Five years ago, the Enid Paskes Bloome Kindergarten Teacher Award was established in honor of Enid Bloome, the mother of Dr. David Bloome. Enid was a kindergarten teacher for over 30 years and wrote two books, Dogs Don't Belong on Beds, and The Water We Drink. Children's literature was an integral part of her curriculum. Wonderful teachers from central Ohio have been honored and one of the best parts of the award ceremony was listening to David's father, Sel, talk about his beloved wife.
Sel was a tall man with a booming voice. I can still picture him standing in the Martha King Center at OSU in his black pants, charcoal gray shirt, and suspenders. Each year when we met to honor the recipient of the Bloome Award, he would tell us about his wife and her love of literature and children. His eyes would well up with tears while he told us stories of Enid. Listening to him talk, even though it was just for a brief time, was my favorite part of the ceremony. He loved meeting the kindergarten teachers and was so appreciative of the work they did. We were all saddened when Sel passed away this summer. The award became known as the Enid and Selwyn Bloome Kindergarten Teacher Award.
Their rooms beckon children to come in and read. Lamps light their rooms, cozy curtains hang in the windows, plants sit on shelves, and kid sized chairs and tables invite children in. Books are prominent in their rooms. Colorful baskets line the shelves where students can easily access them. Picture labels help students quickly find the books they want. When asked to draw a picture and write what they loved about KLIP, many of the children drew the classroom library. Children’s literature is used to build a strong learning community among the students. They read stories to learn more about themselves and each other. Books are used to build vocabulary and a common language in their classroom. Charts hang around the room for shared reading and independent reading during the day. It is here that children learn to love words and discover that words have power.
Sel would have loved these ladies. Their love of children and literacy is evident the minute you meet them. I know that I would feel very lucky if my children were in their classrooms. (Although Jill was probably still a teenager when my children were in kindergarten). Lynn and Jill received a gift certificate to our local independent children's bookstore, Cover to Cover. I made them promise to take me shopping with them. I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon...lunch, shopping for books, and hanging out with a couple of my favorite people.