‘Blellow’ collaboration fuels Children’s School fun


Children’s School Blue and Yellow rooms staff.
Photo by Adam Birkan.

Leah Harrison | Staff Writer

Teamwork is a quality revered by the entire Children’s School staff, but the teachers in the Blue and Yellow rooms are particularly driven by it, thriving on the interwoven nature of the two 5-year-old classes.

Blue Room head teacher Mark Doty has taught at Children’s School for more than 10 years.

“It’s a really interesting group,” Doty said. “It’s not really hierarchical. We all feel like we can do a good job when we’re working together. We don’t really separate out as much as the Blue and Yellow room — we call ourselves ‘blellow,’ and we try to do as many things as possible together.”

Bobbi Savage is head of the Yellow Room, returning for her 18th summer to collaborate with the array of teachers Children’s School employs.

“You’re bringing together all these teachers from all over the country for these nine weeks to mesh and work together, and it really works out very well,” Savage said.

Assisting Doty and Savage are John Denton, Helen Mead, Cyndi Smith, Salem Zarou, Ben Rosen, Kim Raynor, Clarissa Savage and Sadie Renjilian. Many of them have been involved with Children’s School for seven to 10 years.

“If they didn’t have returning teachers and people that spend a length of time here,” Savage said, “it wouldn’t work nearly as well, because we’re all so familiar with the program, and the grounds and how they work. So it really runs smoothly.”

This week, Children’s School celebrates Chautauqua’s birthday. The 5-year-olds will have a sing-along on Bestor Plaza, bake cupcakes and sing in the Amphitheater for Old First Night.

One of Doty’s favorite activities this week is the Troll Play, a production that uses many of the “blellow” staff members. A troll who is known for snatching ice cream plagues Chautauqua, and he wants to take a trip to London for the Olympics to see his girlfriend, the Hunchback of the Bell Tower, compete in the power lifting competition. The troll is hoping to join his girlfriend as a competitor in the Olympics, so he enlists the help of Blellow, the 6-foot-4-inch 5-year-old, to help him discern his athletic talents. A special troll dance helps the Olympics hopeful get in shape, and after making the trip to England, he wins a lifetime supply of ice cream.

The play is just one way in which the Children’s School staff creates an environment for education and fun through their energy, creativity and collaboration.