Year-Round School: Has Its Time Come?


I was thinking about what my next blog would be when I received a comment from Kat at which sparked today’s post.

In my post on Is it Too Early to Begin Planning for the New School Year?, I referenced an article from  Kat was kind enough to respond to that and she mentioned a great and FREE program that will help kids have fun learning this summer.  Here is her comment:

“Hi Vivian:  Thanks for sharing our computers in preschools article!  I also thought I’d let you know about our Summer Activities Challenge.  For parents who want to help their kids have fun learning this summer (in part to help get ready for the next school year) it’s a great (and free!) program.  Parents can sign up here:   Then they just need to complete at least 5 activities before the end of July and they’ll receive a personalized Certificate of Achievement and be entered to win some great prizes including a $500 Back to School Splurge.  Hope you and some of your readers will join us!”

As parents, we are always on the lookout for stuff to do with our kids…so check it out…this should be fun!

It made me think about the Summer Reading Programs at our local library back in Connecticut when our children were young…they really looked forward to participating and reading as many books as they could…how proud they each were with the certificate they received at the end of the summer!  I know that the Pikes Peak Library here in Colorado Springs also has summer reading programs Library Summer Reading Program: One World, Many Stories…what a great (and FREE) on-going activity for this summer!

Two months of summer vacation is an old remnant from the days when most people were farmers and their children were needed to help during the late spring and summer…planting, harvesting and weeding.  But these days, most people do NOT need their children home for two months during the summer…in fact, there are many reasons why this is an out-dated mode of planning a school year. 

  • School-readiness is often lost during the summer vacation…children get out of the habit of the school routine and all that implies…proper bedtime, early rising, good breakfast, getting things needed in the morning laid out the night before.
  • Studies show that children (and adults) forget much of what they learn if it is not used on a regular basis.
  • Everyone needs time off and a break in the routine…but two months is much too much.

I know that the idea of year-round school is one that has been talked about for decades…and there are some private schools that may adhere to it.  But most public schools still operate on the old schedule we all remember from our school days. 

What are your thoughts on year-round school?  Please share!

I also wanted to share some GOOD NEWS!  I’m partnering with the Family Christian Bookstore in Colorado Springs and will be doing a FREE Back-to-School program for parents and their preschoolers (ages 2-5+…kindergarteners and first graders are more than welcome) on Saturday, August 6th from 11am to 2pm.  We’ll be reading a story that addresses the topic of school anxiety and then doing a simple craft project that the children will be able to take home.  Parents will be able to pick up a couple of free flyers with additional activity ideas and simple tips to help insure a smooth transition from home to school.  In addition, any parent who fills out the entry form will be entered to win a gift package of preschool craft supplies. 

Please, please spread the word about this FREE and FUN-FILLED event for parents and children.  The manager of the bookstore told me that “author” events are not usually well-attended, but I know this is a topic of great importance and relevance to parents of preschoolers…also for parents whose children are starting a NEW school or starting daycare or nursery school for the first time.  If you are local to Colorado Springs, please stop in to say hello!  If parents show an interest, I plan to do a monthly program with different topics and stories and crafts each month…the manager of the Family Christian Bookstore has already given me the go-ahead.

Finding activities to do with our kids, especially during the long summer when they are home, can be a challenge.  I’ve continued my Jump-Into-Summer Sale on my website where you can pick up a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking for 50% off the cover price.  Buy online securely with PayPal or send a check or money order to me and you will have a treasure-trove of picture book story suggestions and summaries, parenting tips, easy eco-friendly craft projects and simple child-friendly healthful recipes all geared towards LEARNING, BUILDING A POSITIVE SELF-IMAGE and HAVING FUN!

Blogger Awards and Some Random Thoughts About Me

Wow!  Three blogger awards from Elizabeth at Mirth and Motivation…thank you so much…she is an inspiration to all who read her posts and connect with her.  If I were marooned on a desert island and could only read the posts of one blogger, hers would be the one!

According to Elizabeth, I’m supposed to list seven random things about myself, so here goes. 🙂

1.   I’m really careful about what I eat during the day, but in the evening, I reward myself with a mini ice-cream sundae and then a BIG bowl of air-popped popcorn.

2.   I love the sound of the washing machine, dryer and dishwasher all going at the same time…my husband HATES the noise, but for me it says, “Stuff is getting done!”

3.   When my children were young and wanted to give me flowers as a gift but they had no money to spend, I would go to the store with them and have them point out the bunch of flowers they would choose.  I would go over and smell them.   Then I would hug and kiss the kids and tell them, “Thank you, I love them.”

