When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.
—Peter Marshall, clergyman and author
“There’s a monkey on your back!” Eric giggles. “April fools!” It is March first. He says he is practicing for April first. Later, I wonder if Eric knows that I feel there is always a monkey on my back, constantly chattering: “Do this. Do that. Get kids ready for kindergarten. Teach the alphabet. Practice writing names. Do worksheets.” Bring on the numeracy of Five Little Monkeys; serve half a banana for snack to introduce fractions. Use an exploration of where monkeys live to teach geography. Learn about how they grow to explore biology. Swinging in the trees is a gross-motor skill. Read and act out The Monkey and the Crocodile or The Cool Ride in the Sky to include literacy and sequencing. With adults who can communicate the value of everything children do, others will trust that our little “monkeys” are learning how to learn, not simply being trained to recite their ABCs, count to ten, name colors and shapes, and write their names.
In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday. Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education. She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.