From Australia to New York With Love and Literacy by Linda Zagon

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Once Upon a Time, (Actually a number of years ago), I worked in a section of Brooklyn called East New York. The Board of Education at that time was trying a number of programs to teach literacy and writing, especially to Kindergarten Students. Although I had taught every grade up to grade 6, my love was Kindergarten.

The District I worked in teamed up with A.U.S.S.I.E. Australia United States Services in Education. I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Humphrey. For those teachers who were in P.S. 260, you might remember her. Sadly, P.S. 260 is now a charter school with a different name.

35C2EE1E-BED5-456B-AFA8-E52F8648A0A4Elizabeth Humphrey (Liz Humphrey)

I really believe that the children had the most fun during those days. They actually would write in journals, in pictures and emergent writing, which was amazing. We had fun experiencing many things.

Have you ever tasted Vegemite?

2BA750B1-FD57-4C34-8388-8E58E206A81FAt that time, the schools weren’t really concerned as much about allergies, and to combine a literacy program with a cultural tasting, why not? Of course, the children read many Mem Fox books and other Australian authors. and sang Australian songs, like “the Kookaburra song”. Wouldn’t you believe Liz happened to have a jar of Vegemite and crackers with her?

We had a huge chart up to write our expectations and the actual taste. Who was going to go first?? You got it!!  Mrs. Zagon. Well, I won’t ruin what my reaction was, but I have to tell you the children wanted seconds. Of course, we wrote books and experienced other foods. I really think that these days were great fun for the children and teachers.

How could you not add art to this? We made collages, and painted, and had the best time. Of course, there were classical children’s books besides the Australian classics. The children always loved picture walks, and then read aloud, and writing together and individually.


Don’t forget crafting as well. This is actually some of Liz Humphry’s work. I have to thank Liz for the wonderful memories. I’m sure that the children still remember.

962A3BDC-30AC-49A0-97C3-FD02F7DB331D_1_201_aThis is an actual Boomerang from Australia, which was a present from Liz to me. I love it and think of you, Liz. What a special friendship from the other side of the world!!!!

Anyway, in these chaotic times, for those parents who have their children home, why don’t you add all the elements that relate to our senses, and have fun? Do these you can feel, taste, see, smell, and hear, Get those toilet paper holders. (There must be loads of those) magazines, and have the children make collages.

Have the children make cards for the loved ones that they are can’t see. Make cards for the men and women who serve our country, and those emergency services that we depend on. It can be a positive and fun experience.

Most of all, read and enjoy books together. Keep a diary, so one day you can explain our history to your children. Believe it or not, unfortunately we are part of history!

Also, play music, and stay calm and positive. Stay Healthy!!! Love, Linda Xo

P.S. Stay home and wash your hands. Thank you, XO

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