Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Land of Oz

Welcome to our new and returning families!

Here's an opportunity to kick off the year, and a little background on it.

This October Renata's class will be partnering with students from the U of M's Residential College to work in the woods of County Farm Park on defining and creating spaces for inspiration and imaginary play. This will be done under the aegis of Elizabeth Goodenough, author of 'Secret Spaces of Childhood' and the documentary 'Where do the Children Play?' (Of course, I am hugely excited by this - it's another great project that our kids get to be part of through our relationships at the U of M, and another chance to connect them with learners and thinkers in the wider community.)

Another project loosely linked to this is a series the RC is doing based around the novel 'The Wizard of Oz', which Renata is also reading with her class right now (no coincidence). A series of panel discussions will be held at the RC on various Oz-related topics. I'll send an email with a flyer listing them, but the one I'd particularly like to draw your attention to is the one on October 14th:

Fearless Girls, Other Worlds: OZ in the Land of Children's Literature

"More than a century after its first publication, THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ continues to inspire contemporary children's fiction writers to create distinctly American heroes on travels of self-discovery in fantastical, but very real, lands. Come join our discussion as we examine OZ's ongoing influence on the landscape of children's fiction with Jack Zipes, Professor of German at the University of Minnesota Emeritus, an acclaimed translator and scholar of children's literature and culture; Jennifer Allison, author of the GILDA JOYCE: PSYCHIC INVESTIGATOR series for young adults; and Ellen Handler Spitz, Honors College Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Maryland, a journalist and international lecturer on children's literature and culture."

This is a great way to look deeper into this book and some of the ideas it presents, and through that to support your child's reading and help take it further. This is obviously of particular benefit right now to parents of students in Renata's class, but all and any of you may read, or may have read the Wizard of Oz with your child, and may be interested in this program.

I hope to see you there!

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