Thank You, Bev Bos: a National Poetry Month Post

I don’t want to let National Poetry Month go by without posting a poem. It’s been a challenging month for computer time for me, but I’ve thought several times of posting a poem. One always comes to mind that I wrote in February, after the sudden death of early childhood educator, Bev Bos.

Bev Bos was a long-time director and teacher at Roseville Community Preschool, an autoharp serenader, an author and captivating speaker, and a champion of play-based learning for preschool-aged children. She was a great inspiration to my son’s wonderful preschool, El Cerrito Preschool Co-op, and to me, as both a writer and a mom.

My Son Learning and Enjoying at El Cerrito Preschool Co-op, 2009

My Son Learning and Enjoying at El Cerrito Preschool Co-op (Photo by Karin Fisher-Golton, 2009)

Bev knew young kids. She knew what motivated them and what was important for them. She helped me see how crucial that time of life is for kids to experience their own power—their ability to impact the world physically and socially. So often when I would hear her thoughts, even if they were a bit novel, they rang with truth. For example, she believed that taking turns was not developmentally appropriate at preschool age. From her influence, at El Cerrito Preschool Co-op we tried to have plenty of everything, but when there were limited resources, like a special swing, we’d have the kids sign up to take turns that weren’t time based. A turn lasted until the child was done.

From My Amazing Day: A Celebration of Wonder and Gratitude by Karin Fisher-Golton, Lori A. Cheung, and Elizabeth Iwamiya, photography © Lori A. Cheung, 2013

From My Amazing Day: A Celebration of Wonder and Gratitude by Karin Fisher-Golton, Lori A. Cheung, and Elizabeth Iwamiya (photography © Lori A. Cheung, 2013)

I want to share my poem, Thank You, Bev Bos, in gratitude for Bev Bos’s contributions and in honor of National Poetry Month, for a number of reasons. First, because Bev’s talks and writing (including a favorite of mine, Tumbling Over the Edge: A Rant for Children’s Play by Bev Bos and Jenny Chapman) have helped me understand my audience when I write for young children. I particularly think of Bev, when I think of the very simple, but power-filled sentence on the page with bubbles in my book, My Amazing Day: “I popped it!” Second, when I was feeling jarred by the shock of Bev’s death, I found that writing a poem helped me calm and ground, as writing poetry so often does. And most of all, the joy and freedom of the play depicted in the poem and inspired by Bev Bos, reminds of the feeling I have when writing poetry is at its best. Maybe I have some play-based education during my own youth to help thank for that.

Thank You, Bev Bos

POW!
Power
Let me go.
I will make this sand
into a fancy meal,
a blasting volcano,
a superduper highway.
This wet, sticky pink paint
swirls with the blue
on the whole paper
and beyond.
Train tracks go ‘round me.
Hammers whack nails.
Water flows down.
Bubbles pop.
I need more blocks.
No, this wall
is not long enough.
There’s no such thing
as too many blocks
or too many beads
or too many bandaids.
This is my art.
This is my castle.
This is my turn.
I might swing all week.
I’m not done yet.
I hear the music.
Let me go.
Power
POW!

© Karin Fisher-Golton, 2016

 

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15 Responses to Thank You, Bev Bos: a National Poetry Month Post

  1. Linda Baie says:

    This is lovely, Karin, and as a long-time teacher, now a grandmother of three, two younger granddaughters and an adolescent grandson, I know also of Bev Bos and some of her work. Much has been shared/written recently about the value of play. Some of my colleagues who teach the primary children tell me that they also need to teach how to play, that wonder and curiosity. I enjoyed your post, glad you found time!

  2. What a lovely tribute to Bev Bos–it sounds like she was a terrific educator.

  3. I wish I knew what you learned from Bev about preschoolers. Sch a lovely post to your dear friend.

    • Thanks very much, Patricia. I didn’t know Bev personally, but we all referred to her by her first name. I think because she shared so much of herself when she spoke. The preschool hosted a talk by her each year. If you want to learn from her still, I do recommend her books, particularly Tumbling Over the Edge, which is the most recent. Even though they are aimed at teachers, I think any of us who want to understand young children better have much to learn.

  4. This is wonderful! I recognize the name… think my mom may have had a book of hers when i was growing up. If so, then I guess I have to thank her for some influence on my upbringing too!

    Love your embrace of the limitless nature of kids’ energy and imagination when they are playing. And really love the palindromic entrance/exit of the poem =)

  5. jama says:

    Wonderful poetic tribute to Bev and what she stood for. You’ve captured the childlike exuberance and expansiveness of play and creativity so well in your poem.

  6. maryleehahn says:

    Beautiful tribute to a woman with an important message for the world!

  7. Tabatha says:

    Great job capturing the maneuvers of a preschool mind at play!

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