Saturday, March 19, 2011


The division between religion and mythology seems fairly clear to adults - one is believed by people currently alive, and the other was believed by people not currently alive. To children it's less clear.

I'm sitting with two eight-year-olds, one Irish Catholic, one Haitian Catholic. They are discussing bee-stings.
"It's like that fable," says Ryan.
"Yeah", says Paul. "That we read in class." I ask them about it.
"Zeus didn't want the bees to sting people over and over, so he made the bees die after one sting."
"But it's not all true," Paul adds. I ask which part isn't true. "The part about the bees."
"But the part about Zeus is true," Ryan asserts.
Paul agrees. "Zeus is watching us right now." He looks upwards and waves. "Hi, Zeus."
"But Zeus doesn't have a stinger," Ryan says.
"No. He's really busy. I bet he has a lot of papers on his table."
"But they didn't have papers then, they had scrolls."

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Science lessons from 5-year-olds

I'm eating lunch with a class of kindergarteners. Kaitlin, a tiny blonde, sets down her pizza and tells me something, her face grave. I can't understand a word. As I bend down, she repeats:
"Moons can't see you . . . but they follow you."
"The moon does seem to follow you when you move around," I agree.
"The sun does too," says her neighbor Jada, wanting in on the action.
"The sun is a dying star," announces Adriana from across the table.
DaShawn has a more aesthetic focus, his eyes wide: "It's so pretty!"