The charter bus was crowded, full of chattering children and proud parents, many of whom are on their way to see their first play. Maria Arroyo sat with her three young children, two of which have been Learners with 10 Books A Home, grateful for the chance to provide them with this new experience. The bus was headed to Stanford University and Bing Nursery School’s very special production of the play Charlotte’s Web.
"I am not going to lie to you this was my first time taking them!” said Maria about taking her children to the play. “When I found out 10 Books A Home was going to give out tickets I was very happy and hoped I was selected so that I could take my kids. I was very excited and I felt fortunate knowing I was going to experience something new with my children."
Maria and her children were some of the lucky families in the 10BH community who got to attend the Charlotte’s Web. Bing and 10BH worked closely to provide the opportunity for families to attend the play. 10BH offered the tickets as an incentive for monthly check-ins with parents, but tickets were in such high demand that they had to be raffled off to 10BH families instead. In all, 10BH received requests for 256 tickets, but only had 52 tickets to give away.
Bing’s Assistant Director, Beth Wise, thought Charlotte’s Web was the perfect fit for 10BH families to attend because of the literary connection and was thrilled by the enthusiasm of the 10BH community for tickets to the play.
“A huge passion of mine is making the arts available to all children,” said Beth. “You know, it might spark some interest in a child in the audience who says, ‘I want to try that instrument, or I want tobe in that play, or even that piece of music or piece of art moved me in some way.’”
Bing Nursery School is a laboratory school that is part of Stanford University’s Department of Psychology, where faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates can conduct research on early childhood, education, and improving the lives of young children and their families. Similar to 10BH, Bing’s half-day program is entirely play-based, encouraging children to learn through art, discovery, and social interaction.
“Just in general, we are really committed to providing children this strong foundation for a love of learning,” said Vanessa Ibarra, a teacher at Bing and a 10BH Role Model since 2012. “Through play children develop so much, both social and emotional skill. We follow their interests.”
Vanessa grew up in East Palo Alto and was the first person in her family to graduate from college. Now, as a Role Model for 10BH, she can give back to the community she grew up in and families just like hers. Last year, she led a month-long book drive at Bing to raise awareness for 10BH and collect new books for the 10BH library.
Families at Bing jumped at the chance to help, donating 354 books over the course of the month.
“Many families at Bing have so many books, and this really allowed parents to talk to their children about how there are some kids their age who don’t have any books,” said Vanessa. “We had several families go through their books and choose books they wanted to donate. We even had one child use the money from his piggy bank to buy books for the program. And these are 3, 4, and 5 year olds.”
After the success of the book drive, Bing wanted to continue helping 10BH, and the Charlotte’s Web performance was the perfect opportunity to offer 10BH Learners and their families a fun, novel, and educational experience.
“I get extremely excited when these things happen,” said Beth. “First of all, I saw how hard the parking was and I thought how great it was we had the bus. I saw the families get out and was so excited for them.”
Vanessa was also standing by with the tickets when the 10BH charter bus pulled into the parking lot.
“I was waiting there for them and I walked them over to the auditorium. I handed them their tickets and they just had a fabulous time. They went in with smiles on their faces and came out with smiles on their faces. They just had a blast.”
Maria and her children agree that it was a fun and unique experience from beginning to end.
"Oh!!! What didn't they like about it,” exclaimed Maria. “At first they couldn't stop talking about the bus. They described it as big and a fun ride. Their favorite part of the play was the talking spider. It caught their eye so much that they couldn't stop talking about it even after several days.”
Beth was proud to offer 10BH Learners the opportunity to attend a unique performance catered to children their age.
“I’m happy we could provide the children with an age-appropriate performance,” said Beth. “Children might watch TV or a movie, but how often do they get to see a live performance? And we owe that to the children. In this way, we could provide an experience catered just to them, and hopefully the parents enjoyed it too.”
For Maria and her children, getting the chance to attend Charlotte’s Web was an unforgettable treat that they would gladly repeat.
“This definitely was an amazing experience and I'm thankful 10 Books A Home gave us this opportunity,” said Maria. “If a play like this one was offered again I would accept it in a heartbeat!”
Both Beth and Vanessa hope to include 10BH families in future Bing events. Most of all, they loved working with 10BH and seeing the enthusiasm from the 10BH families like Maria’s who attended Charlotte’s Web.