4.   I’m not good at going places I’ve never been…I have to print out the directions on MapQuest…both going there and coming back…otherwise I will probably get lost.

5.   When I was a child, I would go to the library and take out so many books, you could hardly see me behind the stack of books as I walked home.  I would read them one after another and then go back and get more.  I guess I haven’t changed. 🙂

6.   I was a very fussy eater when I was young…when my family would go to the Chinese restaurant, it cost my parents 25 cents for my empty plate on which I piled white rice and crispy noodles.

7.   I’d rather make several right turns and go out of my way a bit to avoid making a left where there is lots of on-coming traffic and no light.

So, there are seven random things about myself…hope you enjoyed them.  Did you laugh at some…or roll your eyes…or perhaps nod your head in agreement or recognition.  Do let me know. 🙂

Is It Too Early To Begin Planning For The New School Year?

Group of children in a primary school in ParisImage via Wikipedia

I know that summer has just begun.  Many of us are thinking of poolside parties and frozen pops and Fourth of July parades.

But if your child is starting school in August, or if there were problems adjusting to the classroom routine last year, it’s not too early to think about how you can insure a smooth transition from home to school.  This holds true for older children as well as for those of preschool age.

What can parents do during the summer to prepare for the new school year?

1.    Have an upbeat, matter-of-fact, positive attitude about school.

2.    If your child has not been there yet, arrange for a visit before school starts.

3.    Connect with parents of other children in the class and have play dates with your child’s classmates…children feel more at ease when they see friendly faces in the classroom.

4.    If you don’t have a routine in place for bedtime and getting-ready-for-the-day-in-the-morning time, put them in place now.  Make it a habit to discuss plans for the next day in the evening and lay out clothes and anything else needed the night before.  When school starts, your child will be used to getting things ready and you won’t have that last minute rush in the morning to find the missing shoe or backpack.  Regarding bedtime, please make sure you are allowing plenty of time for your child to get ready (brush teeth, wash, lay out clothes and necessary items, story-time, etc.) and still be getting to bed at a reasonable hour.  I know that it is tempting to let young children stay up later, especially in the summer, but when school starts, it will be a difficult habit to break…and young children need more than 10 hours of sleep at night.

5.    Make sure your child is eating a good breakfast in the morning…when school starts, this will be even more important.  And what is a good breakfast?  My younger son loved pizza for breakfast.  Some children might prefer eggs and toast, cereal with fruit and milk, French toast and bacon or pancakes with fruit toppings.  How about peanut butter and banana on whole wheat bread for a highly nutritious breakfast?

Do you have some super breakfast menus that your children love?  Please share!  We all need fresh ideas.

Many times, children who are fussy eaters become better eaters when you let them help out in the kitchen.  If you are looking for some easy child-friendly recipes, Show Me How! has one hundred of them and teams each cooking activity with a picture book suggestion and an easy eco-friendly arts and crafts project.  Head on over to my website to take advantage of the Jump Into Summer Special…50% off the cover price.  The book makes a great gift for any parent, grandparent, expectant parent, babysitter, nanny, daycare provider, preschool teacher…and there is an additional discount if you buy two copies…only $20 per copy!  You will be getting two copies for less than the cover price of one!  And, if you order by June 30th, we are including a bonus sheet of self-stick gold stars that can be used on goal charts and more! 

Studies show that the quality time you spend with your young children now has a positive impact on their school performance in later years.  This is a great opportunity to get a wonderful resource you can use on a daily basis, year after year.  Show Me Howis an award-winning book endorsed by parents, teachers and national organizations such as the JDRF.  To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.  This is a book that makes it easy and fun to be in your children’s lives today!  It is the ONLY book you will need to buy to plan educational, self-esteem building activities for your preschoolers.  Don’t put it off until tomorrow!

A Father’s Day Tribute to the Fathers I Have Known

 To my own father: We both loved Saturday mornings when we watched TV together…Tarzan and Ramar of the Jungle.  Walking to the little grocery store on Sunday to buy Thomas’ English muffins to have with breakfast…you always bought me a Charlotte Russe…if I close my eyes now, I can see the mound of whipped cream topped with a cherry.  Going to the park across the street with you and my best friend, Jane, and her father…eagerly running ahead to grab swings next to each other so both proud papas could push us so high, we were almost parallel with the top bar.   And bowling together as a father/daughter team when I was in college…winning the little trophy that was awarded to the highest scorers…we were both so proud!

