Project 365 and the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge

Last year, bloggers on WordPress were given a challenge to write a post every day…it was called Post-a-day-2011.

This year, another daily post challenge has been issued by WordPress…Project 365.  Why not Project 366 since 2012 is a Leap Year with 366 days?  However, I guess if bloggers are able to write 365 posts in 2012, I’m sure they will consider themselves an unqualified success…I know I would.

I took part in the 2011 Post-a-day challenge and started out 2011 writing posts every day…this lasted about three months.  After that I tried to post at least twice a week…sometimes I succeeded, but other times I didn’t.  I take my hat off (or would if I wore one) to those bloggers who completed the task and made it to the end of the year, still posting every day.

For 2012, I am throwing my hat into the ring (even though, as I’ve already stated, I’m not wearing one) and will try to provide a post of value for every day.

In addition, I’m also issuing a challenge to every parent of young children.  Make 2012 a year of engagement with your child!  Read with your child every day!  Be positive and consistent!  Get back to the basics and spend time with your child doing fun-filled educational self-esteem building activities, like arts and crafts or simple cooking experiences.  Keep a journal of the picture books you read and the activities you do.  Share them here with us.

At the end of each month, there will be a prize of a picture book awarded to one family.  During the year, any parent who is participating in the challenge and wishes to buy a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking will receive an additional $5 off my website price.  I’ll set up a special PayPal button to reflect that discount.  This award-winning book is a unique resource for parents and teachers…it pinpoints 100 picture books every young child should hear and then provides a story summary, parenting tip, simple craft project and easy cooking activity for each of the recommended titles. 

 

Why should parents use Show Me How?  The author of the Angelina Ballerina series says, “Parents will find inspiration in this delightful guide to reading and planning activities with young children.”   And the creator of the Clifford the Big Red Dog series adds, “Show Me How is a wonderful resource for parents who care for their children and hope to better their reading and learning experiences.”

Parents…make this a fun-filled self-esteem building year for your child!

Join the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge!

A small investment of your time will bring a great reward for your child!

The Show Me How program requires no batteries!

The activities are powered by your child’s imagination!

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,200 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

My goal for 2012 is to post something of value for parents and children every day…a quote that inspires, a tip that might help make the day go more smoothly, an activity to be enjoyed by the whole family or a picture book review that will encourage parents to read with their children on a daily basis. 

I’m also going to be working on two writing projects.  The second book in the Positive Parental Participation series will be Show Me How! Celebrating the Holidays Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  I’ll also be involved in creating an interactive board book series that helps toddlers learn their colors, numbers and ABC’s, The Balloon Man.

Now I have a big favor to ask.  If you have a super cool holiday craft project that is quick and easy OR a child-friendly healthy simple holiday cooking activity, please visit my book website: www.positiveparentalparticipation.com and fill out the contact form.  You can win a copy of the new book if your craft project or cooking activity is chosen to appear in the book!

I’m grateful for everyone who visited Positive Parental Participation in 2011…thanks also to all who left comments and kind words.

May 2012 be filled with joy, good health and love for all of you!

Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian Travels to New Hampshire

For me, the greatest joy in the world is to be with those I love doing what I love.

So you can imagine how joyful I was this past week, spending time in New Hampshire with my daughter and her family…and visiting Toll House Preschool in Merrimack, NH where I read a picture book story and did a simple craft with my grandson’s class of three and four-year olds.

The children were seated on the floor in their story circle and as soon as Jeremy caught sight of me, he jumped up and cried, “You came to my school…you really came!”  The teacher welcomed me and ushered me to her story chair.  “What’s your name?” asked one of the children.  “I’m Miss Vivian” I answered, smiling down at their eager faces.  “I traveled here on an airplane so that I could read you a special story.”

The children sat, listening attentively, as I read Yes I Can by Sam McBratney.  They loved hearing about the three animal friends who are having fun in the autumn leaves.  When the three friends begin to argue and make fun of each other, Little Roo’s mother comes over and encourages each one to show what they do best.  Little Roo jumps VERY high, Country Mouse catches his tail and Quacker Duck floats on a puddle.  The friends compliment each other…they are learning to give respect and value their own and others qualities and strengths.

