In honor of bernadette Blum
Ms. Bernadette Blum was a beloved early childhood teacher extraordinaire who taught preschoolers in DC for almost 40 years. One of her signature field trips was to the FDR Memorial. She used the statue of FDR in his wheelchair to teach the kids about people with physical disabilities.
But she also used the statue of FDR’s beloved Scottie dog, Fala, to teach the kids about scale. She said she loved Fala because he was an approachable subject (True fact: all kids adore statues of animals!) and because he was built on a preschooler’s scale. Most of the kids were indeed nose to nose with him.
In preparation for the field trip, the kids would make their own Fala pictures and also use their shoes to measure out “how many shoes high” they were on a strip of paper. Then they would take that strip of paper to the FDR Memorial and compare it against Fala to see which one of them was taller. It was always a hit!
So Fala loomed large in the River Park Nursery School classroom. When we lost Ms. Blum to cancer in 2015, a group of Hill residents quickly decided that the best way to honor her was to bring our very own Fala-inspired statue to the Hill. It is our hope that he will bring as much joy to kids in the neighborhood as his Fala cousin does down in the Tidal Basin.