Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Crafty Buffalo Public School Bears

Yesterday was "Bears and Reading Night" at the school where my mom is principal. It's a public Montessori school in Buffalo, and the school is, in my opinion, one of the best examples of what the magnet school vision was all about.

[Sidebar: Magnet schools were originally started in the hope that their geographically open admissions would end racial segregation in "good" schools, and decrease de facto segregation of schools in poorer areas by offering a more enticing educational program.]

But I digress. This post is about bears, not the politics of school desegregation. The idea behind this activity was to give students a chance to create their own stuffed teddy bear (a pal with whom to cuddle and read a good book), but to do it at a fraction of the cost (and without the strong-arm marketing) of the make-your-own-bear stores in malls across the country. For a mere $5 (just to cover costs), each child got a hand-sewed felt bag, an unstuffed bear and an item of clothing (hat, shirt, feather boa, etc.) There were additional items available for purchase for 25 cents to $5. For example, one retired teacher made several cute crocheted dresses and hats (the hats had little loops to slip over the bear's ears!):

Kids went around from station to station. First they picked out a heart for their bear and wrote a wish on it:

Then they continued on to the stuffing and sewing station, where parents and other volunteers helped the kids to make their bears whole:

Then, prior to going to the bear dressing room, the kids prepped their bears at the brushing/fluffing station:

And ~ta da!~ after signing adoption papers and picking out a book to read with their new stuffed friend, we have some proud bear crafters:

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