Managing and teaching in a shelter child center

Picnick days

For the past week we have had wonderfully sunny days. That means we can get our lunches out doors. I think we all like when those days happen.We get out from the Shelter with its barred doors and windows, horrible yucky water and depressing surroundings. Not only does the building get called the warehouse, it has the personality of it. And at lunch, we have to clear up the whole room, set up tables and wait in what probably seems like an endless line to the youngest ones.

But when it’s sunny, everything is different. First we all line up and clip into the “Crocodiles” so w e can walk the two blocks to the plaza. On the way, we discover trees and twigs and sparkles in the cement and some icky stuff too. After that half hour or so, we make it to the plaza.

The plaza is always fun. The kids get to take off their shoes and experience…GRASS! And some of the infants who have never had that experience are really funny to watch. They make the strangest faces. Some of them want nothing to do with  it ever again. Some try to eat it. Some couldn’t care less. Some look at it and experiment and try to experiment with it to see how soft and bouncy it is. Some are not sure. They put a toe on it from my lap, pull it back,put it out again.They  look at me to see my reaction before making up their minds and scooting off. Hysterical.

Lunch gets served in regular lunch bags like every other child would get on a school picnic. Sometimes there are even treats in the lunch bags. Last Friday, they got bagels with real cream cheese or butter. (and one with ketchup because of allergies.) Then playtime begins. The kids get to choose from two playgrounds, ball games, kite flying, running around, or just taking in the “great outdoors.” Some kids sketch or draw or write stories and poetry.

There are always extra fun things to see at the plaza too. Last year there was a sculpture of the six armed woman (who only had 5 arms.) This year their is a large inflated lotus flower. The kids are really intruged by that. They want to know everything about it. Why is it there? Why is it red? what does it do? What is a lotus?

There are other things to watch, too, of course. Dogs, people doing Ti-chi,pigeons.

I love taking our walks. I hope we can continue to do so for a few more weeks before the fog gets us socked in and it gets too windy for the kids who don’t have jackets.

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