CatLeftCalico Cat News 

Is it really September already? The summer seemed to fly by with a blink of an eye! Now we are one week into our school year! As always a very busy time here at Calico Cat. We said good-bye to many five year olds that joined us for our summer camp program and now they go onto to Kindergarten!

This year we have again made some classroom changes to accommodate the current needs of enrollment of the different age groups. Our need for classroom space for four year olds has grown to using two large classrooms! So now the room that was previously used 60% classroom 40% office and storage is being 100% utilized as a classroom. This will accommodate twenty children. Currently there are fifteen enrolled. Our older four year old classroom has fourteen children enrolled. The two year old class that was previously using that half space is now in the smaller classroom with eight children. In our three year old classroom we have thirteen children enrolled. These numbers are certainly not the final fall 2013 numbers as I continue to get inquiry calls, take parents on tours and register their children. My assumption is, by the time this article goes to print our enrollment will be increased. Currently we have fifty children coming through our doors, with a maximum occupancy allowed of sixty-two, this brings us to 81% capacity.

We have a strong staff once again this year, Lead teachers Miss Nicole, Miss Maricela, Miss Amelia and Miss Ilona all returning for their fourth year. We are now starting to see the younger siblings starting in our program, following in the footsteps of their older siblings that have since graduated from Calico Cat!

As the economy changes and the needs of the community stabilize, Calico Cat will in turn respond in the most cost effective way, keeping in mind our commitment to quality child care and the reputation we have built with much pride and success.

Looking forward to sharing updates with you soon!

God’s Peace,

Dominique Kaczmarek

Calico Cat Director

What is Godly Play?

Based on a Montessori interpretation of religious education, Godly Play uses a multi-sensory approach to telling Bible stories with three-dimensional materials. This imaginative method serves to support, challenge, empower and guide children along on their spiritual journey.

Godly Play assumes children have some experience of the Mystery of God’s presence in their lives, but that they lack the language, permission and understanding to express and enjoy this experience in our secular and materialistic culture. During Godly Play, children enter into the scared stories of the people of God , into the parables Jesus told, into the Christian sacramental and liturgical tradition Through “entering in”, participants discover God, themselves, one another, and the world around them; it’s much like what happens to grow-ups when we attend a church service that moves us.

The Godly Play classroom is a place for children to be themselves, to come closer to the mystery of God’s presence, to learn the language of Christian people, to form community and take care of one another. Sacred stories symbols and liturgical actions are invitations to enter into the work of discovering God.

Godly Play was developed and has been classroom tested since 1972 by Episcopal priest, author and teacher Jerome W. Berryman. It is used by diverse denominations throughout the United States and internationally.

From The Godly Play Foundation,

We need volunteers to be storytellers, story prepares and greeters. Please contact Jennie Racek, or Kimberly DeSarno for more information.

The Calico Threads Thrift Store is now open!! Father John Negrotto blessed the site at the grand opening and we are up and running. The location is 54 Ferry St., South River. Hours of operation are Tuesday evenings from 6 PM to 8 PM, and Saturday morning from 9AM until Noon. If you have items you wish to donate or are available to staff the store, please contact JoAnn Devlin, Bill Kendrick, Hannah Palmer-Koroma or Sandy Rahn.

I have noticed that some people seem to interpret the bible in very peculiar ways. There is even a Congressman who said we do not have to worry about the environment because neither of the phrases, “global warning” or “climate change” is in the Bible.

I find that to be rather limited thinking. I suggest he look up Noah. Remember those 40 days and 40 nights? In fact I can still remember my wife, Cherie, reading the story of Noah to our kids at bedtime. “Build a big boat, Noah!” Oh, for simpler times.

Some people seem to think that the Bible gives them free reign to hate others based upon a reading of Leviticus and its admonitions against “Abominations.” I prefer the words of the New Testament, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (JOHN 13:34)

I tend to prefer the New Testament in general because it has more of a forward looking view. In the Old Testament there is almost constant bloodshed and a daily struggle to stay alive. Times were tough in the Old Testament! The New Testament gives a sort of evolutionary step forward as Jesus, and later the apostles, lead people in a more positive direction.

I would say we should look at things in our current world in a similar manner. In the past we knew hard times and now we have a fresh start. But let’s not forget the lessons we have learned in the past, nor plunge forward as if we had blinders on.

Perhaps each night we could review what we have done during the day and prayerfully consider if and how we could do better. If we‘ve been less than kind we could go forward trying to make amends and if we’ve done well then by all means think of ways to continue on in that direction.

In general though let’s agree that since we already know plenty of ways to harm each other,”…in thought, word, and deed…”1 that we should look for ways to make life better for each other. Just look at our new thrift shop, Calico Threads, and consider how so few can do so much to help so many. What else can we do to improve ourselves and others? Let’s think about it tonight and see what wonderful things we can do tomorrow!

Martin Spielman

Pigeon_TalkWILD WAYS

In a predatory mode most unlike him, Benito crouches over his water bowl and growls softly at a pigeon on under-the-feeder cleanup duty. The bird takes one look at him and goes back to work: Ben grew up in a New York City apartment, and thinks everything that goes on in the back yard is television. He probably orders takeout on my Visa card. Ben will live and die and never get a bird.

He and Santana are old now– they’re eighteen. Time to go to Jesus, I often tells them, but they never go. I don’t think Jesus wants those cats: they’re in good shape, considering their age and their indolent ways. What’s-Her-Name was the real predator, lean and quick. She has gone to Jesus. She did so in a characteristic way: found a quiet place where no one would bother her and lay down in it. She was a cat who did things on her own terms, right to the end.

There was a big difference between a cat like What’s-Her-Name and the two city boys, born in captivity. She was resourceful; they are not. Ben and Santi need us, but she did not — she’d take what we gave her, certainly, but could have made it on her own just fine. She was born outdoors, and knew how to live wild. On their own terms is how wild animals do things. Theirs is a narrow focus, just a few things: food, water, shelter and a place to raise their young.

Watching them is one of the best small pleasures in my life. They are so diverse, and yet they are so basic. Observing their single-mindedness , I feel over-complicated and overdressed. Human beings have a hard time taking life as it comes. We invent unnecessary nuance and bind ourselves to it — nothing is ever simple. When something primal overtakes us, we feel embarrassed about it. We hide from our own wildness.

I can’t go out, a bereaved mother tells me. Her family is worried: she doesn’t want to go to the bereavement group, to a restaurant, not even to the lake her son loved so.  I just start crying for no reason, she says, misting up even as she speaks. I don’t want to go anywhere because I’m afraid I’ll cry. I don’t want to ruin everybody’s lunch.

The wildness of her grief dismays her: it is irrational and out of control. It ambushes her when she least expects it. She can’t even put her finger on what triggers her weeping — sure, she knows why she’s crying. But she never knows when.

How long will I be like this, she asks. I tell her it will take as long as it takes. We hop around a bit during our visit: sometimes we speak of her son and sometimes of something else. She can’t gaze steadily for too long upon what has happened to her. Sometimes she must look away.

We are wild, too, in a way. We can’t do things in someone else’s way — not the big things, anyway, not the things of living and dying. We cannot weep or cease weeping on somebody else’s schedule. We must do it on our own.

Mother Barbara Crafton, The Geranium Farm

So be it,