To my husband: You were always there for all three of our children, especially when they were troubled…or in trouble.  You never scolded at those times…you supported them 100% and let them know that you loved them.  You encouraged them to follow their dreams and worked hard to provide for them.   When our oldest son was a toddler, you took a second job to supplement your teacher’s income…after working all day­; you had a hurried dinner and then worked at a convenience store till midnight.  When you had your first heart attack at age 36, our three children were all under 10 years old and I know you thought you would never live to see them grow up.  But you persevered and, even though you had your third heart attack a month before our daughter’s wedding, you flew half-way across the country so you could walk her down the aisle and give her away.   I know how proud you were then…that was in 2002…and last week you gave her son his first fishing lesson.

To my oldest son: As a SAHD, you constantly impress me with your loving yet firm approach to parenting.  Your twins are almost six years old already and you’ve supported them in their varied interests in every stage of their development.  They are bright, loving, caring and funny and a joy to be with and I am proud of the father that you are to them.

To my son-in-law: There is a lot of talk about being a “hands-on” parent…we expect it of moms…but often dads are busy with work and they don’t care to spend their spare time with their little ones.  You have been there as an equal partner raising your son…what a team you and our daughter make!  Jeremy has a wonderful role model in you…you are a wonderful father and the bond you are establishing now will last a life-time!

The past two Saturdays, I’ve met quite a few fathers…last week at the PBS Kids Fun Fest in Acacia Park and yesterday at Monument’s Summer Soul-Stice.  I’ve been really impressed with how many dads accompany their families…after all, they could be home watching a ball game or taking a nap. 🙂

Seriously though, to be in your child’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.  Dads and moms strengthen the parent-child connection when they spend “quality” time with their little ones. 

I hope you’ll visit my website and check out Show Me How!  It’s really a great book for families who are looking for things to do with their kids.

  • It’s an activity book…100 simple craft projects, 100 easy recipes, 100 picture book suggestions and summaries.
  • It’s a memory book…every other page has a lined area where parents can record important highlights or how a book or activity helped solve a problem the child was having.
  • It’s a parenting guide…100 tips on building a positive self-image along with an hour-by-hour sample plan for your day.

You can’t get much of real value these days for $22.50…that’s a saving of 50% off the cover price.  Start your summer off with a plan of activities…the school bells will be ringing before you know it.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – Colorado Springs PBS Kids Fun Fest at Acacia Park

Hundreds of happy children and their parents turned out for the Southern Colorado Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest on Saturday, June 11th at Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs. 

With music and entertainment on the bandstand and Clifford the Big Red Dog and Curious George in costume, Acacia Park came alive.  It was also the official opening of the Uncle Wilbur Fountain that many children enjoy during the hot summer days.

I was thrilled to be partnering with PBS and even before the event got underway, early visitors stopped by to check out the SHOW ME HOW table.  Almost 70 parents filled out an entry for the free craft supply kit…and the winner is…Dawn!!!  I’ll be emailing her today to let her know she is the lucky winner!

Many of the participants at the Fun Fest offered activities for the children…at the Show Me How! table, we were crafting Curious George paper plate faces and Clifford the Big Red Dog headbands with doggy ears.  Easy enough for a very young child to do and so much fun…using inexpensive materials that parents already have around the house…paper, crayons or markers, a paper plate, scissors and glue.  Hundreds of happy children walked away proudly wearing their Clifford headbands and waving their Curious George paper plate faces.

It was amazing to see how much the children enjoyed these simple art activities.  Even though my book is geared for children ages 2 to 5, many of the older children sat down and eagerly began decorating their headbands or paper plate faces.  Just because the headband was for Clifford the Big Red Dog didn’t mean that the children had to color it red.  In fact, there were many rainbow headbands and others with detailed designs.  One child decided that his Curious George paper plate face needed to be a frog instead of a monkey and so he used green markers to color it in.  Hurray for the uniqueness of every child!!!!

I was so happy to see the parents participating with their children because that’s what Show Me How!  Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking is all about!  The book is a road map for parents and teachers…open it to any page and you will find a picture book suggestion with summary and a simple craft project and an easy recipe.

Are you overwhelmed and tired at the end of the day?  I know I was when my children were small.  I would have loved to have a resource like Show Me How!  In fact, that’s why I wrote the book, because I realized that many parents have so much on their plate these days, they often don’t have the time or the energy to plan fun-filled educational self-esteem-building activities for their little ones.

