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 longtime 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.
Bev knew young kids. She knew what motivated them and what is important for them. She helped me see how crucial it is for very young 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 is 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.
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, Bev’s talks and writing have helped me understand my audience when I write for young children—I particularly think of Bev when I think of the simple yet powerful 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 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 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
You can learn more about Bev Bos’s approach to play-based learning through her books. My favorite is Tumbling Over the Edge: A Rant for Children’s Play by Bev Bos and Jenny Chapman.