By: Knut Hill
Attending Marcia's and Dina's 'Bring to Life' Series is like being a fly on the wall in my four year old's class at Allen Creek Preschool. How lucky we are! Images of the children engaged in play are projected up on a classroom wall for parents to see bigger than life. I'm instantly transported into my preschooler's world while Marcia and Dina tell us what the children are doing. Their narrative is simple and descriptive, poignantly highlighting the complex and fundamental developments taking place.
Marcia expands on the benefits of this unique format: "seeing the children ‘again’ through natural photographs and listening to the children’s words transcribed in midstream as play or projects or discussions unfold allows us to look together at the children’s work. We see the intensity with which the children play, the details of a child’s drawing or collage or painting; we hear the language a child choses to negotiate, convince, tell a story, or share some knowledge about the world; and we are surprised for example when a child reworks a pattern block design to create a pinwheel design that has several layers of radial symmetry. This looking again provides a new perspective - without the sounds and the moment-to-moment action within the live classroom; we can pause, and look for the nuggets that give voice to your children’s development, to their rich capacities."
As our children mature and spend more time at school, we miss out on the uncut storyline we had when they were infants and with us for every waking moment. For my wife and I, this separation brings natural and inevitable uncertainty. During a Bring to Life presentation I get a sought after glimpse into what really goes on at preschool. Who is he playing with? How is he using materials, or working through challenges? Answers to these types of questions are provided in pictures worth a thousand words; more detail than I can expect my four year old to remember let alone share with me. His teachers share a child's quote from the captured moment providing even more color to the scene. Seeing an expression on my boy's face of focus and enjoyment while hard at work reconfirms that our child has mastered separation from us and is free to fully enjoy school.
But what parent wouldn't eagerly sit through a presentation about their child? What makes this great is that, like all of the teachers that our two boys have had at Allen Creek, Marcia and Dina really know our child. They understand and appreciate him both personally and developmentally. The presentation reminds me of how experienced and knowledgeable they are. Pictures are selected that totally capture our boy. They explain how something seemingly simple or playful really signifies marked development toward important milestones. Sure we spend a lot of time with our children and experience milestone moments, but they have a different flavor at school. And too many of the moments we have are lost in the rushed, disjointed pace of everyday family life. Sitting together as adults learning about our children lets us focus and celebrate the wonderful journey.
Marcia and Dina "feel great satisfaction with the process of preparing and organizing the presentations and are pleased that so many of you are able to come and share this time together." Thank you for crafting such a beautiful and meaningful series that documents our children's development at Allen Creek.