Windows at the Louis Braille School have undergone changes in the last few months. Now, bright colors, a word of welcome, and braille alphabet not only spice up the building’s appearance, they suggest the spirit and philosophy found on the other side of the glass.
“I’m a flower person, I love drawing them,” said teacher Beckie.
With spring’s arrival, flowers were on her mind as she looked at the large window of the main classroom.
“The designs on the window were fading and not looking nice, and we wanted to come up with something changeable,” she said.
Students were consulted on the design and encouraged to pick some of the colors.
Then Beckie made a stencil for the lettering before spending several days on the actual painting, putting in a little bit of time now and then between her other responsibilities.
The changeable aspect of design deliberately figured into Beckie’s choice of paint. A little soap and water will easily remove the latest artwork. That approach is the one she used at a pre-school years ago, where she had a big window to work on. “About every other month I would change the theme,” she said.
“Come fall, I will talk to the kids find out what they may like to see on the window,” she added. “That will be the goal with that window, to change it periodically and have the children participate.”
The window nearest the front door was redecorated by the school’s Director, Carolyn Meyer. It is bordered across the top and bottom with print and braille letters of the alphabet.
“I wanted the exterior of the building to reflect the happiness and learning that goes on inside,” Carolyn said. “It had been rather plain and drab. I wanted it look as bright and welcoming from the outside as it is inside.
“When Beckie started painting the main classroom window, I commented to her from day to day, ‘Beckie, another flower sprouted on our front classroom window.’ Beckie’s painting is a very nice solution because now the school building looks cheerful on the outside and the inside.”
After removing faded images of butterflies, Carolyn put braille around the borders of the window near the entry door.
“It gives a little bit of intrigue to the person looking at it, yet right away they know it is braille,” she said.
Noting that braille is a way to represent a written language, Carolyn reflected on a question she is asked frequently about braille: In light of today’s electronic equipment and talking computers available to people who are blind, is braille still needed?
Her response to that question is: “Would you be satisfied if you were deprived of print as a means to read and write and you could only be literate by listening? In these times of technological advances and an increasingly busy information highway, we need all the tools we can get, and braille remains a vital tool for those who cannot read print.
“There is no substitute for direct contact with the written language, whether it be print or braille.”