Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Bridges

Photographs removed 11-25-12

So what is this farmer waiting for?  

 July 21, 2010, I knock on the door at The Bridges Child Care Center in Rosemount and wait. I'm not in a hurry. My first performance is set for 11 AM and it's only a little after 10.  After a minute or so a lady from next door tells me to just go in. "It's a day care," she says kindly. "People come and go all day. No one knocks because no one answers the door." She goes on to explain that the house next door where she works is part of the The Bridges Child Care Center too. "We care for infants and toddlers in this house and the older children in the house you're at.'" she adds.

When I enter I notice colorful decorations ranging from children's art projects  to professional posters detailing the worth of little children. I stop to read and view a wall hanging, enjoying the warm, homey atmosphere where little children spend many hours of their formative years.

The door to the closest room quickly opens and Maria comes out to introduce herself and ask about our set up.  "We usually do our programs in here because it is the largest room we have," she says. As I enter the room, the kids all greet me as "the farmer." I smile because I know that their enthusiasm means they will enjoy my show.  A couple children point excitedly to a big artwork on the wall.

Once I see the nearly life-size artwork of a farmer in bibbed overalls, I feel even more welcome. Nancy has me stand by the poster as she snaps a picture. Maria begins to clear off tables so we can set up.

We discuss what to bring in and decide to use the television instead of the projector and screen. The 47" television monitor won't wash out in the bright room and it will be plenty big for the small viewing area. Also, the projector takes up some close audience space.

The first performance is for children of ages 3,4, and 5.   The kids listen to the introduction and seem particularly interested when I show them why farmers wear high-top shoes.
I am once again enthralled by their attentive eyes and curious smiles as I have fun performing the tale of little Nancy and her kitty Dusty and their farm adventure.

Questions after the show range from comments about animals to chores the children do at home.

I gear the next show to the older children, who range from K-6. For this audience I include a ten-minute explanation of why I write what I write and how I got started. Questions from this group include more comments about chores and about animals.
Seated in the back are Mary Kay, who started the child care 37 years ago and her daughter Maria, who works with her at the facility. The personal and professional dedication these two women show in their work easily explains the great behavior and attitude of the kids. Once again, I see how lucky kids are when placed in a loving, structured child care facility.

Now for my favorite part: selling and autographing books for kids and adults.

Note: You can see the wonderful variety of decorations in the background.

After we load our equipment, Mary Kay takes time to chat with us for another 15 minutes. She tells about when she first made her decision to go into day care as a very young woman. The facility she is using today, her first child care facility, is the home her parents moved to when she was 10 years old.

Nancy and I listen intently to this example of someone working hard and long at something she enjoys. This, I think, is the essence of the American Dream.

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