When the story was over, we talked about the different talents that each animal had and we all got up and jumped like Little Roo, turned round and round chasing our “tails” like Country Mouse and pretended we were swimming in a puddle like Quaker Duck.  This activity helped the children get a little exercise after sitting so quietly for the story.  It’s important to provide a good balance of activities for young children…if we try to keep them sitting too long, they will get restless.

The next activity for this preschool class was “centers” where the children can choose painting, clay, etc.  This was the perfect time for some of the children to work on the simple leaf family craft project I had planned.  Using leaves of different sizes and shapes, each child picked a few leaves to trace on the page.  Each shape became a member of their family as they added hair and features and colored them in.

As the children worked on their project, they told me about their families and their pets.  I’m always amazed at how verbal young children are…especially when they are relaxed and at ease…which seems to happen all the time when children are engaged in arts and crafts activities.  Parents can use this time as they participate with their children to listen and learn what is on their children’s minds. 

  

I’m sure the next time I return to New Hampshire, I’ll have the opportunity to visit with the children at Toll House Preschool again.  The teacher told me she had never seen them sit so attentively for a story before.  Although I believe in the policy of “No Rules…Just Read”, I also know that there are certain things we can do when we read a picture book to young children that will help make the experience more enjoyable and rewarding for both parent and child. 

1.    Find a comfortable place to read…child on your lap in a comfy chair or sitting side-by-side on the couch.

2.    Make sure your child can see the pictures as you read the story.

3.    Allow your child to point out things on each page and talk about them.

4.    When the story is finished, encourage your child to retell the story as you turn the pages again.

These are some of the tips I give in my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  In addition to lots of story suggestions, you’ll find a matching craft and also a cooking activity for each recommended picture book.

 

PLEASE DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY THE SIZE OF THE BOOK!  Don’t think of it as a BIG BOOK…IT’S A BOOK WITH BIG IDEAS!  Every parent and teacher who uses it says it makes planning and doing activities QUICK AND EASY!

“Kirkfield lays out a brilliant and simple program with activities that will inspire parents and teachers.”  – Diana Loomans, best-selling author of The Lovables in the Kingdom of Self-Esteem and many other books

It’s available in the original print version with lots of lined spaces on every other page for recording your child’s memorable moments.

It’s also available on Amazon’s Kindle for those of you who don’t like a bunch of books taking up space in your home.

The gift-giving holidays are quickly approaching…there’s an online special on my website that can’t be beat…it would make the perfect present for any parent, grandparent, daycare provider, nanny, babysitter, nursery or preschool or kindergarten teacher.

To see the latest review of Show Me How by Lea, a homeschooling mom, please click here.

Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian Travels to New Hampshire

What an awesome time to be traveling to New England.

I’ll be flying to New Hampshire tomorrow and I can’t wait to gaze out the window of the plane, down at the magnificient fall folliage…scarlets, magentas, golds…the tree-tops will look like a bejewled crown of a Russian tsarina. 

My grandson will be celebrating his third birthday and I am looking forward to taking long walks with him down to the pond where we love to select the perfect pebbles and toss them in.  Of course, there will be plenty of opportunity to use the Show-Me-How program…I know Jeremy will be thrilled to read lots of picture books, do simple craft projects and work together in the kitchen, preparing easy healthful recipes.

I’m also excited about this trip because I will be bringing the Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian program to the Tollhouse Preschool in Merrimack, NH.  I’ll be reading Yes We Can by Sam McBratney to the three year old preschool group and doing a leaf tracing craft project with them.  I’m coming prepared with a bag full of leaves…but I’m sure there will be plenty available on the school grounds.

Why is it so important to read to young children?  Reading to young children:

  • Builds self-esteem
  • Develops pre-literacy skills
  • Stengthens the parent-child connection
  • Allows them to relate their experiences to those in the story
  • Provides wonderful opportunities for parent-child discussions

The craft and cooking activities included in my book help extend this learning experience.  What a wonderful gift to give any parent or teacher of young children!  Please visit my website for online specials.

“Looking for a book that creates childhood magic?  This is it!

 – Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD: Clinical Director and Family Therapist

“This is a timely and timeless book that every parent and teacher will love.  It encourages children in an engaging, creative and fun format.”

Sheila Glazov: Author of What Color is Your Brain? and Princess Shayna’s Invisible Visible Gift

Autumn Leaves: A Lesson in Diversity for All of Us

 

I went for a walk today.

