Before and Afters many times over


I have always been fascinated by before and after images, from fashion magazines to home improvements. I find it especially captivating to view in my school and other schools.

Teacher Tom and his community in Seattle created an amazing outdoor  area in a small space. Take a look. I am going for a water pump with gutters next Fall. And then there is the Blog “Let the children play“. Check out all the amazing outdoor spaces created (ok so there is no before and afters, but it does inspires one to think of their own possibilities for future before and afters.)

In the spirit of before and after.. the Peabpody Outdoor Play Space finally became a reality. Thanks to funding support from Capitol Hill Community Foundation and human power from parents and children, it is a huge success.

Ok, first the before.


This is from the quarry where I bought the stones (in Rockville, MD,  perfect town name.)


This is Laila and Dad Kevin, meeting me over spring break to bring “tree cookies.”


Thanks to Jeff, Miles’s Dad for sawing and delivering bamboo over break.bamboo

Here’s the gang that helped unload my car, wash the stones and help lug them to the area. (Special thanks to Henry’s Mom, Laura and Lucas’s Mom, Charlotte for meeting with me before school to get this project going.)

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The first day I did a guided discovery of the new area with every class and staff member of both Peabody and School-Within-School at Peabody. Mainly safety, storage, and boundaries (i.e. no weaponry due to the sheer volume of kids playing at the same time with 3 foot pieces of bamboo.)

The rules are what you can do:

Construct construct


Make Musicnature2


What can I say, but this is rewarding to watch. Plus it is all renewable and easy to upkeep.

Rachel Cross, our music teacher says it’s like witnessing all of humankind’s firsts, i.e. first wheel, first bridge, first crutch, first fire…she is so right!

I’ve always believed that all it takes is one small action to create change, and this is ever changing.natureafter

Another before and after happened in the art studio. Bianca’s Dad and Uncle took a simple line drawing that I sketched and put into Bianca’s folder, and then made it a reality.

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Here’s some amazing photos of the magically created Studio Curio. Bianca helped the entire time during installation, even when I offered her alternatives. It was just touching to see her serious relationship with her Dad Charles, and Uncle Stewy, not to mention how hard and precise a worker she was. Heartfelt thanks again!

cherriesMy last before and after is the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms. It is a ritual to have an annual SWS Cherry Blossom Picnic and celebration directly across the street in Stanton Park. Even though this year, we returned from spring break to find most of the blossoms fallen, it was a breathtaking day of beauty, fresh air and genuine community. We are really lucky to live in a place where flowers fall from the trees once a year, but even luckier that the SWS community will jump into the park with all the paraphernalia at a moments notice.(Photo credit to Tony Milatello for the picture of Sara and Chiara)

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And I would be remiss if I did not mention that Camille/Nolan’s Mom, Susan allowed a group of 8 from SWS to invade her home (until almost 10pm!)

with making flowersbranches, glue guns and japanese paper to create the “cherry blossoms” for the annual 13th School-Within-School Jazz Gala and Auction. Please link on and buy tickets, it is a fabulous evening that makes our school’s vision a possibility.


I am sad to say that this is the first year in 13 that I will miss the event. I have a wonderful excuse… I have been asked to be a keynote and a presenter at the RedSolare (Latin American Reggio Emilia) conference on Creativity and Children, in Guadalajara, Mexico. I am looking forward to meeting a new community of progressive educators and forming new relationships that are sure to inspire.

En diálogo con el pensamiento creativo del  niño(2)

I like the idea that my work/art  provokes  non-stop cognitive/ creative before and afters in my brain. For this, I am thankful. paint5