Monthly Archives: February 2017

Hate Solves Nothing


With the wave of anti-Semitic threats at Jewish Community Centers around the country, I have to admit, I took pride in the thought that it could not happen in our usually very diverse and welcoming community. I was wrong.

Sometime during the night swastikas and other messages of hate were spray painted across a bridge in the South Mountain Reservations, a well traveled hiking area in town. It truly hurts my heart and I am disgusted to think that it happened here.

The graffiti has already been removed and the incident is being investigated but I cannot help wonder what is causing the uprise in hate that we are seeing.



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Today’s word….Playing.

Play. It is essential to development. I have become passionate about the importance of play in Kindergarten. I am in the middle of a course for grad school where I am evaluating research on the importance of it. There is so much information out there on both sides of the issue.

Currently, there is so little time for free and unstructured play at school. Play contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children. It is essential to their brain development. While trying to meet the demands of a rigorous curriculum, and with so many goals and standards that must be met, these young kids are losing out. Instead of easels and sand tables, we have math and literacy centers. Instead of drawing, art and creation stations, five year olds are writing opinion pieces. There needs to be a middle point, where students are learning in developmentally appropriate ways. They need to be exploring, moving and socializing. Learning through play provides opportunities to build number sense, vocabulary and phonemic awareness.

Children should not be anxious in Kindergarten but when we put this much pressure on them to succeed academically we are not helping them. The social and emotional foundations they learn in kindergarten are what will help them succeed as learners. As one of my coworkers often remarks, most of these babies were in diapers just a few years ago! They develop at such different rates when they are this young. Just like no child is potty trained or learns to walk at the same time, no child will be ready to read at the same time either.  It is time to find a way to balance the rigor and the play with achievable and developmentally appropriate goals.

Sweet Emmy Lou

I haven’t written about our sweet Emmy Lou in quite some time. She’s doing great. Truly the sweetest, easiest pup we could have ever adopted. She is beginning to show signs of her age though. We estimate she’s about 13 years old, although she’s only been a part of our lives for four years.

She isn’t a big fan of “human food” but she does have two favorites and we can’t sit down and eat without giving her a plate of her own. Pizza and pasta – an Italian girl after my own heart!!  She deserves it though after spending nine years of her life locked in a cage  in a puppy mill!

Too Early for This~

It is February 24 in New Jersey and 70 degrees. That is not normal. Traded in my coat and boots today for capris and Espidrilles! Every window in the house was open and I even did some Spring cleaning. Flowers are blooming around the neighborhood. I am being fooled into thinking it is April! Spring has always been my favorite season but this is just a tease. A wicked storm is headed our way tonight bringing back normal February temperatures… for a few days. Back to the mid- sixties next week. I am not complaining. I am enjoying it but I worry for the plants, the birds, the animals being deceived by these odd temperatures. Global warming? Freak of nature? Whatever it is, it is a little scary and just a bit too early.

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Seen Around School

These posters have been put up all around our school. From what I am aware of, they are hanging in all the schools in our district. It makes me so proud to work in a community that is so open minded and welcome. Hate truly has no home here and the younger we teach children this, the more of a reality it will become everywhere.


Mail for Mom

I was all set to go to bed when I remembered I hadn’t written tonight. Today’s photo prompt is “A Word.” I had no idea what to write until I saw the pile of mail Drew had tossed onto my desk this afternoon. There, in the pile was a catalog from Justice. I have only shopped there once, for my niece Gabi. Because of that, I occasionally I get mailings from them.

When I was in college, I had a credit card tied to my dad’s. That was more than 25 years ago. I obviously don’t have that account anymore. It was long before I ever lived in the house I am living in now, but once in awhile, I will still get something addressed to him even at this address. My mom and I never had accounts tied to one another, so I don’t quite know how this happened. I actually don’t want to really know. It was just nice to see in the pile so my words for today, are her name.

(I cropped out my address for obvious reasons…)

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Lent is coming…what to do?!?

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Wednesday, March 1 is the first day of Lent.When I was a little girl, I always gave up gum. Every year, I gathered it up any time someone offered me some and I’d hide it in a box in my dresser. By Easter Morning, I’d have a big pile of it and eat most of it that day! That was before my dad owned a candy store and I could have as much as I wanted whenever I wanted.

