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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

June 25, 2015
Let's Keep Talking

Motherlode: More Play or More Academics for Kindergarten?

Suki: In Praise of Adult Ed

A Simple Question

Featured Event
Lavendar Fridays
Motherlode: More Play or More Academics for Kindergarten?
A Simple Question continued
Click to view our Business Directory
  Let's Keep Talking

(AAA_Feb 2015) 4thJulyYourGuide.jpgAmerica's Independence Day is coming up!  I am grateful first for the original Declaration of Independence and also for the framework provided by our constitution that enables us to continue to work together, discuss, disagree,  argue, dissent, in our growth as a society that embraces all manner of cultures, religions, races, etc.

Are we perfect? No.  Is there room for improvement? Yes.  Are we good? Yes. Are we generous and compassionate? Yes.  Can we be nasty and hateful?  Unfortunately. Is democracy messy? Oh yes!

In America, most of us grew up with the term "melting pot" to describe our process over time of integrating the most recent immigrants into our evolving culture.  That phrase is now under assault, despite a mixing/blending/joining and celebration of races, religions and cultures that has occurred over our nearly 400 years in America.  I still like the melting pot concept, but if you like another term, go for it. 

Purely anecdotally, I observe more acrimony and more polarization in the 21st century than in the 20th century, although when time traveling through the history of the world, there are always periods of strife.  It's the nature of humans.  I don't know where this is going, but it sure is fascinating and I mostly think we will be alright because we can make adjustments owing to the structure of our system of government. 

Meanwhile I enjoy my friends, neighbors and family who are from many walks of life, races, religions and countries of origin, and whose interests and opinions sometimes intersect with mine, yet often differ so much that we agree to disagree and go forward finding areas of common interest.  We keep talking, like these twins!

Got a teen with "nothing to do"?  Lavendar Fridays needs volunteers!

Camp Options: A-Z Camps  ~  Camps on the Calendar  ~  Camp Guide Newsletter.

Thank you for sending many new families our way. Please, drop us a line anytime and recommend us to a friend

Have a great weekend with family and friends, Parmalee

Parenting Support ~ Parks ~ Museums The Weekend

 

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  Motherlode: More Play or More Academics for Kindergarten?

By KJ Dell'Antonia  June 10, 2015

If you've watched a succession of siblings go through kindergarten, you may have noticed that things have changed, and are still changing. As Motoko Rich writes in Kindergartens Ringing the Bell for Play Inside the Classroom, after a national movement toward more academics in that first year of school, many kindergartens are bringing back play: sand tables, blocks, easels, toy kitchens. Read more>>>>>

 
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Plan ahead!

Preview Independence Day Events

Saturday, July 4, 2015

  Suki: In Praise of Adult Ed

(AAA_Feb 2015) Suki2015.jpgEvery Wednesday evening last spring, I presented myself with a challenge.

A friend encouraged me to take a jazz singing class with her at our local community college. I'd been looking for a new musical outlet, so I agreed.

I nearly walked out the first night.

The teacher was a venerable local swing band leader who immediately started calling on students to get up and perform. Accompanied by a piano, a series of cute young divas got up and sang polished songs. I started to feel uncomfortable, knowing that I hadn't gotten up in front of an audience and sang without a book or a guitar to shield me in a very long time.

One of the benefits of community college is that the teachers are often actively working in the field they teach in. In this case, my teacher was a well-known local bandleader.

One of the benefits of community college is that the teachers are often actively working in the field they teach in. In this case, my teacher was a well-known local bandleader.

Then a woman much older than I volunteered. She got up and spoke into the microphone. "For my whole life I was afraid of talking in front of people," she said by way of introduction. "I'm taking this class so I can get over that."

I thought, "she's afraid of talking in front of people and now she's going to sing jazz into a microphone?"

That's all I needed. When he asked for the next volunteer... Read more>>>>>>>>>

Suki Wessling is a local parent who writes about reading, writing, parenting, education, and homeschooling. If you'd like to learn more about her blog, please click on "About Suki".

 

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  A Simple Question

A Simple Question That Keeps My Technology Use in Check

by Christy Wright

The average American checks their phone more than 150 times a day.

Can you believe that? That number seems insanely high, but then again, everywhere I go I see foreheads illuminated by screens.

