Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Lessons from the "Little Engine that Could" by Watty Piper

The Little Engine that Could

Mildred Puryear Shelton, or Mountain Mama, read this book to every class in the Family Literacy Program.

"Just try."  That's all she asked.

*Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®

After lunch, parents joined their children in the early childhood classroom for PACT time. This was the first I'd heard of planning playtime. I figured it was so the kids could be in charge while parents watch them play.

It took some time for me to understand that RL, my 3 year-old was learning how to set goals and plan how he was going to reach those goals. He was ready and willing to chug up that mountain.

Me? Not so much. I went through the motions, but it took some time before I began to understand.

But first, I had to think I could. Small successes along the way started my wheels turning and eventually I could look back and see my progress. I saw how doing this thing over and over, led to changes in me and in my life. Progress was slow and steady, and obstacles increasingly harder, but I made progress like the Little Engine.

It took time, but I climbed the hill, met goals, and gained perspective - all of which prepared me for the next 30 years.


It Can Be Done

RL goes by Rocky now. He is a Licensed General Contractor. He uses the skills he learned in Mrs. Shelton's early childhood classroom to build new homes and complete complex and lengthy home renovation projects.

He builds onto existing structures. He builds on strengths, much the way family literacy programs build on the strengths of families.

It's no wonder that his company's motto is, It can be done. Rock Solid Construction LLC

All these years later, I still hear Mildred saying, "Yes you can." He hears her too. I'm sure of it.



      Rocky's son Mason graduating
      from pre-school.

Families Learning - click here to watch videos and hear stories of families who participated in family literacy programs across the country.
The National Center for Families Learning has defined (PACT) Time® as parent-child interactions, including bringing children and parents together to work, play, read, and learn. Such interactions can take place in the classroom, at home, or in the community and can lead to positive language, literacy, emotional, and cognitive development of children (Jacobs, 2004). 

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