In classes for our youngest students, we wind up each day’s session with a story, often thematically related to what we have done in class that day. The kids all sit on our story time blanket to listen, a happy spot to change gears after making art, and enjoy a picture book read to them by our staff. We also use the blanket in our Storybook Art class, where we read a book each week and then create art inspired by it.
Last week Donna, our CEO, bought a new colorful blanket. Our old blanket, though still clean and cheerful, was retired. We took a moment to reflect on our simple blanket that had been with us since our second South Orange studio, up the hill and behind a famous local deli.
For 7 years the blanket was with us every day, offering a cozy spot for all our students to sit while they listened, sometimes snuggling on a caregiver’s lap. Before the old blanket – a quilt really – we used to do story time on the ground.
At one point, Donna, our CEO and founder, started thinking about ways to make story time even better, and remembers, “Like everything we do, we think long and hard about just the right way to do things and the right materials to use. When I decided to use a blanket for story time, I wanted a quilt. It just seemed right. It had to be just the right quilt, with bright fun colors, and also large enough to seat 10-14 children. Most quilts with a child’s design are for cribs or twin beds, and it was hard to find.” When she stumbled across our first quilt at Marshall’s, she knew immediately it was what she had been seeking.
We have now been in our new studio in East Hanover for over 2 years. The trusty blanket made the move with us, a landing place for toddlers and other youngsters every day. Thousands of children have had countless joyful moments on our story time blanket. It is incredibly heartwarming to think back on people and things that have been with us for so long. So, thank you, old blanket, for being our loyal companion for so long, and inspiring us to remember what a wonderful journey we are on, teaching art and so much more to so many young students.
So now, it is time for a new blanket, just as comfy and bright as the old one. We look forward to all the new children to come along and grace our blanket with their open minds, big hearts and shining faces. The journey continues…..