Perfect Picture Book Friday: Take a Kiss to School

 

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children.

A couple of quick notes:

1.      The Show-Me-How School Initiative is still looking for A FEW GOOD SCHOOLS.  Please leave a comment on this post, telling which school or other child-care facility you would like to nominate to receive a free copy of Show Me How!

2.      Heather Newman, fellow 12x12er and PPBF participant, did a lovely review of my book on her blog.  If you haven’t read it yet, just click on this link.  My sincere thanks to her for the wonderful things she said…and also for posting the review on Amazon.  I’m really grateful to her for adding the review to the Show Me How Amazon site because I’ve recently read that getting reviews on Amazon is very good for a book that is being sold there.  I believe I read that 25 or more reviews really help book sales.  Over the last two years, several dozen people have reviewed the book…but I never thought to ask them to post the review on Amazon…if anyone did review the book and would like to add that review to Amazon, I would be most appreciative.  If anyone would like to review the book, let me know and I will be happy to send you a copy.

3.      Fall is definitely in the air and I’m so very excited because I’ve joined, not one, but TWO critique groups…one with local SCBWI members (we will meet once a month in person to exchange picture book manuscripts and chat about our progress on the road to publication)…and one with four other members of Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 group (the first manuscript exchange will be September 17…but NOT in person…as we are spread out all over the world…which is, in itself, a miracle).  I’m looking forward to living my dream:

Picture books to read and write

Morning, noon and through the night.

 

And now, since you’ve been incredibly patient…and since it IS Perfect Picture Book Friday…I present:

TAKE A KISS TO SCHOOL

 

Written by Angela McAllister

Illustrated by Sue Hellard

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (2006)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Separation anxiety, overcoming fears, helping others

Synopsis:  

Although Digby, a little otter, has fun during his first day of school, he is reluctant to go again.  He tells his mother that there are so many things to remember (where to hang his coat, how to line up, etc.) and he is afraid he will forget some of them and be embarrassed.  Digby’s mother solves the problem by filling her hands with kisses and putting the kisses in her son’s jacket pocket.  During the day, whenever Digby feels uncomfortable or scared, he takes out one of the kisses and presses it to his cheek.  Helping another student who is even more hesitant than he is enables Digby to forget his own fears…and Digby finds he is looking forward to the next school day.

Why do I like this book

Many of us are anxious about having new experiences, going to new places and meeting new people.  This is a lovely story that will comfort many young children who are anxious about school.  Coping with and overcoming separation anxiety is a big step in a child’s emotional development and parents need to be sensitive and non-judgmental about a child’s fears.  The illustrations convey little Digby’s feelings and will help young listeners relate their real life experiences to his…creating a perfect opportunity for the young listener to voice his own fears.

Related Activities:

For many children, the first weeks of school may be difficult because they don’t like eating “different” foods.  Here is a fun craft activity that might help.

FOOD MOBILE

Illustration from Enchanted Learning

You will need: Construction paper, markers or crayons, old magazines with pictures of food, scissors, glue, string or yarn and a wire hanger.

1.      Talk about the different food groups and why we need to eat some from each group every day.

2.      Look through the magazine and cut out pictures of foods.

3.      Paste each picture onto construction paper and cut out.

4.      Punch a hole at the top of each picture and tie a piece of string through the hole.

5.      Attach the end of the string to the wire hanger.

6.      Repeat for several pictures.

7.      Hang up and watch the foods wave in the breeze.

PITA POCKET SANDWICHES

In the story, Digby’s mom puts kisses in his jacket pocket.  You and your child can make a lovely picnic lunch using Pita Pockets.  Fill with your choice of chicken or tuna salad…or perhaps the always popular peanut butter and jelly.  Inviting your child to help prepare meals in the kitchen is a wonderful way to encourage a fussy eater to try new items.

Great lesson plans, games and activities from Kinderplans: https://www.kinderplans.com/p/26/nutrition-preschool-kindergarten

Crafts with and about food from eHow: http://www.ehow.com/info-tip_8098469_crafts-food-groups.html

Lots of different mobiles from Enchanted Learning: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/mobiles/

 

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.   This is an unbelievable resource for any parent, teacher or children’s librarian.

Sunday Post: Close-Up: Simple Tips for First Day of School Anxiety

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is CLOSE-UP.

I know I’ve used this photo before…but it personifies “CLOSE-UP” perfectly.

Do you practice attached parenting?  Are you a helicopter mom?  Have you encouraged your child’s independence?

No matter what type of parent you are, you may be experiencing some anxiety as you send your child off for the first day of school.