Our culture's obsession with technology affects our ability to have any sense of balance in our lives. And all too often, nonstop screen time takes our attention away from the important moments around us.

If we don't figure out how to put our freaking phones down, we are going to know everything about everyone else's lives but totally miss out on the amazing people and experiences right in front of us. Read on>>>>>

 

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  Featured Event

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June

in the Parks

A-Z Camps

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Guitar &

African Drumming

Small Group Lessons

with Ron Dunn

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Weekly July 6 - Aug. 12

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Read!

Summer Reading is here

Sign up today

Visit the calendar

to see what's happening!



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 Lavendar Fridays
Lavendar Fridays

Homeless lGarden Project
Help harvest lavendar in the Homeless Garden Project gardens
Date: Every Fri from 10:00am to 2:00pm
Admission Fees: free
Special Instructions: Shaffer Road at Delaware Avenue

Photo

Join us for our annual Lavender Harvest on Fridays. These flowers must be cut, bundled and dried in order to be used in the many products we sell at our downtown store, including the lavender short bread mix, lavender sugar, dried flower arrangements and more.

This lavender will be used in our new Herbs de Provence mix, which debuts this summer!

Volunteers that help us harvest Lavender also get a free fresh cooked lunch from herbs and produce from our garden!

Questions? Ask Jes at Jesw@homelessgardenproject.org

Location: Shaffer Rd, Santa Cruz Map  •website Santa Cruz West Side

Holiday Movies
click to view website
  Holiday Movies
Beach Boardwalk
Date: Every day (Dec 14-Jan 7)
Details: Free Christmas and Hanukkah movies
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 423-5590 view all details >>
     
Free Kids Summer Movie Series
click to view website
  Free Kids Summer Movie Series
Green Valley Cinema 9
Date: Every Mon, Tues, Wed and Th (Jun 18-Jul 30) at 10:00am
Details: Free summer movies for kids
City: Watsonville Phone: (831) 761-8300 view all details >>
     
Lavendar Fridays
click to view website
  Lavendar Fridays
Homeless lGarden Project
Date: Every Fri from 10:00am to 2:00pm
Details: Help harvest lavendar in the Homeless Garden Project gardens
Special Instructions: Shaffer Road at Delaware Avenue
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Let's Keep Talking!
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  Let's Keep Talking!
Date:
view all details >>
     
Free Movies at the Beach
click to view website
  Free Movies at the Beach
Beach Boardwalk
Date: Every Wed (Jun 21-Aug 16) at 9:00pm
Details: Bring the family and your blanket or low back chair and join us for these classic hits!
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Teen Public Safety Academy
click to view website
  Teen Public Safety Academy
Santa Cruz Police & Fire Depts
Date: Every day (Jul 11-Aug 12) from 8:00am to 4:00pm
Details: Opportunity for teens ages 14-18 to learn more about law enforcement and the fire service i
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
REEL ROCK 12
click to view website
  REEL ROCK 12
Rio Theater
Date: 11/10/2017 from 7:00pm to 9:30pm
Details: Climbing's greatest stories, stars with heart-thumping action, big laughs, and pure inspiration
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Pleasure Point Street Fair
click to view website
  Pleasure Point Street Fair
Pleasure Point Business Association
Date: 06/27/2015 from 11:00am to 5:00pm
Details: Free Family Fun with Kids Art, Live Music, and Great Food!
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 464-7748 view all details >>
     
Let's Keep Talking!
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  Let's Keep Talking!
Date:
view all details >>
     
Storytellers' Showcase Campfire!
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  Storytellers' Showcase Campfire!
State Park Big Basin
Date: 07/29/2017 at 7:00pm
Ages: All
Details: Join us in our historic campfire center for a special storytelling evening
City: Boulder Creek Phone: 831-338-8018 view all details >>
     
Jewish Cultural Festival
click to view website
  Jewish Cultural Festival
Temple Beth El
Date: 06/28/2015 from 11:00am to 5:00pm
Details: This family-friendly event that includes six hours of food, music and fun. Nosh and kibbitz, shop the shuk, and swing and sway t
City: Aptos view all details >>
     
Let's Keep Talking!
click to view website
  Let's Keep Talking!
Date:
view all details >>
     
Musical Movies for Families
click to view website
  Musical Movies for Families
Library Watsonville
Date: Every Tues (Jun 9-Jul 21) at 6:00pm
Details: Tuesday Musical Movie Nights
City: Watsonville view all details >>
     
     
  Motherlode: More Play or More Academics for Kindergarten?

