For two years, from 1968 to 1970, I left senior teaching & went into the Primary sector.
I was interested in the early stages of reading; since I had specialised in remedial teaching, I had been working with eleven-year-olds who came to Junior High School barely able to read at a seven-year-old level, and I needed to know how the process had started.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the five and six-year-olds.
One day I told the children the story of Thumbelina, and afterwards we talked about tiny things.
How many things will fit inside a matchbox?
That was our competition for the week.
Could we make tiny furniture for Thumbelina?
That day we only had plasticine, but we made all kinds of really tiny things,a telephone, shoes, a little bed, even very small sandwiches.
The next day they brought things to show me-- tiny buttons,a miniature bible, a little eggspoon,etc.,and we used all kinds of materials to make a room for Thumbelina.
I set up what we called a 'Diddy table,' and on it we arranged all our treasures.
We wrote the story of Thumbelina in very small writing, and on tiny pages,which were made into little books.
The other day, whilst tidying, I found an envelope,marked 'INFANTS 1968--1970.'
Inside were some of the tiny books those five and six-year-olds made.
I had forgotten all about them.
I have photographed a few for you, and I have put a pencil to show you how really small the books were.
The children never forgot Thumbelina; I imagine that The Borrowers would have been a good choice for them as seven-year-olds. Or perhaps by then they would have gone on to bigger things....