Friday, March 08, 2013

Guest Post: What Flannel Friday Means to Me by Amanda Murray


The following is a guest post from Amanda Murray about her appreciation for Flannel Friday. Amanda is a stay at home mom and early childhood educator in Canada. 

Hello Everyone!

I'm Amanda Murray and I joined the Flannel Friday community about a month ago.  I am a stay-at-home-mom of a sweet, lively 4 yr. old son and a smart, wonderful 11 yr. old daughter. (seen here reading a book together :-) I am also an ECE with a passion for early literacy (and numeracy), storytime, and learning through play (and an avid reader with a serious addiction to books of all kinds).  I am getting ready to offer nursery school and parent-child Mother Goose / storytime-type programs part time from my home. I found Flannel Friday while browsing Pinterest for ideas to include in my upcoming programs.
Amanda's daughter and son enjoy a story together
When I first stumbled onto FF I was giddy with excitement and became completely obsessed for about a week (in a very healthy, non-stalkery kind of way :-)  It was like finding buried treasure!  I blog-hopped like crazy, went back through old round-ups and FB posts - just drinking up all of the creative ideas for storytime fun - and left several comments on the Flannel Friday FB page (which I don't usually do)

I loved all of the fabulous ideas that I found at FF, but it was more than that.  I had also discovered some good quality "learning through play" blogs around the same time but I didn't feel a pull to immerse myself in them the way I had with FF, and I wondered why. 

To solve this mystery I sat back and observed the feelings I got from offering a suggestion in response to a FB post or leaving an encouraging comment after reading a terrific blog post (and getting replies - how exciting!) and I recognized the feeling from a long time ago.  It was the same buzz of excitement and commraderie that I felt when sharing ideas with colleagues in the child care centre where I used to work,  or better yet when one of the staff brought in a new resource book with patterns for flannels or circle / storytime props and games (in the pre-blog days). That always caused a happy frenzy of activity as everyone set about adding to their collections of circle /storytime goodies.

I really love being a SAHM (for almost 12 years now-yikes!) and I cherish the time I have spent raising my children, playing and learning with them each day - but it has been lonely for me on some level.  I have really missed sharing ideas with people that get deliriously excited about fabulous new children's books, or a fun new finger play, or a circle / story prop with moving parts (that makes your group "ooh!" & "ah!") or a genius way to flannelize a favourite story.  I have missed having a sense of belonging to a community with a shared purpose, and having like-minded friends to bounce ideas around with and encourage and support each other.  Flannel Friday has given this back to me :-)

Amy Koester shares her opinions about peer sourcing on her blog Show Me Librarian (Feb. 26/13) and I couldn't agree more! We all benefit in so many ways by sharing, collaborating and evolving ideas back and forth with peers. Flannel Friday is a treasure trove of fabulous ideas and so much more! The members here are warm & welcoming to newcomers, and offer a go-to place for advice, suggestions and encouragement to anyone who wishes to follow or participate.  I am so grateful to have found all of you and this creative and caring community, and I am looking forward to getting to know you better. You have created something very special!  Thank you!!!


Amanda Murray
Rookie Flannel Friday-er

P.S. I also love all of the new sources of inspiration and information that I learn about through FF - the library-based sites etc. that I wasn't aware of before :-)

Amanda also passed along photos of some of her flannel sets to share here. I always like to see other people's work... so inspiring! 









Thanks so much for sharing your story, Amanda, and we're glad you found us too!

8 comments:

Thank you for being my host, Anne! I really appreciate you taking care of all the (scary) technical stuff and making tweaks for me yesterday.
Maybe you'd like to tutor me in the computer arts sometime?
Amanda :-)

I am wondering where Amanda found her cute illustrations/art that she used for her pieces.
GOOd WORK!

Welcome, Amanda! I love how your excitement and enthusiasm just jumps off the screen!

Welcome Amanda, I agree with you - this is the right place for that sense of belonging and safe participation. ~ jane

Hi Elisa,
Thanks for the comment!
The Brown Bear flannel set is a mix of patterns I found in different books - about 1/2 from 2's Experience Stories by Liz & Dick Wilmes, and 1/2 from Big Book of Patterns - Book 3 from The Education Centre (publisher of The Mailbox mag.) 2's Experience Stories has a full set of patterns for Brown Bear (and many other familiar stories), but I liked some of the animals from the other book better.

Two other books that I use a lot for patterns are 2's Experience Felt Board Fun and PATTERNS from Carson -Dellosa - this one has faces on many of the inanimate object patterns, if it doesn't fit with what you're doing just tape a little piece of white paper over the face before you make your photocopy :-)

The Bear Went Over the Mountain & Little Mouse, Little Mouse are laminated sets that I made about 15 years ago. I copied them from a book borrowed from a colleague and I can't recall the title, sorry. I think I still have some of the original patterns, but not the complete set for Bear...Mountain. I'll get in touch with you when I unearth them if you'd like.
Amanda :-)


Hi Amy and Jane!

Thank you for the warm welcome and kind comments :-)

Amanda

Amanda, what a great post. I remember trying to stay in touch with the library world during the 4 years I was at home with my girls...I did feel a little out of it! I'm so glad you came across this group and hope you continue to have fun gathering and sharing ideas!

Hi Melissa!
It's great to hear from someone else who has "been there" - makes me feel like less of a sad-sack :). The funny thing is that I didn't realize just how much I missed participating in a sharing, creative, validating exchange with peers until Flannel Friday came along. FF was the sting and the salve all rolled into one.
Thanks for the warm welcome! ...and for dreaming up this group in the first place!!!
Amanda :-)