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Story Time Teaches Kids About Being FriendlyDate: 05/01/2019
It was far from a normal situation for Kathleen Rumnier.
But what was going on?
It was Arkansas Children’s Week 2019.
“Arkansas Children’s Week puts the focus on the importance of properly teaching our kids, and what our child care centers do to create environments that help children mature,” she said.
That’s why Ruminer, of the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE), picked one day to pass on wearing business attire, and sitting inside the DHS Stone County office. Instead, she wore overalls, slipped a small cooking pot on her head, carried a hobo sack, and surrounded herself with a bunch of kids who waved at her, yelled for her attention, laughed, and asked tons of questions.
“I dressed up like the folktale character Johnny Appleseed, to give the kids a visual example of Johnny,” Ruminer said. “I wanted them to know that not all people dressed the same, because not all people have the same life experiences.”
Ruminer’s role playing raised the kids’ curiosity.
“The children loved the Johnny Appleseed story. They were also interested in my apple, and why I was barefoot with a pot on my head,” she said. “The Appleseed story opened the door for us to talk about how some people don’t have much food to eat, or many clothes to wear, and why it helps to have a garden.”
Ruminer’s Arkansas Children’s Week activities took place at a child care center in Heber Springs, and one in Mountain Home. At both places, her message hit home with children just beginning to learn about the world around them.
“The book showed the children that it’s OK if a person doesn’t have name brand clothing or fancy shoes. They don’t have to be mean to a person because of how they look,” Ruminer said. “I also used Johnny Appleseed to discuss peer pressure. Kids need to learn that it’s OK to be themselves. I had fun being Johnny Appleseed for a day, because it helped me teach the children a lesson about how to treat people that might stick with them for life.”