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Afterschool and Community Programs

Take note of chronic absences

This September marks the first-ever Attendance Awareness Month in schools and communities. Attendance Works, one sponsor of the month, is a national and state initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving academic success starting with school entry. According to their site, absences of as little as 10% can have a real impact on a child's achievement in elementary school.

Getting mind and body ready for school

It's a fact. Good nutrition leads to healthy bodies and to healthy minds — minds and bodies that are ready to learn (and grow and play and do everything else that children do).

All schools seem to be moving toward more healthful lunch and snack choices. Some schools use the notion of healthy food in ways to support the curriculum while building community. Last year, about 80 schools in Washington, D.C. had school gardens.

An important message: no bullying allowed!

Everyone has been there in real time or vicariously. It sometimes feels like its reached epidemic proportions. There are all kinds of reasons, none of them good. Each incident has numerous victims who come in all sizes and ages.

I'm talking about bullying, of course. And because bullying is so prevalent, October has been designated as National Bullying Prevention Month sponsored by PACER.

Full STEAM ahead

Have you ever blown off steam? Or maybe you've run out of steam.

I got a new appreciation for the power of STEAM at a recent panel discussion convened by Reading Is Fundamental (aka RIF).

Their newest effort combines quality children's books with art and literacy activities to help adults (educators, families, and the community) to enhance STEM education — science, technology, engineering, math — for young children. The activities are presented in a brief, accessible way for both busy teachers and parents who may not read comfortably.

Through the prism

What do you see when you look through a prism? The scientific explanation is simply that a prism refracts light allowing a spectrum of colors to be seen. Really what you see are different colors, perhaps changing your perspective or the way you view an object.

Teachers as pack rats

Maybe I can blame my years as a teacher for my pack rat tendencies. Teachers have a keen eye for creative ways to use (and re-use) many everyday objects. I was reminded of this as we unpacked our holiday decorations last weekend and found the "mitten man" Molly made from an unclaimed mitten from the lost and found at her preschool.

Thankful for many things

One day every year is set aside to give thanks and to remember our history. History and family often come together. Sometimes it's through family stories shared around a dinner table or even books shared aloud. These are often times worth remembering as well as worthy of thanksgiving.

Year round school: What do you think?

I read with interest this story from the Washington Post that describes one family's experience with year round school.

As a Mom who juggles work and young kids, the transition to summer for my family is nothing short of absolutely chaotic. My house has become nothing but bags (one for camp, one for swim team, one for bug spray and sunscreen, etc) and wet towels from the pool. We've been out of school since June 5 and we've yet to find our summer groove.

Summer Reading Bags: Wrap up

The Summer Reading Bag project wrapped up last week (read more about it here). I was amazed by the quality and quantity of donations we gathered! Thanks to the generosity of teachers and neighbors, the PTO tables were piled high with books, games, flash cards, mini chalkboards, and more.

summer reading bags

A day with art and artists

I spent the morning with young artists whose work was featured in an opening at The Phillips Collection that featured young (and I mean young) artists; the oldest were in 5th grade, most were prekindergarten through 2nd.

It was amazing, energizing, exciting, and downright remarkable.

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"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away. And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall." — Roald Dahl