The Cat’s Cradle

At the end of the day, I stood in the hallway supervising those ABC Head Start Cuties as they collected their winter gear to take back into the classroom. Some guy Downtown thought is was a great idea to standardize all coat hooks for Public Schools. Those coat hooks are MILES too high for the short people I work with, so there is me assisting the children in retrieving their winter things.

If you have ever spent any significant time with preschoolers, you can appreciate the length of time it takes them to walk from their cubbies, across the classroom and directly into the hallway 3 feet. It takes FOREVER! As they straggle out one at a time, I have the opportunity to visit with ABC Head Start Alumni from years perviously. The Grade 4 classroom has quite a significant amount of alumni who come to visit me on a regular basis! I love seeing how the children progress from year to year. This is one of the special advantages of being included within the public school!

As the Grade 4 children were walking down the hall with their own winter things in hand, they would run up to me to share what they worked on that day. This particular day everyone was carrying a string. An instant flash back happened for me in that moment! I was suddenly transported to my backyard playing Cats Cradle with my best friend. I watched these children struggle with the finger placement, each telling me they weren’t quite sure of all the steps. I volunteered to show them. I quickly maneuvered the string around my fingers and held it open for the children to play. I remember which child had difficulties with fine motor movement when they were in my class, and marvelled at how deftly they were able to play. I was so proud of them in that moment, seeing how far they had come in the few years I had known them. Playing Cats Cradle is about complicated finger moves. moving your hands correctly to achieve the next level.

I commented to the child how impressed I was with their skill! I was rewarded with a huge glowing smile, I am sure they remember the hours we worked together to building hand strength and learning to manipulate Lego in such a way that drawing, cutting and now Cats Cradle came easily to them. ABC Head Starts provides services for children they might not other wise get until they are much older. Having access to Occupational therapy and Speech & Language services AND the equipment that enhances these services can make all the difference to a child before entering Kindergarten. It makes a lasting impact on their abilities. There is nothing more exciting for the staff at ABC Head Start to see the progress a child makes during the year and in years to come.

By supporting fundraising events like Scarecrow Festival and Magic and Masquerade Gala, you are assisting the Staff at ABC Head Start to ensure the children can receive all the helping hands possible to have success in learning and in life. Consider Volunteering for the festival by contacting Brenda at Brenda.Erikson@gmail.com or make an effort to attend the Festival October 12-14, 2012 at Northland’s Edmonton Expo Centre. It’s a family friendly event for children of all ages!

Now if you are interested in learning how to play Cat’s Cradle, I suggest checking out this page! If you are looking for stories to tell to your preschooler using the string I suggest giving this page a look! Playing with string is a great way to strengthen your hand muscles for fine motor activities, like colouring and cutting…so check it out and have fun!

Scarecrow Festival is a fun family-friendly Halloween event with proceeds benefiting ABC Head Start.

The Best Thing about being a Kid was Dress Up!

Do you remember the best thing about being a kid? Playing outside until dark, wearing rubber boots with ever outfit, and thinking Kool Aid tasted delicious! One of the best memories for me was when I was 4 and digging through my Grandma’s jewelry box and wearing strings and strings of her “junk jewelry”, beads and lots of them. I would rummage around her closet and find a pair of heels to slip into. She would let me wear one of her short dresses that would be a long gown on me. Sometimes I would even get to wear one of her wigs! Can you imagine? It was the early 70’s and my Gran had wigs. It wasn’t like she was bald or had hideous bed head. On the contrary, my grandma was always very well put together. Wigs were just in fashion. I would dress up and join her and my Great Grandma for tea in the kitchen. I would have milk with a spot of tea and sugar. Pirate Peanut Butter cookies were served on a plate, not from the package. I felt very grown up.


At home I wore towels tied around my neck for capes, doilies draped over my head for long hair, and sometimes my friend’s dad would tape spoons to our shoes so we could be cowboys with spurs. Dress up for me was always a big part of my life. I was often lost in thought about some superhero I was being or a famous movie star complete with Dad’s sunglasses. I suppose my big influence came from Mr. Dressup and his famous Tickle Trunk. I watched it every morning on the CBC and was always excited to see what amazing outfit was in the trunk that day! There were even clothes for Casey and Finnegan that always inspired me to dress up my bears and baby brother.


Working with preschool children on a daily basis, it is easy to see how much fun children have pretending to be the Mom or the drive thru lady at Tim Horton’s complete with apron and hat asking customers if they want a double double. We do our best at ABC Head Start to provide enough props and clothes to enhance the imaginations of the children. It becomes twice as fun when the adults in the room engage and participate by wearing the crazy clown wig or clip giant links to their ears to have huge earrings. The best is when the adult dresses up like a baby and the squeals and giggles from the children in contagious.
I love the Scarecrow Festival for that very reason. Children and Adults alike can dress up and pretend to be whoever they want to be while they participate in the fun carnival atmosphere of the festival. To a young child, there is nothing more fun than having the adult in their life dress up and be silly with them while they are roaming around the carnival. We are fortunate at ABC Head Start to have an organization like the Scarecrow Festival raise funds to support ABC Head Start. ABC Head Start works with low-income families and their preschool children to achieve success in learning and life.
This year is the Scarecrow Festivals 20th Anniversary! The event will be held on October 12-14, 2012. Last year we had over 14000 children and their families attend the event over 3 days! This year we aim to exceed those totals. We invite you to come and help us celebrate our 20th Anniversary in October. To achieve this goal, we need your help. A festival of that size needs lots of community support and volunteers. Consider spending your volunteer time with us.
For more information contact Brenda.Erikson@gmail.com
In the meantime, go dig around your closet to find something fun to wear while you are pretending to save the world with that new cape you have. Who knows, you just might.

For 20 years, the Edmonton Scarecrow Festival has been S’caring’ for kids! Proceeds support ABC Head Start: opening doors for children and families.

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