You might not believe it, but Teacher Emma was my preschool teacher. She hasn’t changed one bit. She’s still the same gentle, caring and supportive teacher from, yes, 25 years ago. About a decade after being my teacher, we found her back in my family’s life when my brother, Milo, ended up going to the preschool (The Little Farm House) she later opened. My friend Ninna and I even took up Kumon when they started offering it at their school.
Since my move back to Manila three years ago, I’ve bumped into her at random places. When Mom came to visit last November, she made sure to include a trip to visit her. It was going to be a crafty get together, in her Antipolo home she fondly calls Frogglerocks.
Mom was dead set on learning how to paint with watercolor. I’ve seen Teacher Emma’s work on Instagram, so I was a willing tagalong.
I brought my barely-used watercolor set and brushes with me, in hopes of magically absorbing her magic.
Teacher Emma has immersed herself in a project she’s been referring to as her Great Calendar Scam. She compiled twelve of her pieces, and put together a calendar. She’s been selling these calendars, putting all the profit towards building a classroom in an area affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
It’s like preschool centers all over again. With @tocyturtle and @ninnanotabo watching Teacher Emma @egfrogglerocks freehand. 😍🌸🍃 A video posted by Mikko Sumulong (@mikkomix) on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:34am PST
Apart from the beautiful work featured on each page of the calendar, she’s wrapped each one with watercolored gift wrapping.
To our surprise, she wanted each of us to paint a wrapper for a future calendar purchase. Here’s one of the wrappers that she worked on together with Mom. The maple leaf looked so beautiful!
It took a while for me to get the courage to paint. I looked through the windows of her home to gather inspiration.
Before I knew it, after much prodding, I worked on my first wrapper.
I wasn’t so sure about what I made, but Teacher Emma, ever the teacher, made sure to let me know I was doing okay.
Ninna and I walked around, looking at the different plants she had. We fell in love with these pinwheel-like leaves!
Ninna wasn’t able to escape the wrapper project either. Here’s what she ended up making.