Today is one of those days I marvel at my good fortune. It’s Valentine’s Day and I love my job. The after school kids are busy as bees. First the tens drag a table from the basement, set up a stand on the stoop to sell baked goods for Valentine’s Day, another Tree House Fundraiser. Meanwhile, my six and I bake brownies for the sale. The other sixes get to drawing, then racing matchbox cars, then making obstacle courses out of paper and tape, wishing for cardboard, which I have, a big box I’d been saving from my sixteen’s snowboard, and a bunch of stuff in the recycling in the kitchen. They get busy. Then my six makes her own construction out of tissue and paper from the same recycling bin. Then I take pictures of it, and she and the other sixes take pictures and videos first of the bake sale, then of the car ramp, and then they’re giggling like crazy. My teens come home from school with heart shaped cookies in their hands and smiles on their faces, contributing their baby sitting money from looking after day care kids while their parents are out at night, and my fourteen leaves with a brownie from the bake sale..the six’s mom shows up with strawberries for the kids, which they mow through like nobody’s business.

I think a lot about good food and treats and making and sharing food. I also think about the privilege of being in a well-provisioned home, both for my family and my after school kids. As I shop at Whole Foods, the checkout and bagging folks talk with me about my work, we value each other’s commitment to good food for kids and they are extra kind to me as I wheel out of the store with two full carts of food. This Sunday a mom caught me in the parking lot and commented on my big family. When I told her about my day care, she asked more, and I asked about the places where she has sent her daughter, and she also appreciated the WFDC commitment to good food for children.

As I think about our Charter School this week I realize we haven’t yet talked about food, cooking, smells, tastes, feels of the school, cooking as project and eating as nourishment for body and soul. Must put that on the agenda. Glad it’s front and center in my life in WFDC and at home. Good food makes happy people, especially when they make and share it with the ones they love. It’s also just good teaching and learning in the 21st century, eat local, make it yourself, notice how food tastes and feels and smells, appreciate the producers and the consumers and their interconnected lives, value the diversity of food that our planet provides, keep it alive, all that is big stuff these days, personal as political, city and country, we all have to figure it out.

As I read through the category list in publishing this entry, I think about Reggio Emilia and the focus there on good food. One more reason to focus on that model. I also see in my mind the kitchen at SVS, the kids there working, talking, fund raising, helping each other and the school, socializing and finding something that makes them happy. I remember my morning of chopping melon and setting up breakfast and lunch with the help of my younger kids, the solace and pleasure and satisfaction and sense of belonging we all get when we make and share meals. How many schools and child care centers have kitchens and food which kids and teens prepare? More should. Another goal for this lifetime, to create or preserve that option for more kids and teens and their caregivers and teachers. Going to think on that awhile.

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