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Woman Writing

Our Journey

Little Rock Press was born out of the desire to self-publish our book, Move! Imagine! Grow! Creative Movement Fun for Young Children. The story of the book becoming a reality is nearly nine years in the making.  We hope you enjoy reading about it....

     Helen Pettengill started teaching Creative Movement at two separate nursery schools in Swarthmore, PA back in 1979. This happened after her daughter, Olivia, who was student-teaching at the time at Swarthmore Friends Nursery School, learned that the person teaching this unique class would be moving away and the school was looking for a replacement teacher for the following school year. Olivia mentioned it to her Mom one evening and said Helen would be good at doing this type of work. Helen, after all, had been a dancer and acrobat when she was a young girl in England, and she also raised 11 children and kept them very busy with imaginative activities as they grew up.  Helen went to school with Olivia one week and watched the Creative Movement teacher in action...she immediately felt she would enjoy this type of work.

      The Director at Swarthmore Friends Nursery School invited Helen to shadow the teacher and to try out her own lesson in a class session. For Helen, this opportunity turned into a successful lesson, a job offer and a chance to start a whole new career, one she never would have envisioned. Not only did Helen start work at Swarthmore Friends Nursery School the following Fall, but she soon took a position at Swarthmore Presbyterian Nursery Day School, as well.  Helen taught Creative Movement at Swarthmore Friends for about 20 years, and at Swarthmore Presbyterian for a total of 31 years, retiring at the age of 86!

     Many times during those years, Olivia felt that Helen's work was so imaginative, unique, and different than other creative movement classes and was important enough to share with others, perhaps in a book.  It wasn't until Helen retired and was thinking back on her career that she allowed herself to think about it. But, at that time, Olivia was still operating a tutoring business, so it wasn't until a few years later that Helen and Olivia began to focus on what the book would look like. That journey, from an initial discussion to the final publication took almost nine years of working long distance between Pennsylvania and Illinois. The result is a book designed for teachers, parents, park districts, youth programs, Sunday schools, playgroup leaders, and anyone who works with young children and is looking for creative, developmental activities to provide. Our goal of providing a life-long resource that compiles the best of Helen's creative movement activities has finally become a reality! 

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