that teachers really appreciate a “cute” setting for their training sessions. Now, of course, the foundation needs to be a well researched, well developed workshop, but I don’t see anything at all wrong with making the setting attractive and pleasant. I have worked with several professors in the past who told me that “cute” was a bad thing. What I say is that we are not doing brain surgery! We are working with preschool teachers, who appreciate these kinds of things. Besides, I really enjoy making things look cute.
So, I’ll show you some photos. In the little origami sailboats (that I learned how to do when I was in China last summer) are filled with 1/2 M&Ms and 1/2 goldfish crackers (I love a little sweet and salty snack when I’m listening to a speaker!) . I provided little tiny jars of play dough for them to mess with while they listened, and worked to have attractive and well designed handouts and a workshop that includes active participation. I thought it was fun.