Seven children sat attentively in a classroom at Children’s School on Wednesday, June 27, as a teacher read a poem titled “Daddy Fell Into The Pond.”
The children laughed when the dad did in fact fall into the pond, and the group chanted, “Mice are good,” before the second reading of a poem titled “Mice.”
“I liked the part when daddy fell into the pond,” 5-year-old Will Lyndall said.
While Chautauquans listened to poets like Tyehimba Jess in the Amphitheater, Children’s School attendees read poets like Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe.
Throughout Week One, the children explored “The Life of the Written Word” through rhyming exercises and acrostic poems to prepare for Children’s School poetry teatime at 10 a.m. Friday, June 29 on Bestor Plaza.
The children will donate hats, scarves and capes for teatime and read poems they wrote throughout the week.
Developing a love for literature is important in understanding the meaning of words, said Tori Savage, who has been working at the Children’s School as a volunteer and teacher for more than 15 years.
“With poetry, word choice is so specific,” Savage said. “It’s so important in understanding the definition of words and the multitude of meanings.”
After listening to the poems, the children painted images associated with the poem they read. Caroline Peterson, 5, used watercolors to paint a sunset filled with pinks, purples and blues to convey her poem about dreams.
“I love the beautiful sunshine,” she said.
The classes also came up with words that remind them of Chautauqua. Words like “park,” “lake,” “sun” and “ice cream” remind Caroline of Chautauqua.
The 2- to 6-year-olds at Children’s School can understand the simplicity of poetry, especially because of its brevity, Savage said. One of the classes read Dickinson’s “Bee! I’m expecting you!” Savage said the class understood that it was a letter from a fly to bee.
“They can get the simplicity that’s in Emily Dickinson, then read it again later on in life and get the depth and beauty that’s there also,” Savage said.