Many - but not all. Some research, described in the article, suggest that schools with large concentrations of nonwhite children were more likely to cut back on play, art and music while increasing the use of textbooks. Middle-class parents, says the dean of education at Stanford, are doing the kind of academic work that kindergartners do at home. If schools don't do the work with students whose parents aren't, "they are going to start at an even greater disadvantage."

As a parent, it's hard to assess the impact of kindergarten. I wanted it to give my children what I did not. We had plenty of play kitchen toys at home, but with four young children close in age, I wasn't doing much that could be even remotely called academic there. I hoped for more "academic" work, especially for my oldest, whose kindergarten was half-day and seemed to me to consist almost entirely of taking snow gear off and putting it on again. Our younger three stayed in preschool for kindergarten (in part because it was full day for four days a week). They had more rigorous experiences, went into first grade knowing more, and had an easier time throughout elementary school. But who can say whether that's because of their experience, or because of other differences?

No one, really, and my children had the data in their favor before they walked through the classroom door. Factors like Income, a mother's educational achievements and social background have as much, if not more, impact on a child's success in school as shifts in pedagogy. It's those distinctions that schools are trying to make up for as they move along the play/academic continuum, with limited success. They're also trying to appease parents across the income spectrum who may equate more academics with a better program.

Is there a one-size-fits-all prescription for kindergarten, nationally or even within a school? One teacher may be able to create a fun educational environment that keeps children engaged and wanting to learn with sand tables, and another may do the same with paper and pencils. What do you (or did you) want from your school's kindergarten, and what should we want for all kindergartens - and is that the same thing?

 

Like what you're reading? Get the best of Motherlode articles, links, comments and conversation, along with previews of posts to come, delivered each week to your inbox. Sign up here.

  A Simple Question continued

I struggle with this daily, just like you. So recently, I tried something that's actually helped with my habit of checking my phone repeatedly. It's nothing complicated or difficult.

It's just a simple question. It helps me to not only put things into perspective, but also to put down my phone when I am with family, friends or coworkers.

I ask myself this: "Is it more important that I know what the outside world is doing right now, or is it more important that I experience what I am doing right now?"

The question almost always answers itself.

This works when you're mindlessly scrolling Twitter while waiting for food with your spouse at a restaurant or when you're perusing Facebook in the grocery store line while your child is trying to get your attention. Even if you're just enduring something mundane, when you are with family and friends, they matter more.

One of the most tempting and easily justified times to be on my phone is when I'm taking a picture or posting something online myself. Posting photos and updating statuses isn't a bad thing, but sometimes I find myself missing everyday moments because I'm so busy trying to document them.

Related: Don't want to miss everyday moments? Read Christy's powerful post about taking responsibility to make yourself happy, confident, and proud.

It's not just me either. If you go to a concert, you'll see thousands of people watching a live concert in person (that they paid for) through a tiny screen on their phone to capture it.

But we don't just capture it. After we capture it, we have to write a clever caption. Then we have to post it. And the moment we upload that Instagram picture or Facebook post, we push over the first domino in a series.

The next domino is a notification that our old high school friend Amber likes our post. How is Amber? I haven't thought of her in years. I heard she moved to California . . .

Then there's another notification. It's John. His comments are always so clever and witty! It'll just take a second to respond.

What started as a moment with family or friends turned into a photo, then a post, then a notification-and the dominoes keep falling.

And we get halfway through the concert or dinner only to realize the entire first half was spent staring at a screen and completely missing out on the moment that we're in.

A similar question works in these situations as well.

"Is it more important that the outside world knows what I am doing right now, or is it more important that I experience it myself?"

If I ask this simple question when I'm tempted to pick up my phone, it gives me some perspective.

Life balance isn't easy, but with a little less phone time and a little more perspective, we can all be more present for the most important people, moments and memories happening right in front of us.

An inspiring and enthusiastic presenter, Christy Wright has spoken to groups of thousands at corporate events, women's conferences and some of the country's top universities. Christy is also a Certified Business Coach, whose direct and genuine presentations cover a range of topics from business and money management to personal development and goal setting. You can follow Christy on Twitter at @ChristyBWright, online at christywright.com or at facebook.com/OfficialChristyWright

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