Wordsworkinc's Weblog

Life, love and language

About Me


Hi there, my name is Dawn Kumm.  I am one of those annoying people who keep picking out grammatical and spelling mistakes online and itch to correct them.  English is my passion and was one of my majors in my first degree. I also hold a Master’s degree in Education.   I run my own business, and do freelance research, writing and editing.  Find me on LinkedIn for my full resume and look for me on Facebook and my website


November 21, 2018 Posted by | About Me, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Kids and Pets

I grew up with pets – dogs and cats, of course – I still remember Blackie, my fluffy black cat (I wasn’t very innovative with names at five years old) who patiently let me dress him up and push him around in my doll’s pram

boy standing hugging cat

Photo by Elisey Vavulin

But I also had a locust, who would sit on my hand and nibble away on a piece of grass while I watched the movements of his mouth pieces in fascination.

That year, I remember, I had an insect hospital in our playroom, with matchbox beds. Unfortunately, I don’t think too many of my little patients survived my tender ministrations.
Later, when I was at high school, I had a chameleon named Rex, later changed to Regina when he/she laid eggs. Regina went to school with me every day. Our desks still had holes for ink wells although we had, just, progressed beyond dipping pens. Regina, who measured a good 10 inches from nose to tail, would stay quite happily in my desk, sticking her nose out through the ink well hole every now and then for a stroke.

Pet birds also played a large part in my life. Between my sisters and I we had six budgies who were tame enough to travel to the shops on our shoulders.

blue parakeet on hand

Photo by Sharon MacCutcheon

And as we have grown up, married, and had children, and then grandchildren, of our own, pets continue to be an integral part of our families, from budgies and parrots, cats and dogs, to rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and reptiles.
What generated all these reminiscences was the realization, I as patiently walked my rather chubby Pomeranian around the yard, that through all the years of studying, and then lecturing in child development, the relationship between children and animals was never discussed. And yet it was such an important part of my growing up. I started looking at research in this area and found that most of it is fairly recent.
So, I have decided, in my next few blogs, to look at what evidence there is for the place of animals in the overall development of a child, from toddler to adolescent. Watch this space.

November 21, 2018 Posted by | About Me | | 4 Comments

End of an Era

Six years I opened a daycare in Calgary.  The experience was not with angst. I was unprepared for the amount of red tape I would come up against. Coming from South Africa where these things were – still are(?) – far more laissez faire, the number of different officials involved in the process was mind-boggling to say the least.  As we battled through the multitude of steps involved I decided to start a blog on our experiences, hoping it would help others caught up in the same mire. For anyone who is interested that blog post, which spanned many months, can be found under the category ‘Working’ in this web-blog.

At the end of September the centre was sold.

Over the past six years our lives have been very enriched by the daycare and, hopefully, we have been able to provide a service for the community we chose.  The highlights were, (of course), the hugs and greeting from the little ones every morning; the relationships we built up with our parents; and the daily interaction with our staff whose commitment and sense of humour brought a ray of sunshine to even the most stormy days.  The lowlights included trying to accommodate the requirements of three different bodies – licencing, health and accreditation – all of which had different ideas of how a daycare should be run; and trying to offer the children educational experiences based on play and exploration without breaking any rules.

In the end I reluctantly decided that I no longer wanted to run a business under those conditions.  I do not regret the years spent at the daycare, most of it was very enjoyable, and I do not regret leaving – it was time. Now on to other things.


November 13, 2018 Posted by | Working | , | Leave a comment