From October to December, we spent four days a week with each of Frederick County’s fifteen Head Start classes. But once our last group boarded the bus, not to return until Spring, our farm seemed a bit quiet. A bit empty. So, to fill up our hearts and widen our smiles, we arranged for three more visits with each class. But, with Winter’s threats of snow and busy schedules in the classroom, our preschool ‘friends’ wouldn’t be able to make it to the farm. So we went to them instead.
Upon our arrival, we found our ‘friends’ in their natural habitat: seated cross-legged on a colorful carpet, looking expectant for a story. Luckily for them, Joy and I had written two for the occasion. The first, entitled Nine More Mias, challenged our listeners to imagine a world where Stoney Lick Farm hosted nine more horses, exactly like Mia. The second story, Vinur and the Goats, introduced our latest addition to the farm: Flint and Arrow.
Since the coming cold drew out a wider variety of snaps and buckles, zippers and Velcro, the Head Start teachers seized the season to teach a lesson on clothing. To help these efforts, Sam and Scott arrived clad in cowboy clothing, with me as a cowgirl, and Joy as our eastern counterpart: the English rider. To remind our ‘friends’ of our barnful of horses, we brought a slew of horse ‘clothing,’ too. We began by locating and identifying every last buckle and zipper on our own clothes before introducing our horse apparel. With Sam on hands and knees, we had an impromptu ‘horse’ to ‘tack up’ with our saddle, bridle, halter, lead rope, bareback saddle pad, horseshoe, easy boot, and fly mask. Our giggling ‘friends’ tried on some of the gear, too.
After our turn in ‘show and tell’ was over, we followed our ‘friends’ to their ‘centers’ to play. In ‘Housekeeping,’ a boy in a fireman costume doused imagined flames while a girl holding a baby doll spooned medicine into her sick baby’s mouth. In ‘Art,’ a girl and her crayon sketched out the mane, tail, and legs of a horse. Over at the ‘Legos’ center, castles were built and destroyed. And us? We played with them all.