Washington column for March 1

Hack your space

The Child Care and Learning Center recently sponsored an exciting Nature Hack Your Space workshop. Leah McDermott, while on her annual coast-to-coast childhood education lecture tour/family vacation, stopped by to meet the CCLC community and share her research on the importance of natural environments to children’s learning and development.

CCLC sponsored an exciting Nature Hack Your Space workshop at the school. By Christina Loock

She recommends that a developmentally appropriate early childhood classroom should include eighty percent flexible creative materials and twenty percent inflexible materials. This means maintaining a ratio mostly of toys/materials that stimulate learning in open-ended ways and a fewer number of inflexible items that have one specific way to use them such as puzzles and other self-correcting toys.

While these toys have a place, Leah reminded us, “Play is deeper and a lot more meaningful when children get to explore and create with their own ideas.”

The learning environment should be a place where children can explore and investigate and develop problem solving skills. This fits with the high focus today on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Most childcare programs have lots of toys for children to use, but if you can’t answer the question as to what benefit that toy has on the child then it should not be taking up space.

Leah complimented CCLC on its center and gave the school more great ideas about how to bring in more natural lighting, adding more real-life resources, such as herbs for children to cut and use to pretend to cook with instead of the typical fake plastic foods, and ways to honor children’s unique and individual ideas by setting out materials that expand creative thought.

CCLC says it strives to stay abreast of the latest childhood education research so that it can provide the very best program to the Rappahannock community. CCLC will be hosting another free workshop offered through The Childcare Network on March 17. For more information go to: www.thechildcarenetwork.org.

Members and friends

The Middle Street Gallery in Washington is putting on its annual Members and Friends exhibition in which members of the artists’ cooperative show their works alongside those of selected guest artists. The show will run March 2 through April 8, and there will be an opening reception on Saturday, March 10 from 3 to 5 p.m. The gallery has returned to its previous home next to The Inn at Little Washington.

Expect a rich variety of colors, textures, sizes, shapes, subjects and media at this show. Gallery President Ann Currie sponsors the beautiful and whimsical pink flamingo marionettes by former member Janet Brome, and former member artist Barbara Heile, friend of Kate Anderson, presents impressions of tree trunks that “reveal the visible mix of the natural world and what pulses softly beneath the surface.”

Meanwhile, gallery photographer Jo Levine’s friend is more than a friend — it’s her husband, Martin Levine. Martin was inspired to return to painting by the beauty of Rappahannock County when Jo and he built a house there 13 years ago, and he offers a painting of a woods view from that house. Susan Raines, another gallery photographer, has teamed with her photo friend Dena Andre, who will show a triptych of metallic prints of Munich street scenes framed in three boxes that stand together.

Carol Waite offers a Japanese ink brush painting titled Blue Ridge Scene. Courtesy image

Jane Forth has joined with Lynda Smith-Bugge, whose sculpture Luminous Petals, Poplar, radiates light from gold and copper leaf. Kathleen Willingham’s partner, Carol Waite, offers a Japanese ink brush painting in the sumi-e style, titled Blue Ridge Scene. Julie Read, friend of member Marilyn Armor, presents the aptly named watercolor, Field Soldier, a portrait of an ancient Shenandoah Valley farm tractor.

Wayne Paige calls his friend, Sidney Lawrence, an “autobiographical artist.” Lawrence’s Red Alert, a blazing-red and iridescent blue ink drawing, pays homage “to the architectural grace and political intensity of Washington.” Former gallery member Patricia Underwood, friend of Rosabel, offers a work from her “Conversations” portfolio, in which she uses her signature symbols to explore the simple yet very complex act of verbal communication.

As for guest artist Luis Torres, you’ll just have to go and see for yourself. “He uses air brush and modern media to produce abstracts that are beautiful and intriguing,” says gallery member Ren Crawford, who is sponsoring Torres. “He incorporates the universe and the innerverse in these small paintings, with a sense of awe.”

Gallery hours are Friday.-Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Please call 540-675-1313 or visit www.middlestreetgallery.org for more information.

— Gary Anthes

Ham and Oyster dinner

Dad’s and mom’s don’t forget the Ham and Oyster dinner at the Washington Volunteer Rescue on Saturday, March 10 from 4 to 8 p.m. The best part is you can eat as much as you can without getting sick. Cost for adults is $30; kids ages 4 to 10 $15; 3 and under are free. All the proceeds will be used to fund daily operations. For more information, call 540-675-3615 and speak with one of the members.

Have a great week!