As I have gotten older, I still give up a few things during Lent but I also like to try to do something as well. For the last few years I have done “Random Snacks of Kindness” and left treats in my coworkers’ mailboxes. I still haven’t decided what to do this year. I will still give up dessert – it actually is good for me because I eat too much of it anyway! No chocolate, cookies, brownies…the entire time. Last year I gave up cheese and that was one of the hardest things I ever gave up. Not sure if I have the willpower this year. I am a bit of a stress eater and with the amount of work I have doing between my job, grad school, the many committees I am on and just parenting – I don’t think I will be able give up both!

I saw a decluttering idea, to get rid of 40 bags of stuff in 40 days. I NEED to do that, I am just not sure if I am capable of doing that! Another idea, “say three nice things to family members everyday.” This could be tough right now, having a moody teenager in my home. I don’t know if he even says three words to me all day.

I have one week to decide. What are you doing? I’d love some suggestions or ideas!



Photo prompt for today is FULL. I don’t have a photo, but I did find a beautiful message.

Where I Stand

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Today’s photo prompt is Where I Stand.  Today was a day off of work. A perfect February, spring-like day. A day that I hoped to get a lot done. Instead, I sat nearly all day working on my course for grad school, Evaluation of Research. This slide popped up in one of the presentations I watched today.  So far, my adventures in grad school have been amazing. Although challenging, I have been truly engrossed and absorbed in the courses. This particular course, a requirement for graduation, has been hard. So hard! It is all online. The professor is great and so helpful. She is so smart, I am in awe of her. My classmates are smart, educated and incredibly supportive of one another in the forums which we share in almost daily. We get to meet in video group chats which have also been great.

For this particular class, we got to choose our own topics of research.. I chose to research the advantages of playtime in the kindergarten classroom, something I am passionate about. The topic is compelling and I am reading a lot about it but the course itself evaluates the research studies. Statistical and analytical data. The words are almost foreign to me. Lots of numbers, lots of data – all things I never thought I’d be working with as a Kindergarten teacher! This course is challenging and demanding and really making me think. I never thought grad school would be easy but working full time along with this one particular one is really testing me! At this point, I am just praying to pull out a B.

Restorative Practice is a social science that helps build healthy communities, decrease crime and antisocial behavior, repair harm and restore relationships.  I am a little more than half way done and can’t wait to see where the degree  will take me. I just need to get through this class first!

Tried Something New


I have written more than once about needing a place to worship, but that I am frustrated with the Catholic Church. I love my church. The beauty of the architecture, the music and the familiarity are just a few of the things I love about it. I have received five of the seven sacraments there. My mother was buried there. Her funeral, despite being the saddest day of my life, was also one of the most moving and beautiful because of that church. Yet, so many of my beliefs don’t conform with those of the Catholic Church. I feel hypocritical some days even being there. I used to go to mass weekly but have found myself going less and less.

Today, with the encouragement of a friend, I attended services at Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church. I have been contemplating going for many years. Even when I taught preschool there, more than 10 years ago, but I am such a creature of habit, I never got the courage to try something different. It took me a few weeks and several conversations with this friend, to work up the courage to just try it.

I am so glad I did. I saw so many familiar faces and the welcome could not have been any warmer. From the woman who greeted me at the door, to the smiling faces sitting all around me. There were so many similarities to the Catholic Mass. I knew the songs and the prayers. Although, quite different was when they sang a song by The Black Eyed Peas during the service! “Where is the Love.” Which fit in perfectly with the sermon,that didn’t feel like a lecture but more of a story of how we can live our lives in a positive way.

One of my students from last year happened to walk by and see me and ask if she could sit with me. Of course I said yes. She and her uncle sat beside me and I told them it was my first time and asked her if she’d show me what I needed to do. She giggled and said yes. Before the service there had been a children’s class and she had created a crown. During the service she was writing on it and at one point she turned to me and gave it to me. It said, “Kindis Tchr” her translation, “Kindness Teacher.” Of course, being the sappy person I am, I got a bit weepy. She told me to keep it and wear it around.

I often write about “signs” and taking them as messages. “God Wings” Dave calls them because they are messages from God letting us know that he is watching over us and sending us little signs. Seeing my sweet student was the first one. At one point they sang, Eagle’s Wings, which I am almost sure was sung at my mom’s funeral. More weepiness.

Today is not the day I will make my final decision. I will go back and see if I find it as wonderful as I did today. Will I stop going to my Catholic Church? Probably not yet. Will I try something else? Maybe. I just want a peaceful place that I can go to worship and pray when I need to. A place that is warm, inviting, diverse and inclusive. A place where everyone is welcome.