Today, believe it or not, we had a second public school commissioner come in—this time to teach our Chess Club! He also happens to be the father and grandfather of one of our Nook families. An initial survey of interest counted about 10 kids for this, our first session of Chess Club; but by the time Frank Verrillo had finished his introduction and the kids had set up their chess boards, twenty or more kids were crowded around the tables. When there was no more room at the tables, kids spread out on the floor!
Frank kept making his way around the tables, giving pointers and teaching the kids pertinent moves. He had some gems of wisdom, too: some rules for chess that, he said, carried into real life. What are the consequences of my next move? and You have to give something to get something. I loved every minute of it. I even played a couple games with the kids. Now we just have to figure out how to rope Frank in with our eagerness and charm so that he keeps making that road trip from Rivière-des-Prairies once a week! Chess Club is definitely here to stay.
Another thing that’s here to stay at the Nook is capoeira. The kids (and adults!) are just enchanted by it. Outside today, Jeanne and Zahra were practising their moves. More kids formed a circle around them and were singing the capoeira chants. We have to look into getting an instructor here on a regular basis in the fall.
While the drama kids got in one last dress rehearsal, I took a group from the Nook to my house to check up on the newly hatched chicks. There was also a chick pipping in the incubator. Lots of cuddling. We checked on Izzy Mari and Atwood, too—not to leave them out. Then we hurried back to the Nook for the drama group’s final presentation. This was a great learning process for the kids, who did everything from acting to costume and set design, and I hope we’ll continue that in the fall, too!
After lunch, it was time for a special workshop: urban planning. Thanks to my amazing sister Janice (an engineer who volunteers time with Junior Achievement), we were able to source all these materials—and the kids loved it! Over 30 kids crowded around the tables to talk about what goes into planning a city, what kind of city they would like to live in, examples of well-planned and poorly planned cities, and more. They learned about zoning before making their own cardboard buildings to place on a zoned city map. At the end, I was able to give each family their own floor map and a stack of assorted buildings so they could play city planners again at home.
Our last activity of the day was art. Maya led the workshop on Wayne Thiebaud, an American painter best known for his paintings of sweets. The kids chose their favourite desserts, outlined them in pencil, painted them—and then even added sweetly scented waters to bring their dessert paintings to life!
A few cars followed us home for some more chick cuddling. We also found that the pipping chick had hatched, and many more eggs were pipping! I don’t think it will ever get old. Life. It really is beautiful.
Speaking of life in all its forms, I have a book on my end table that I was going to start soon. It’s called How to Raise a Wild Child. But based on what Leila looked after dinner tonight, I think we’ve got that covered.