The sun was shining down, creating beautiful patterns on the ground as it filtered through the branches of the trees.

The trail was littered with leaves, many of them already brittle and brown.

The Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian program has begun in our local District 11 kindergartens and Pre-K’s and the craft that ties in with the picture book, Yes We Can by Sam McBratney, requires leaves that are still flexible.  I’m not sure if the teachers who are reserving dates for the program in November and December will think to put aside a bunch of fresh leaves in a plastic bag.

When you plan activities with young children, it’s always good to be prepared.  I hate to disappoint little ones.  That’s why I caution parents to check to make sure they have all the necessary ingredients or materials before they begin one of the cooking activities or craft projects recommended in my book.

As I bent down to scoop up leaves, I marveled at their varying colors, shapes and sizes.  And I began to think about how even though they were different colors and shapes and sizes, they were all leaves. 

Perhaps we can learn a lesson from this that can apply to people as well…even though we are different colors, shapes and sizes…we are all people. 

I also noticed that some of the leaves had rough patches or holes where bugs or disease had left their mark…but they were still leaves.

We need to remember that when we meet others who are mentally, academically or physically challenged, they are still people…deserving of our respect, attention and friendship.  And it is important to help young children understand this as well.

The lesson of the leaves can foster a wonderful discussion with your children.  Please let me know what you think.

If you’d like to have 100’s of activities at your fingertips like the ones I do in my program, please visit my website where you can buy a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  What a great holiday gift this would make for any parent, teacher or grandparent of children ages 2-7!  Don’t forget daycare providers, nannies, babysitters, early childhood education students and even expectant moms.  They probably have enough little outfits that their babies will outgrow within a month or two.  This award-winning book also has plenty of lined spaces on every other page for recording important highlights as your child participates with you in the story reading, craft project and cooking activity.  Joan Fleischer, co-founder of the Creative Arts Therapy Center in New York City says, “I can’t think of a more valuable gift to give at baby showers or to anyone in a position to nurture and foster self-esteem in children.”  It’s definitely a bargain at 50% off the cover price and comes with a money-back guarantee!

Children and Art Activities: Some Observations

Once a month, our local Family Christian Store hosts the Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian program.  I read a picture book story and do a related craft project, chosen from those recommended in my book.  This is the same program that I provide to District 11 kindergartens and Pre-K’s during the school year.

Yesterday, the program’s topic was: How to Stay Healthy This School Year.  I read Stan and Jan Berenstain’s, The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food.  In the story, Mama Bear realizes that the bear cubs and her husband are eating too many sweet and junky snacks.  She removes the junk food from the pantry and refrigerator and the entire family goes grocery shopping the next day where they purchase healthy foods: vegetables and fruits, whole grain breads and cereals and eggs, cheese and milk.  They go to their family doctor for a check-up and she tells them that if they want to stay in good health, in addition to eating healthy foods, they should exercise every day.  Taking the doctor’s advice, the bears begin a program of daily exercise.  At the end of the summer, they win a prize for being the only family to finish the entire Bear Country Three-Mile Run.

After the story was over, the children eagerly moved to the tables for the craft project.  Each child got a paper plate, 2 small black circles for eyes and 1 small black circle for a nose.  Although we all started out intending to make bear faces, two of the children decided to make dog faces and one child made his paper plate into a cat.  After gluing on the eyes and nose, each child used markers and crayons to add features and designs to the paper plate face.  For over an hour, the children happily worked on their projects…the only frowns I saw on these children were when parents came to say it was time to go.  Parents were able to take home an informational flyer, Five Simple Steps to Stay Healthy This School Year.

OBSERVATION #1:

If you give children art supplies and a project to work on, they will be engaged and productive and happy.

OBSERVATION #2:

If you allow children a certain amount of freedom when they are engaged in art activities, they will almost always surprise you with their creativity.

OBSERVATION #3:

Children often become very talkative when they are happily engaged in arts and crafts…this is a PERFECT time for parents to listen and interact with their children.

