I just returned from a kindergarten room at Chester-Andover Elementary School in Chester where nineteen children completed an embroidery project. So just what do children learn from such an experience? Let's back up.
Last year Mrs. Fonseca was the kindergarten teacher. The plan was she would lead those children in her class through to third grade. To help the children become aware of their community, the busload of kids visited Chester businesses, including Bonnie's Bundles Dolls. First it was a show and tell here at the gallery; a week later Lew and I visited their classroom to make calico paper dolls. This clever teacher wrote a grant for my working with her class over five months. The Green Mountain Festival accepted her proposal to fund my time and the materials. We made flower dolls, puppets, sachets, and ended the fun here in May designing and stitching calico animals, topped off with a cookout.
This morning's event was to finish what started last Friday when the sixth kindergarten class to visit came by bus. After my little speech in the living room where Silvio plunked himself down among the children, we moved to the dining room table where the "how a doll is made" story was told and observed. Split into groups, they participated in four stations: drawing a face of their own design, embroidering a traced image, stuffing limbs with Lew and completing the Where's Silvio? puzzle. Today, those who hadn't had a chance to embroider did. What fabulous work they did. Wait until the third grade teacher, my master embroiderer, sees the work of Field. We already learned that fine embroidery stitches correlate to great math skills. Even boys stay focused. The hour was very well spent. Alex gifted me with a handmade potholder, and I shared with her how I made them when I was her age. There was joy about our returning Friday morning to make Calico Paper Dolls.
Can you tell how charged I am? There is some sun, so I am heading out to put my annuals into the gardens. Later this afternoon Zoe is coming to finish her Decorator Dolly. That's another great story for another time.