Columbus Early Learning Center students become authors


COLUMBUS -- Nancy Kangas cozied on a couch with preschooler Princeton, as the two wrote poetry together at Columbus Early Learning Center on N. Champion Ave.

“Did I get it right?” Kangas asked Princeton.

The process is part of the school’s literacy program which teaches 3 and 4-year-olds the art of poetry.

“I was very scared about writing with them because they don't write. How would we make poems?” she asked herself aloud. Kangas says she quickly came up with a feasible answer, “You just listen to what they say.”

Kangas began posing questions to the students in order to spark their imagination.

“May there always be?” Kangas asked Penny.

“Books!” Penny said with excitement.

Eventually, Penny and Ms. Nancy were able to write a full poem.

“I really want to honor their words and their ideas and make sure it sounds like what they said and not make it my words,” said Kangas.

Kangas says the kids are able to write poetry because they have an open mind and lots of imagination.

“They don't have a huge vocabulary but they have a huge everything else. Huge love, huge fear, huge needs to say something with this tiny vocabulary,” said Kangas.

Kangas says she was often “blown away” by what the children wrote.

“I started sending them to my friends like ‘can you believe this??”,” she said with excitement.

Eventually, Kangas says her friends became so impressed with the kids’ work that they wanted to present the poems on a national stage.

“One of my friends is a filmmaker and he said, let's make a film!”

Kangas wants the film to be done in animation featuring voices from the children.

In order to get the project done, Kangas and the school needed to raise about $20,000.

The project was awarded a $5k grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

More than $10,000 dollars has been raised through a Kickstarter fundraiser.