Please head over to my website where you can purchase a copy of this amazing award-winning book for only $22.50…that’s a 50% saving off the cover price!  You can’t get much for under $25 these days when it comes to gifts and Father’s Day is right around the corner.   Chris Singer @bookdads is doing a tribute to fathers and I did a guest post  on his blog.  You’ll have fresh ideas for the whole summer and beyond!  And here’s a BONUS:  if you purchase a copy from my website during the next 14 days, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free craft supply kit for your preschooler…safety scissors, glue stick, construction paper, and more!

I’d also like to remind anyone who is local to the Colorado Springs/Monument Colorado area that next Saturday, June 18th from 11am to 2pm there will be a town-wide festival for children called the Summer Soul-Stice.  I’ll be at the Covered Treasures Bookstore, crafting with children.  There was an announcement in the Denver Post and other local papers about it…so I’m hoping there will be a big turnout!  Please stop by and say hello.

The Best of the Best: Indie Excellence In Books Awards

They say good things come in threes.

The first good thing: I just had the best four days with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson.  Spending “quality” time with a two and a half year-old is such fun.  We planted flowers, went fishing in one of Colorado’s most beautiful areas, played with puzzles, read stories, made teddy-bear pancakes and crafted a Clifford the Big Red Dog paper plate…one of the crafts I will be doing with the children at the PBS Kids Fun Fest at Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs on Saturday from 10am to 2pm.  And that’s the second good thing: I’m really excited to be part of this great PBS event and I hope everyone who is local to Colorado Springs will stop by and say hello at the Show Me How! booth.

The third good thing: I wanted to share a recent press release from the Indie Excellence in Books Awards.  Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking was a finalist in the Parenting/Family category!

                                                                                        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: MoneyPenny Press, Ltd.



Vivian Kirkfield Honored by National Indie Excellence Awards

Contest recognizes outstanding independently published books

Show Me How! Captures Parenting/Family Finalist Award

Colorado Springs, CO – SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING by Vivian Kirkfield has been selected as a Finalist of the 2011 Indie Excellence Award in the Parenting category.

The Indie Excellence Awards are reserved for the “best of the best” in books published in various genres. The criteria for recognition are stringent and include overall excellence in presentation. This award celebrates the highest achievements in independent press and self-publishing.

Winners and finalists were announced on Sunday, May 15. For a complete list of the honorees visit:

SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING, a unique resource for busy parents and teachers of preschoolers, pinpoints 100 picture books every young child should hear and provides a story summary, parenting tip, eco-friendly craft project and child-friendly recipe for each recommended title.  Parents gain confidence in their own parenting abilities as they help their children build self-esteem, develop pre-literacy skills and create a life-long parent-child bond using the simple fun-filled activities.

Kirkfield, a kindergarten and Head Start teacher for many years, developed a program that uses picture books to help young children deal with the many challenges they face.  Her Show-Me-How Story-time presentations entertain and educate local school children and she speaks to mom groups and teacher organizations about building self-esteem with positive parental participation and picture books.  Endorsed by educators and self-esteem experts, Show Me How! has also won the coveted Kidlutions Preferred Product Award.


Why not head over to my website: and buy a copy of this unique resource during the Jump Into Summer Sale.  For only $22.50 which is 50% off the cover price, you will not be wondering what to do with your preschooler this summer…simple fun-filled activities galore…inexpensive and educational entertainment for the entire family!




Can You Take a Young Child Fishing and Hiking?

Our 2½ year-old grandson has been visiting us.

We’ve had so much fun together…reading, crafting and cooking using the suggestions from my book, of course!

But one of the best activities during the last few days was when we went to Eleven Mile Canyon near Lake George, Colorado

My husband is an avid fly-fisherman…and wanted to give Jeremy his first fishing experience.  Armed with a scaled down size spinning rod and reel, Jeremy was put in the competent hands of his grandfather.  What an awesome time they had together.  Jeremy was excited about everything…except for the worms which wiggled too much!

When Jeremy was ready for a break…so that his mom and dad could have a chance to wet the line…he was more than happy to sit on the grass and make dry grass bouquets.

The outdoors is an amazing place for children.  With a little preparation and care (hat and sunscreen, water to stay hydrated, etc.) they can have a wonderful time while learning how to preserve and protect our precious planet.

For those of you who are local to Colorado Springs, please don’t forget about a great FREE event this coming Saturday…Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest at Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs from 10am to 2pm.  There will be entertainment and so many activities for children.  Please stop by the Show Me How! table and say hello!  If you bring your kids, they can craft a Clifford the Big Red Dog or Curious George paper plate.