When I did our episode on dandelions, I totally forgot that dandelions are the official flower of military children like our Charlie. Like dandelions, military kids are tough and resilient, they flourish anywhere and they put down roots where the wind takes them. I have tremendous respect for the Charlie’s of the world, the Dandelion Children. Charlie has lived in two states and a foreign country, and he’s only four years old. His parents have done a fabulous job helping him adjust and adapt with every move. He is a healthy, happy little boy. When we visited them in Italy last fall, we traveled quite extensively, through eight countries. Every step of the way, Charlie both entertained himself and had the benefit of parents who immersed him in the languages and feel of each country, and worked to enrich his life with experiences few small children get to have. They’ll continue to do that for Charlie as they move through the years.
Charlie is a wonderful example of a Dandelion Child, and he’s in good company. Someone chose the dandelion to represent these kids, and they chose well. These little ones have parents who deploy, sometimes for long stretches. And of course, there are the moves. Through it all, the Dandelion Children learn, adapt, and grow. I absolutely had to honor these incredible kids with a poem and that became a big part of this episode. We lead off with a lighthearted nod to the wonders of tic tac toe. Then on to Dandelion Kids.
I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process.
I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel.
So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!
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