Our hands, and the marvel of our hands to create, to make things, to hold and bring things together – are in themselves part of the imaginative language of childhood.
Hands played a decisive role in the projects we undertook this spring at the East Village Community School and the City and Country School. At the EVCS, I encouraged children in Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms to plant small pebbles – as the seeds of their imagining and dreaming – and to record each seed’s growing by making art, stories, maps and playful conversations. And Carol Grocki Lewis, with the eager hands of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, introduced the mysteries and magic of clay and its transformative possibilities by asking children among other projects, to create self-portraits.
At the City and Country School, 5 and 7 year olds used their hands to catch the playfulness of air and light, and other elements of the natural world, in order to transform these playing worlds, into small individually hand written and illustrated miniature books.
During the month of June, I was delighted and honored to conduct a series of three conversations based on my book Living By Wonder: The Imaginative Life of Childhood.
Initiated by the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, the series entitled, Leaders Inspiring the Imaginative Experience in Early Childhood Education,
brought together a group of committed administrators and teachers concerned with implementing and keeping alive the possibilities of play, imaginative thought and wonder in the earliest years of childhood.
In addition, I took part in a panel discussion addressing the role of the imagination in contemporary art as part of the evocative exhibit, In the House of the Sky
, curated by Karen Fitzgerald
. As an audio segment of the exhibition, Karen invited me to write a short reflection on the nature of the exhibit and the imagination:
We are, in the end, our own sky – our own earth. And we live as a conversation between both, creating along the way, something to listen with, something to situate ourselves as the makers and creators of our own lives. And perhaps this making and creating, this act of listening, is no less than the marvel and ingenuity of our most naked self we know as our – imaginations.
Wishing you all the best for the summer ahead,