When we are aligned with love...

When we are aligned with love, 
the stars align with us. 
-Marianne Williamson     
A few years ago I started blogging with the intention of documenting my learning journey in our Full-Day Kindergarten classroom, mainly for the purposes of my graduate research.  I never anticipated (even in my WILDEST of dreams!) that anyone might be interested in joining me for the ride...  Now I realize, and am so thankful to all of the followers for turning this into the ride of a lifetime for me!  Sometimes I have trouble fathoming just how far this blog has come, or even how powerful social media can be for education...                                 

On Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 I was once again reminded and completely blown away by the response to a blog post about our Art Supplies for Africa: An Open House Event.  This event was an idea that I had after last year's open house exceeded my expectations of over 175 people, growing from the 50 people we had had the year before.  I wanted to try this again, but with the strong intention of giving back and making a difference.  At first I thought it might be nice to collect books, but then I remembered my grade partner had visited Uganda and an idea was born to collect art resources to send to the children.  This time, over 500 people attended from across the province and there were educators represented from 26 different boards of education on our sign-in sheets.  With everyone's generous contributions, we raised eleven boxes and two large suitcases of pencils, crayons, paint, paper, and markers to send to the Ongutoi School in Uganda.  Just the sight of the mountain of art supplies that day brought tears to my eyes.  It made me believe that anything is possible and that when we come together we can truly make a difference!

As a blogger, I openly share my thinking, philosophy of education, and teaching practice.  When one blogs though, it is a task that is generally accomplished alone.  During this event, however, I did not feel alone.  I had the support and dedication of my Bond Lake Public School Early Years Team (photograph above) who helped organize the event and courageously opened up their classrooms for visitors, the York University Kindergarten AQ course that I instruct who shared their documentation assignments, my CTInquiry network who setup some invitations for learning (see below), three of my current students and one of my former students with their families, my own family members who came and showed an interest in my work, and of course all of the blog followers who spent their Saturday with us!

Photograph captured by one of my
 Kindergarten AQ students, Trista Dutt.
I received feedback that the blog was helping educators province-wide.  This filled my heart with delight, but it also made me feel an immense pressure to live up to the comments that I was hearing. I hope that I can continue to blog and inspire you from near and far!  Thank you for making the stars align on March 22nd, 2014, a day that will remain in my memory for years to come.  It is because of all of you that the children the Ongutoi School in Uganda will have new resources to be creative with!  Thank you for making this ride so worthwhile

Joanne Marie Babalis

If your actions inspire others to dream more, 
learn more, do more, and become more, 
you are a leader. -John Quincy Adams

Stay tuned for my next post about the York University Kindergarten 
Part 2 Course Participant's Documentation Exhibit.

Share your thoughts :

  1. I'd like to add that you are not only helping and inspiring educators province wide, but world wide. Your blog has been a rich source of inspiration for me in my nursery classroom in Scotland. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    1. Oh wow! Thank you Catriona! I am so pleased to know that the blog has reached Scotland. I really appreciate you following our journey.

      Sincerely yours,

      Joanne Marie Babalis

  2. Hi Joanne,

    Your most recent post has inspired an idea for me :) I am involved in a local Early Years conference in my community and we have over 650+ participants attend each year. I love this idea of collecting much needed art and educational supplies to donate to a program somewhere in the world that could really use them. If you wouldn't mind sharing a bit more information about where and how you donated to the school in Uganda as well as how you shipped it etc, could you contact me via my work email. Thank you Danielle-Director, A Place to Grow Childcare Centre Surrey Hosptial Community Childcare Society www.aplacetogrow.ca email- danielle.jimeno@fraserhealth.ca

    1. Oh how exciting! That is wonderful Danielle.

      I will be sure to contact you!