For years, we dreamed…
- about a peaceful and beautiful room where small groups of children could engage in meaningful work and conversation without interruption, away from the busy flow of the classroom.
- about a home for beautiful books that answer our questions, provoke our thinking, inspire our creativity and speak to our hearts.
- about that little bit of extra elbow room that could help us welcome the parents and student teachers who want to be a part of everyday life at Children First.
In the Spring of 2006, we made the leap…
Teachers conferred with the Board; brainstormed, designed, met with builders, ran budgets, and got great advice from parents with building expertise. Then Annette King, the founding grandmother of Children First, agreed to lay the foundation for the library with a $5000 donation – which she later matched with another $5000 when building costs ran unexpectedly high.
On September 24, 2006, we threw a Sweet Sixteen Birthday party…
We played, painted, danced, shared memories, feasted on pizza, bought t-shirts, donated books, and auctioned off the “building blocks” of Children First. All in all, 28 Children First families and 19 Children First kids donated a total of $3683 in honor of the Children First concepts and experiences they hold most dear.
From October to February, we lived and learned with the construction…
- we formed friendships with our Builders – Gary, Howie, Aeon and Salvador
- we helped clear the site and dig the footers
- we helped hammer down the sub floor
- we learned to respect boundaries marked with hazard tape
- we helped Henry’s Dad Jeff put down the base for the tile floor
- we observed the builders and drew the library in all phases of its construction
- we unpacked and put together furniture
- we worked together to move all the Children First books from the classroom and crawl space into the finished library
- we invited all the builders to a thank you ceremony, where we presented them with portraits and a book telling the story of the library, and joined hands to sing our favorite building song: Bling Blang Hammer.
In the meantime, we were busy with our own building project…
- at Parent’s Night, a group of parents worked together to build the three frames we called “model libraries” to serve as base for kid construction work.
- we built on the libraries with many materials over many months.
- we formed three construction crews that worked together over several weeks to share and debate building ideas; draw their individual ideas; and finally sketch group blueprints for their final model libraries.
- based on those plans, teachers gathered materials and the crews worked over several weeks to construct three beautiful and unique model libraries.
On April 4, we celebrated the Building Project…
Children invited their parents to tour our Museum of Building, including a display of nests children built during their study of birds; to see the model libraries for the first time since they were completed; and to sing “Happy Birthday Dear Libraries” in a magic circle next to the Big Library itself. Families contributed a feast made of “build-able” foods.