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Wednesday, 24 May 2006 00:00

Recommended diversions

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A+ arts schools

Call me biased, but Central Elementary School in downtown Waynesville is a great place. All three of my children have attended, and two are still there. The A+ program integrates arts into the standard curriculum and realizes the importance of teaching to multiple intelligences — which, in layman’s terms, means that different children learn differently, so one method just ain’t gonna work for everyone.

Children at Central get a great deal more arts than kids at other schools, and what they get is a staff dedicated to integrating subject matter and working together. When you walk in the door, you get the feeling they really want you there. Principal John Sanderson deserves tremendous credit, and he has been fortunate enough over the years to have a staff that sees the beauty in how it all works.

In case anyone’s interested, the school has an open enrollment, which means if your child wants to go and you live out of district, all you’ve got to do is get them there.

Art for kids

While I’m touting Central, let’s talk in more general terms. Art is great with children. All of it: drawing, coloring, playing and listening to music, writing, reading, making up games, just being creative. It’s not about hoping they’ll become a Picasso or even Bono, but just to give them a larger box of crayons with which to color their life.

Baseball

Forget the Majors (if you can), please. And I’m not even talking about the Asheville Tourists, which is great fun. No, this is about leather and sand, dirty pants and hats that don’t fit. Nothing like 6-, 7-, 8- and 9-year-olds trying to show off their skills to make a father think back to days of old, of sliding the glove over the handlebar, slinging the bat over the shoulder and riding one-handed to afternoon practice while raindrops and a thunderstorm a few miles away threatened to spoil all the fun. Baseball teaches patience, clear thinking, the importance of being decisive, and teamwork. And it’s a whole lot of fun watching the little guys go at it. Catch a game near you.

Kris Kristofferson

Many know him only from his bad movies, and others for his stint with Willie, Johnny Cash, and Waylon. But before that, in the late 1960s and 1970s, Kristofferson went through a creative song-writing period that produced many tunes now considered classics: “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down,” “To Beat the Devil,” “For the Good Times,” “Help Me Make it Through the Night,” “Loving Her Was Easier,” and many more. His writing was moving, satirical, witty, silly and just plain good. Most songs were made into hits by others. Heard Norah Jones doing one of his lesser-known songs over the weekend, and it dug up memories from my old album collection. Found out he has a just-released CD. Perhaps I’ll take a chance.

— By Scott McLeod

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