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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!