So, I have a few questions to ask if you are a parent or caretaker of a child age 2-7:

  • Would you like to put educational, fun-filled activities in your child’s day?
  • Do you need tips on school readiness for your child?
  • Are you time-short when it comes to planning activities for your child?
  • Do you wonder which books to choose to read to your child?
  • Would you like to have a simple plan to follow on rainy days…or any day?
  • Do you want your child to be engaged in positive learning on a daily basis?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions:

  • Purchase a copy of the award-winning Show Me How!.
  •  The low price (50% off) is only available on my website.
  • This is a perfect holiday gift for anyone who takes care of young children.
  • Schools and other organizations can receive additional discounts.

A book is a child’s window on the world…no rules, just read!

THE BOOK PINPOINTS 100 OF THE BEST PICTURE BOOK STORIES!

Children who love books step out from inside the covers and succeed in life!

THE BOOK PROVIDES 100 STORY SUMMARIES & TIPS ON HOW TO READ TO KIDS!

Art & children…peanut butter & jelly…combinations that create magic!

THE BOOK OFFERS 100 SIMPLE CRAFT PROJECTS & 100 EASY RECIPES!

We all need a cheering committee…a parent is a child’s most important fan!

THE BOOK GIVES 100 PARENTING TIPS ON BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM!

Want to be in your children’s memories tomorrow?  Be in their lives today!

THE BOOK SHOWS YOU HOW POSITIVE PARENTAL PARTICIPATION WORKS!

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by…with gift-giving holidays right around the corner, we are excited to provide Show Me How! at 50% off the cover price.  Parents, expectant parents, grandparents, preschool and nursery teachers, babysitters…this is a gift that will keep on giving long after the package is opened.  Please visit my website to purchase a copy for yourself or as a gift for someone special!   When you purchase a copy, you are helping others…a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book benefits three children’s organizations: http://www.JDRF.org, http://www.bessthebookbus.org and http://www.kidsareheroes.org.

Five Simple Steps for a Healthier School Year


 Your child is going to school.  As a parent, what can you do to make it the healthiest year ever?

Perhaps your child is a preschooler and will be attending a daycare or nursery school.  Maybe your child is already in elementary school.  Here are five simple steps that may keep your child from getting sick.

  1. Wash hands often: everyone should have their own towel…perhaps a different color for each member of the family.  This helps colds from spreading like wild-fires!
  2. Dress appropriately: when it is cold, children should be dressed warmly, with hats or hoods on their heads…no ifs, ands or buts!
  3. Get enough sleep: young children need LOTS of sleep so set up bedtime routines and stick to them.  Our body renews and cells regenerate during sleep.  Did you know that children between the ages of 2 and 5 need 11-14 hours of sleep?  For more information about sleep and young children, you can go to: http://www.sleepforkids.org/html/sheet.html.
  4. Make every meal and snack count:  a good breakfast is a MUST and snacks can provide additional important nutrition, especially for picky eaters.  For more ideas on healthy meal planning for the whole family, you can visit: http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/habits.html
  5. Keep a sick child home: I know it is difficult, especially when parents work…but your child will get better sooner and the teacher and the other children in the class will thank you.  With these tips, your children may stay healthy this school year and you won’t have to keep them home.

On September 24th, the Show-Me-How with Miss Vivian program will be at Family Christian Store, 7165 North Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO.  There will be one presentation from 12 to 12:45pm.  I’ll be reading Johnny Lion’s Bad Day to the parents and children and then we will all make Paper Plate Lions.  This program is appropriate for children from two to seven years old.  In addition, there will be a flyer for parents to take home about staying healthy this school year.  I hope we will have a good turn-out…please spread the word and tweet this and post to Facebook…maybe some of your followers are local to Colorado Springs.

SAVE THE DATE

STAYING HEALTHY

THIS SCHOOL YEAR!

SHOW-ME-HOW STORY-TIME PROGRAM

Saturday, September 24, 2011

12 to 12:45pm

Family Christian Store: 7165 N. Academy

719-598-1500 to RSVP

  • Bring your young children and listen to a story
  • Help your child make a simple craft project
  • Get a free flyer: Have a Healthier School Year

Vivian Kirkfield is a local author, former kindergarten and Head Start teacher and mom of three. Her parenting program and award-winning activity book for ages 2-7, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, has helped thousands of parents build self-esteem, develop pre-literacy skills and create a stronger parent-child connection.

For more information: 719-237-3111 or vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com