Many children also have concerns about school.  Will they like the teacher?  Will the other kids be nice?  Will they find their way around the maze of hallways and classrooms? (I get lost when I do school visits)  Will they ever see you again?

Here are five simple steps that will make the transition from home to school smoother.

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.

5.    Make sure your child is eating a good breakfast in the morning…when school starts, this will be even more important.  My younger son loved pizza.  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?

 

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 simple child-friendly recipes, Show Me How! has one hundred of them and teams each cooking activity with a picture book suggestion and a quick and easy eco-friendly arts and crafts project.  You can order a copy on my website at less than 50% of the cover price.  The book is available for shipment to Canadian residents also!

Studies show that the quality time you spend with your young children now has a positive impact on their school performance.  This is a great opportunity to get a wonderful resource you can use on a daily basis, year after year.  Show Me How is 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!  Don’t put it off until tomorrow!

Another thing not to put off until tomorrow: if you’d like to nominate your child’s school or other childcare facility in the Show Me How School Initiative, please don’t forget to leave a comment with the school’s name.  If you don’t have young children, but know people who do, tell them about the free book their child’s school can receive!

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

And here are some other bloggers who are doing Jake’s Sunday Post…click on a link and travel around the world:

http://p0nky.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/sunday-post-close-up/

http://blueberriejournal.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/close-up-2/

http://cyclingrandma.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/cheese-less-pesto/

http://drieskewrites.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/sunday-post-close-up/

http://bodhisattvaintraining.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/sunday-post-close-up/

http://perceptionsofareluctanthomemaker.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/jakes-sunday-post-close-up/

http://inspirationimport.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/my-mothers-eyes-close-up/

Related Posts:

http://tracycampbellwriter.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/week-6-summer-short-sweet-challenge-have-you-been-bullied/

http://spanishpinaynanay.blogspot.com/2012/04/show-me-how-book-attached-parent-will.html

Are You Ready To Say Goodbye?

 In some districts, the school bells are already ringing.  Stores are crowded with parents and children, shopping for the perfect backpack and outfit for the first day of class.  Teachers are busy setting up classrooms and studying the curriculum for the new school year.

In my next few posts, I’ll been sharing thoughts about how to transition a child from home to school and how to have the healthiest school year ever.

But children are not the only ones who may be anxious about the first day of school.  Many parents have concerns about their children attending school and the concerns can mushroom as the children get older.  Perhaps that is why homeschooling has become a popular option in recent years.  According to an article in USA Today (1/2009) based on a government survey, homeschooling increased 74% from 1999 to 2007.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-01-04-homeschooling_N.htm

What are some of the top fears and concerns parents may have about sending their children off to their first day of school?

  1. The child may be bullied or hurt by other children.
  2. The child may be made fun of because of his name, appearance, or style of speech or clothing.
  3. The teacher may not be structured enough or may be too structured or may not understand the child or may not be attentive enough to the child.
  4. There may be unsafe conditions at the school.
  5. The child may be in an accident traveling to or from school whether he walks, takes the bus or is driven by the parent or another adult.
  6. The child may hear things or be taught things that are not acceptable in the home.
  7. The child may be afraid or too shy to speak up for herself (to ask to use the bathroom or if she needs something).
  8. The child may not “fit” in.
  9. The child may reveal family secrets or personal information.
  10.  The parent may miss the child.

In my next post, I’ll give some simple steps parents can take to address many of these concerns which may alleviate some of the parental anxiety associated with sending kids off to school.

THE SHOW ME HOW SCHOOL INITIATIVE IS LOOKING FOR NOMINATIONS

 If you know of a school or classroom that would benefit from having an award-winning resource of picture book recommendations and correlated activities that build self-esteem and develop stronger literacy skills, please leave a comment on any post in August or September. 

 

At the end of September, we will be donating a dozen copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking to schools and classrooms across the country.

If you don’t want your favorite teacher to have to wait or you’d like to have a copy of your own (great for homeschooling families or parents who want quick and easy fun-filled educational activities), you can order a copy at a saving of over 50% off the cover price, right here: Amazon or My Website

It’s not too early to be thinking of great Christmas gifts for teachers, moms, expectant parents, daycare providers, babysitters, grandparents, nannies…virtually anyone who is involved in the care and education of young children.  Where can you get an eco-friendly gift that keeps on entertaining…no batteries required, powered by a child’s imagination?  Only $19.95…personally inscribed (just let us know what you would like it to say) and signed by the author.  Order now and avoid the last-minute Christmas rush!

Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian Travels to Chicago

Downtown from the lakefront, Chicago, IL, USA

Frank Sinatra sang songs about many of the cities that he loved…New York – San Francisco – Chicago.

After a fantastic long weekend in Chicago, I’ll have to echo some of his words (written by Sammy Kahn and Jimmy Van Heusen):

Chicago is one town

That won’t let you down

It’s my kind of town.

I arrived on Friday morning and spent the day relaxing with my son and daughter-in-law at their home.  Visiting with them is like going to a spa…they LOVE to cook “healthy” and every morning they start the day with a bowl of fresh fruit…mangoes, papayas, bananas, apples, peaches…drizzled with a little honey.  For lunch each day, my son made a huge vegetable salad bowl for each of us…cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, mushrooms…all topped with some capers and a splash of aged blueberry balsamic   vinegar.

My book event, Starting School Jitters Be Gone, on Saturday at Lollie, a children’s boutique in Evanston, just 20 minutes north of downtown Chicago, was so much fun!  This shop is an amazing place…filled with many handmade and locally designed clothes and accessories, as well as other unique items for infants, toddlers and children.  The owner is knowledgeable, helpful and a really lovely lady…I know if I lived in the Chicago area, I’d stop in there for any new baby gifts I needed, as well as for birthday and Christmas presents for any little ones on my list.

Of course, Mother Nature had her own plans for 11am, the time the first presentation was to start.  The skies over the entire Chicago area darkened, and the heavens poured forth a torrential rainstorm, accompanied by huge claps of thunder and crackling flashes of lightening. 

Inside Lollie, however, everything was bright and cheery.  A group of young children listened attentively as I read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.  As the story about Chester unfolded, the children heard how the little raccoon, anxious about his first day of kindergarten, learned a secret from his mother that helped him overcome his fear and go to school with eager anticipation. 

After the story reached its happy conclusion, I showed the children a sample of the craft project and explained how we would all be making “Kissing Handprints”…deciding who we loved and who loved us and then drawing in the features for each person (or pet or stuffed animal) on each finger.

Parents and children clustered around the craft table and we proceeded to draw an outline of each child’s hands.  The hum of happy children, busily engaged in a constructive activity with their parents, is definitely music to my ears.  “This finger is going to be my mommy” said one little girl.  “And those are my dogs” she added.

The storm had ended by the time the second presentation was over.  My son and daughter-in-law, who had brought me and had assisted during the program, helped me pack everything up.  I’m looking forward to my next trip to Chicago…Lollie’s owner has invited me to come back to do another program, whenever I’m in town.  Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking is available at the shop for those of you who are in the Chicago area.

The next few days were filled with family visits, an afternoon at the beach – unbelievable to have a REAL sandy beach with what looks and smells like the ocean (it’s really Lake Michigan) right across the street from the downtown area of a major city – and an architectural river boat cruise.  It was difficult to leave…I’m already looking at my calendar to see when my next jaunt to Chicago will be.

My next post will be a review of a children’s book, A Reel Cool Summer, written by Martha Rodriguez.  We connected online and she loved my book and did a great review of it.  I brought her book on my trip and was able to share it with my great-niece and great-nephew…they absolutely loved it and were totally engaged in the story…so  in my next post, it will be my turn to tell everyone why they need to run out and get a copy of Ms. Rodriguez’ fun-filled book for children ages 6-9.

Photo credit: Thanks to JCrocker for the Chicago skyline pic.

Starting School Jitters Be Gone!

COLORADO SPRINGS PARENTS/GRANDPARENTS/TEACHERS OF PRESCHOOLERS

SAVE THE DATE

STARTING SCHOOL JITTERS BE GONE!

THE SHOW-ME-HOW STORY-TIME PROGRAM

Saturday, August 6th

THERE WILL BE TWO IDENTICAL PRESENTATIONS

11:30am to 12noon and 12:30pm to 1pm

Family Christian Bookstore: 7560 N. Academy, Colorado Springs, CO

  • Bring your young children and listen to a story
  • Help your child make a simple craft project
  • Get a free flyer: 5 simple steps to a smoother school year
  • Enter to win free preschool craft supplies

 

Local author, Vivian Kirkfield, is a former kindergarten and Head Start teacher and mom of three. Her award-winning parenting book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, is a wonderful resource of story suggestions and educational fun-filled activities for preschoolers – a true shortcut for busy parents and teachers.

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

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 education.com 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 Education.com.  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: http://www.education.com/activities-challenge/.   Then they just need to complete at least 5 Education.com 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!

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!