Sunday, January 24, 2010

That Magic Age

I am working on a new book with a particularly quirky concept and a few weeks ago I asked my friend Kate Tempesta if I could go up to St. Thomas More Playgroup where she works and observe/ do some activities with the children (ages 3-5).

I headed uptown with my notebook in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. I was greeted when I walked in the door by about a dozen smiling faces, excited chatter, and lots of coats and boots. I wound my way around their fabulous library and downstairs to where Kate teaches. A big, open area with lots of room for creative movement.

Without going into what my book is about (I am constantly talking too much about things I shouldn't...or so says my agent), we had a very playful morning doing lots of fun, silly things. It took everything I had in me not to constantly snatch those little ones up and hug them (I refrained as this is frowned upon).

There is just so much joy in that room. There is so much joy in that school! Kate told me after classes had finished that if she's not around children for a few days she starts to feel agitated. That, as they need her to educate, she needs them as well. I get that. I completely get that.

Lately I have found myself working with older children, which I am really enjoying. It is wonderful to get to explore writing with them and have serious and meaningful discussions on words. But, I realized yesterday, I miss the little ones. I miss their playful laughter and puffy-cheeked smiles. I miss the way even the simplest of activities completed correctly brings tremendous triumph. I miss their runny noses and tiny little toes and fingers. I miss that magic age before reality has been completed cemented, where everything and anything is possible.

My program was created for children 3-6 but has since been opened up to include children as old as 12. I welcome the growth and am excited for everything that is happening with Nurturing Narratives and the unexpected yet delightful progress we have made. I am blessed to get to be in the presence of children and each age brings specific challenges and extraordinary joys. Someday soon I hope to return, at least partially, to that magic age. Until then, I suppose I will have to be content writing about it. Fair enough.

*Note: I am working with Women In Need doing storytelling/ narrative-building in their shelters with children 5-8. If you live in the New York area and would like to get involved please stop by their website. They are a truly wonderful organization doing great things in the city.

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