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Breidablik sets literary table with Stone Soup

POULSBO — Based on the theme of a fairy tale that provides a message of unity, “Stone Soup,” a new feature this year at Breidablik Elementary offers a forum for readers to share, express and discuss the lessons they’ve learned through text.

So the old tale goes ... A traveler was making his way through post-war Eastern Europe and he came upon a village stricken by famine. The villagers had drawn into seclusion, hoarding what little they had. However, the traveler bore a cauldron and began to prepare a pot of stone soup. The brew began to boil and the traveler began suggesting the ingredients which could better the stew. Overcome by hunger, the villagers came together to contribute.

Breidablik’s monthly “Stone Soup” is a modern-day after-school discussion forum that relays the same message: by working together, a greater good is achieved.

“Having adults and kids together with common things to talk about, learning together and sharing,” co-organizer Mary Fox said is the goal of the program.

In coordination with the school’s PTA meetings, parents can utilize “Stone Soup” as somewhat of a day care as they contribute to the PTA before coming together to join the group in the latter half of the forum.

Forums begin right after school and last until 6 p.m.; all Breidablik students and parents are encouraged and welcome to attend at the school library.

The beginning of each session serves as “unwind time” for children during which they can enjoy snacks and quiet reading time, said Fox.

After that, students participate in an artistic activity. This month’s group will be making treats for Santa’s reindeer as well as cinnamon ornaments to deck the halls.

The final portion of the evenings are devoted to book discussions.

“The way we do the discussions ties in with the reading strategies that the kids are learning,” Fox said.

Discussions are led by Breidablik teachers Debi Pavlich-Boaz, Claire Dasler, Mary Kay Handley and Fox and focus on anything that attendees have learned from recent readings.

“The whole time is fun-filled with conversations about books,” co-organizer Pavlich-Boaz said. “Each session depends on which book we are focusing on and what comprehension we want to engage.”

The featured books in focus at this month’s session will be C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe,” and “Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo, however, discussions are not confined to those two novels, nor to a specific reading age.

“The way it is structured no matter what age they are they get something out of it,” Fox said.

In it’s first year of existence at Breidablik, Fox said more people have been coming out for “Stone Soup” each month.

GRAY BOX THIS

Stone Soup

3:30-6 p.m.

Jan. 25, Feb. 22, March 22, April 26 and May 24

Breidablik Elementary

SIDEBAR

“Stone Soup” fairytale

There was once a traveling soldier making his way through post-war Eastern Europe and he came upon a village within the clutches of famine. As he began to make plans for a place to stay, the villagers told him he’d better move on because there was not a bite of food left in the town.

But the traveler responded “I have everything I need. In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you.”

He readied his cauldron, struck a fire beneath it and tossed in an ordinary stone. The broth began to brew, the traveler licked his lips and sniffed in anticipation as he said loudly enough for onlooking villagers to hear, “I do love the taste of stone soup, but stone soup with cabbage is hard to beat.”

Reservedly one of the villagers approached with the cabbage he had been hiding for himself, and tossed it into the cauldron.

The traveler then noted how exquisite the soup would taste with some salt beef, and the town butcher slowly approached with the beef he had been hoarding. And so it went with carrots, potatoes, onions and many tasty ingredients until a delicious feast had been prepared for the entire village.

The next day, the traveler moved on, however the moral he’d created lingered. If everyone contributes what they have, by working together a greater good is achieved.

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