This reflection comes from Conrado Arapicio, a member of Joyce’s board of directors. Thanks to Conrado for his support, consideration, and sincerity as part of our community!
When I was 4 years old my dad worked over twelve hours a day. Most of the time, he drove trains in the Barcelona metro system and then he would sell books door to door to working class families with preschool kids at home. My dad sold ‘El Mundo de los Niños’ (‘The Kids World’) door to door. It was fifteen books with spines in fifteen different colors on fifteen different topics with fifteen Worlds for learning the World fifteen thousand different ways. Fantastic multicolored illustrations combined with short written paragraphs about Poems and Songs, Kids from All Around the World, The Earth and Space, The Animals, How things work, … and my favorite, Wonderful Places.
Obviously, I also had EL MUNDO DE LOS NIÑOS at home. I do not remember many things from when I was a kid, but I have vivid memories of so many times my mom, my dad, and even my older brother would sit with me to open a book of the encyclopedia to show me the beauty, diversity, and depth of our world. I learned for the very first time many things being guided by the unconditional attention of my family as well as the intrinsic fun and charm of The Kids World.
Now, years have passed and I realize that those reading moments full of family entertainment and fun were my first steps as a student, the pillar to a strong start of learning and schooling. I could not be luckier. My parents emigrated from the Aragon Mountains to the big city, Barcelona, searching for something better than their childhood as shepherds; guarding goats, as they say. We lived in a 500 ft2 apartment in a working class suburb. My mom would not let me go out on the streets to play with other kids because it was “too dangerous.” So, apart from playing with my brother in the apartment, the best entertainment I had during my childhood was The Kids World. I could not be luckier than learning and having fun, with my family, in a safe environment devoted to my wellbeing. Now, years have passed and I realize that I would not be a professor at the University of Minnesota and I would not have such a fulfilling life if I would not have started my education in such a solid and enjoyable way.
My first day volunteering at Joyce Preschool assisting Maestro José and his teaching team, I got emotional remembering my own childhood. I was happy for the kids in the class, for being so lucky that they were discovering ‘The Kids World’ with other kids, playing, learning, establishing and preparing their promising future in a Joyce Preschool class.
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