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!

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

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.

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!

Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest: That’s Where Miss Vivian Will Be!

Mrs. Laura Bush poses with children and Cliffo...

Image via Wikipedia

Last week was my last Show-Me-How Story-time presentation for this school year.

I wasn’t sure if I would have anything to tell you about in the upcoming weeks on Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian.

But I guess I had nothing to be concerned about. 🙂

Yesterday I met with the head of the District 11 Volunteer Program to go over our plans for the Show-Me-How Story-time presentations for the new school year (which will be here before we know it considering how quickly time is passing).

The response from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive…I know I will be even busier come August and September as the flyer with four new stories and crafts is distributed to all of the kindergarten and Pre-K teachers in District 11 schools.  We decided that these picture books will focus on end of summer and fall themes and I am excited to look through Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking to choose four classic picture books and appropriate craft projects that will be enjoyed by all of the children.

We also discussed my connecting with the PTA to offer them presentations for parents and teachers…Positive Parental Participation is a powerful approach that builds a child’s self-esteem and creates a life-long parent-child bond.  I hope to be involved in school book fairs this coming year as well.

When I got home from the meeting, I went online and noticed that there is going to be an awesome local event next month, sponsored by Rocky Mountain PBS Kids and Pikes Peak Parent.  The Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest will take place at Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs on Saturday, June 11 from 10am – 2pm.

I called PBS and was able to secure a spot for SHOW ME HOW!  I’ll be reading and crafting with children (WHAT FUN!) and look forward to being a part of this fun-filled day.  Here’s a copy of the information from PBS Kids’ Facebook Page:

Join us for the Southern Colorado Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest – a fantastic FREE festival for kids and families. (Also, the opening day of the Uncle Wilber Fountain)

Meet Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog; splash in Uncle Wilber Fountain; enjoy live entertainment throughout the day under the band shell; and visit over 20 booths to learn, engage and have fun!

Participants include:

Show Me How! Vivian Kirkfield
Falcon Landing Dental Group
Pikes Peak Library District
Pikes Peak YMCA, Downtown Branch
Girl Scouts of Colorado
Care and Share Food Bank
Imagination Celebration
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Manitou Art Theatre
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Chick-fil-A of Colorado Springs
Western Museum of Mining and Industry
Barnes & Noble
Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale
Marmalade at Smokebrush
Sports Climbing Center of Colorado Springs
FutureSelf
Al Kaly Shriners
Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region
Phonics Phantasy Tree House
Mr. E and the Magic of Kyle Groves
Wee Bee and the Smilez
Wells Fargo Bank
And more!

Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest is sponsored by Sylvan Learning Center (2340 Vickers Drive), PikesPeakParent.com, Whole Foods Market and the Friends of the Uncle Wilber Fountain.

They are anticipating a wonderful audience for this opening-of-the-summer-season event…I hope parents who are local (Colorado Springs, Denver, Pueblo and surrounding towns) will come out to participate with their children!  It will be a great place for preschool teachers and daycare providers to get fresh ideas as well.


Also,the week after the Fun Fest, on June 18th, I’ll be in Monument, CO participating in the Summer Soul-stice town-wide crafting event for children.  If you are in the area, I hope you will stop by at the Covered Treasures Bookstore from 11am – 1pm.  I’ll be doing several craft activities with all of the children who come by.  What a lovely way to spend a summer day in Monument.

What’s happening in your local area in the next few months?  With gas prices expanding and budgets shrinking, parents and other caregivers of young children really need to be inventive in order to provide great activities that keep kids busy, happy and constructively engaged.  Simple arts and crafts activities are a low-cost perennial favorite and whipping up child-friendly recipes with your children in the kitchen is fun and costs nothing…you have to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner anyway.  For hundreds of super easy and economical ideas, please check out my book.  New special offer will be posted this weekend!

AND THE WINNER IS……!

For the last five days, I’ve enjoyed reading the comments left by bloggers who have been entering the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop on my site. 

I’ve tried to visit all of their blogs…there are so many wonderful people out there, writing about their experiences and sharing their triumphs and tragedies.  This was a wonderful way to connect.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered, left comments and spread the word about this great resource for parents and teachers of preschoolers.

And the winner of the free copy of SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING is…

Phrogmom

The winner was chosen by Random.org  True Number Generator and I’ll be emailing her right away to let her know the good news. 

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please go to my website.

I’m offering a SPECIAL $10 REBATE for anyone who entered the giveaway and wants to purchase the book.

Please stop by tomorrow for What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday.

What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday: Show Me How! Giveaway and the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop!

