Pirate Sheep

Our class is fortunate to have a mother who is a textile artist. Last week she brought her spinning wheel and did a very hands-on, kid-friendly demonstration of spinning wool into yarn. The children were enthralled, and I'm not saying that in a gushy way. When something holds the attention of two dozen preschoolers for half an hour, and intrigues them enough to make insightful observations and to ask thoughtful questions, I know there's magic involved.

One of the most transfixed was a five year old girl who is very ESL. When she first joined the class it seemed her only two words of English were "princess" and "mermaid". She was learning the language from Disney videos. As our spinning guest began speaking about sheep and wool, the little girl got giddy. "Sheep! Pirate sheep! Pirate sheep!"

Disney's Sleeping Beauty has the spinning wheel. The Little Mermaid has Prince Eric's ship. Peter Pan has pirates. But this little BoPeep was missing her sheep. Sheep -> Wool -> Yarn -> Sweater.

It's strange to realize how many children have no concept of the world outside their city. They haven't driven through rural areas to see farms, ranches, orchards. Where do foods come from? Where do fibers come from to make our clothes? Where does lumber come from to build houses?

When my sons were little they loved a series of library books by Ali Mitgutsch that explained where things come from and how they are made. The series was called "From Start to Finish".

One good thing that will come out of our current economic downturn is a return to backyard vegetable gardening. It is good to understand that growing food is time-consuming hard work AND even more of a fantasia than Walt let on.

Arrgh! I'm Cap'n Ovine, and I'm steering our course over the high seas.

© 2009 Nancy L. Ruder

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