Women’s History Month in STL…

March gives us the opportunity to highlight the power and influence of women in our shared story. If you’re staying in town over Spring Break, take some time to dip into women’s history. If you’re off on an adventure, check these out on your return!

Explore American history through the experiences of women who lived in St. Louis over the centuries. The Missouri History Museum Guide can be found here: https://mohistory.org/learn/schools/womens-history/

Add some Mighty Girl Picture Books to your home collection or look for them in the library! https://www.amightygirl.com/mighty-girl-picks/top-picture-books

Hall of Famous Missourians, Missouri State Capitol, Jefferson City

Did you know these women have notable connections with Missouri? “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, Josephine Baker, Tina Turner, Susan B. Anthony and Laura Ingalls Wilder…Read about them, talk at the dinner table and consider a day trip! https://missouriwomen.org/exhibits/experiencing-womens-history-in-missouri/

Frida Kahlo
*gelatin silver print
*Oct. 16 / 1932

Tuesday, March 26, 2019  6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Saint Louis County Library, Oak Bend Branch
Friday Frenzy: Get inspired by the great Frida Kahlo and create your own artistic masterpiece. Ages 6-12. Registration required. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Saint Louis Public Library, Central Library
Noteworthy and Notorious Women: Did you know there are some ‘Noteworthy and Notorious Women’ laid to rest here at Bellefontaine Cemetery and Arboretum?

Fri, March 29, 2019 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Shameless Grounds, 1901 Withnell Avenue, 63118
SHE Stories: Misbehaved Women: “In honor of Women’s History Month we want to celebrate all of the misbehaved women that have paved the way, rocked the boat, and challenged the status quo. Join Super Heroines, Etc. for tales of the women through history, women we’ve known, and the women that we are.”

My thanks to Jade Venditte for sharing these events with our community!

The Sheldon…

As the Children’s House Extended Day children prepare for an upcoming trip to the Sheldon, let’s look back at the adventure they had with the Elementary children last November when they went to Drums and Dances of Africa with Diadie Bathily and Afriky Lolo. The program sought to introduce students to “the sounds and movements of West Africa, with music and dance that celebrate history, nature and community.”

The children were of course prepared for the experience. Elementary students had lessons on the featured choreographer and his dance team as well as working on rhythm and mapping the countries of Western Africa. Upper Elementary students shared their work by helping to prepare the Children’s Houses for the experience.

The younger children were then invited to a sensorial experience of the drums at hand!

The bus trip is admittedly always a highlight of these adventures.

The performance itself received rave reviews from children and adults alike!

Children and adults from each class were invited to join the group on stage to learn a dance.

What a morning for our Extended Day children!

While Extended Day children boarded buses back to school, the Elementary children continued their adventure with a trip to Ikea for lunch! This was a real Practical Life work – managing money, choosing items, navigating the cafeteria and of course eating with friends!

Melinda Smith shared the joy of the day with us through her photographs. Thank you Melinda!

Light…

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
– Desmond Tutu

As winter resolutely stays and we crave the warmth and light of the coming spring, let’s admire the light that shines despite the cold – the sunlight that breaks through, the light of friendship, the light of satisfying work.

Just two friends observing …

The elementary children are particularly lucky to work in classrooms and common spaces with no shortage of light. The joy of work and friendship in these spaces is infectious.

Report presentations in a sun-filled classroom.
The Great Room is a luminous space – perfect for large (long!) work.

As usual, Melinda Smith brings light to the darkness. Thank you for the photographs, Melinda.

Scissors!

Fresh new activities are invigorating. We observed this quite joyfully when scissors made their debut on the shelf in our Parent-Child class.

“Open. Close.” Joy! She was so pleased at her newfound skill!

As with any new skill, the environment is set up for the child’s success. The scissors really cut. The paper is stiff enough to easily hold its position while the scissors are being manipulated but not so thick that it’s difficult to cut. Also, the paper is pre-cut into strips that are narrow enough to be cut in one snip.

In the above pictures, look at the child’s left hand which opened when she opened the scissors with her right. There’s so much opportunity for hand development in the first few years of life!

Note and admire the concentration. It is intense!

Trying again with just as much focus. (My favorite part of this photo may just be the shoes that she obviously put on herself!)

Similar to the top photo where the child opened both hands to use the scissors, this child opened his mouth when he opened the scissors. Scissors require a lot of focus!

My thanks to the parents in class who took and shared their pictures. The children often sat with their parent first and allowed me to join them and demonstrate the scissor use. Some were then able to sneak away and snap a picture!

Reading Material (Part 2)

As we close out Black History Month, here are a few more books to consider. Last time we offered books to read with your children. The books below are for you. Setting an example of reading is a gift; setting an example of consciously choosing books that make us think is yet another gift.

Black is the Body is a magnificent collection of essays. Emily Bernard explores race, home, belonging, family, influence and so much more. The author is searching for revelation and gives it to the reader. Black is the Body is brilliant. Read it.

Just Mercy follows a lawyer’s fight for justice and deftly exposes the shortcomings of our criminal justice system. Reading story after story, your heart will be broken open – making room for compassion and a desire for justice. Bryan Stevenson continues the struggle. He was in the news this week as the Supreme Court ruled on a case he argued. Read Just Mercy, check out Stevenson’s organization The Equal Justice Initiative and plan a trip to visit The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum. You will not be the same.

Citizen is a collection of poems in which Claudia Rankine tells stories both her own and belonging to her community. She gives a very real understanding of life as a person of color in the United States, exploring the realities of daily life as well as narratives in the media. Her work is powerful and profound. It’s impossible to turn away from the truths in her work.

In Baracoon Zora Neale Hurston introduces us to Cudjo Lewis, who tells his story of being transported to the United States from Africa as a slave. Hurston’s interviews with Lewis give us a first-hand account of this horrific part of our history. The book is important in many ways, perhaps most profoundly in that it forces us to confront a very real piece of our history.

These books are individually brilliant. But, if you can read them all, the truths each manifests are amplified by every other book. Read, read, read.