A HOPPY EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA BLOG HOP

APRIL 20 – APRIL 25

THIS IS A MEGA-GIVEAWAY BLOG HOP HOSTED BY:

I AM A READER NOT A WRITER AND ONCE UPON A TWILIGHT

THERE WILL BE ONE COPY OF SHOW ME HOW! IN MY GIVEAWAY (USA ONLY)

MANDATORY ENTRY: YOU MUST SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG BY CLICKING ON “EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS” AND ALSO LEAVE A COMMENT

IN THE COMMENT FIELD

THERE ARE OVER 250 BLOGS PARTICIPATING IN THIS GIVEAWAY HOP

YOU CAN CLICK ON THIS LINK AND IT WILL GIVE YOU THE LINKY LIST

http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/p/giveaway-hop-page.html

SO NOW I WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT THE BOOK AND WHY YOU MIGHT WANT TO WIN THE COPY!

My passion for children’s picture books began over fifty years ago.  As I sat on my mother’s lap and helped her turn the pages of The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, a new and exciting world was revealed to me.

As a kindergarten and Head Start teacher, I developed a program that used picture books, not only for entertainment and enjoyment, but also to help young children deal with the challenges they face in those early years.

During my years as a daycare provider and mother of three, I continued reading picture book stories to the children on a daily basis, and I added crafting and cooking activities to enhance and enrich their learning experience.

I found that reading, crafting and cooking with young children helped build their self-esteem.  These activities also developed their pre-literacy skills and each child entered kindergarten ready to read, if not reading already.  Best of all, my positive interaction created a life-long parent-child bond.

So, I decided to share the stories, the crafts and the recipes and I wrote a book all about them.

SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING, is for parents, grandparents, teachers, daycare providers…basically anyone who is involved in the care and education of young children. 

  • It pinpoints 100 picture book stories every young child should hear.
  • It offers a story summary and a gentle parenting tip for each recommended title.
  • It provides a simple eco-friendly arts and crafts project that ties in with each story.
  • It gives an easy healthful child-friendly recipe for each suggested picture book.

Believe me, I know how overwhelming parenting can be…and that’s why I wrote the book!  It’s really a fantastic resource for busy parents and teachers who need a shortcut to educational, fun-filled, self-esteem building activities.  I found that when children are provided with these types of activities on a daily basis, there is balance and harmony and PEACE in the home.

Now, some of you might be saying, “I have too much to do already.  How will I find the time to do those activities?” 

Just 15 minutes is all it takes to read a picture book story.

Just 15 minutes is all it takes to do the simple craft.

Just 15 minutes is all it takes to prepare most of the easy recipes.

There is also a neat schedule at the end of the book that would be perfect for someone who is homeschooling their children or even for a daycare provider who is looking for some time-management tips.

The book has been endorsed by parents, educators, self-esteem experts and picture book authors.  Everyone who picks it up says that it is magical.  Everyone who reads it loves it.  It’s been reviewed on more than a dozen mom and dad blogs…and they have all recommended it.  Several posted pictures of their own children engaged in the some of the craft projects. 

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has also recommended that all of their chapter headquarters, in cities across the country, purchase it to keep on hand as a resource for the families they help.  I donate a portion of the proceeds of each book sale to JDRF.  The sales of my book also benefit a mobile children’s literacy outreach organization, www.Bessthebookbus.org.   

So, if you don’t win the copy in this giveaway, maybe you’ll want to purchase it on my website and you will be helping both of these worthwhile causes.  You’ll also be guaranteeing that you won’t run out of ideas of what to do with your little ones in the coming months.  And, if you don’t have little ones, remember Mother’s Day is just around the corner…this would be a great gift idea for any mothers or grandmothers or mothers-to-be that you know.  If you do have little ones, perhaps your child’s daycare provider or nursery school teacher could use some fresh ideas.  And don’t forget about graduation…if you know anyone who is receiving a degree in Early Childhood Education, the book will be a perfect resource for them as they go out to work with young children.

Last month, I visited my daughter in New Hampshire and was able to read, craft and cook with my 2½ year old grandson.  I can guarantee that the book REALLY WORKS!  The Show-Me-How Story-time Program has also been implemented in some of the schools in my city and, if you’ve read my “Follow-Me-Friday: Where’s Miss Vivian?” posts, you’ll know how much fun the children are having when I visit the Pre-K’s and kindergartens to read picture books and do craft projects.

Right now you have an opportunity to win the FREE COPY that I am offering as part of the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop.  To be entered in this giveaway, there are three things you can do.  The giveaway begins at 12:01am Wednesday, April 20th and ends Monday, April 25th at 11:59pm.

1.     Mandatory entry: subscribe to my blog…there is a place on the left sidebar to do that…leave a comment to let me know. (If you already subscribe, please leave a comment to let me know that also.)

3.     Post my giveaway on twitter or facebook.  Please leave a comment to let me know.

4.     Blog about my book giveaway on your blog.  Again, please leave a comment and your blog address.

No matter how you enter, please make sure you leave your name, so that I’ll know how you entered and I will be able to contact you if you are the WINNER!

There are over 200 blogs participating in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop.  If you click on the link, you should be able to visit the other blogs and see what great stuff they are giving away!

http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/p/giveaway-hop-page.html

Have fun hopping around…and good luck!