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Place the Children's Hands on the Earth

by Peggy McCloud, with Scott Bilstad and Sara Gilliam
November/December 2018
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/place-the-childrens-hands-on-the-earth/5024446/

“It is our responsibility to place the children’s hands on the earth, then Mother Earth opens up all possibilities for our children.”

Isadore Tom, Jr.  -  Tulalip Tribal Member

 

The sun beams down on a beautiful summer morning in the Pacific Northwest. A woman wearing a woven reed hat leads a gaggle of children out of a building and into a courtyard. As they gather, she speaks Lushootseed words. These words are as old as the bendy river that runs behind this early learning center. The woman gently encourages children in the indigenous language of the Salish Tribes, the Native Americans who lived from coastal Oregon up through northern British Columbia.

As she speaks short Lushootseed words and softly plays a small drum, the children begin arranging themselves into a circle. Some of the teachers hand out drums and, as a group, they begin to chant and walk and dance.

Peggy McCloud is the charismatic director of the Grandview Early Learning Center. Hair pulled back in a ponytail, she floats among her students in a soft skirt and moss-colored sweater. McCloud has been the director at Grandview for 10 years. When she assumed responsibility for the school, ...

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