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

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

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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!

Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?

Hugo Oehmichen Im Kindergarten

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They say you can’t go back.

What do you think?

I remember walking into P.S. 199 as a student teacher.  I had attended this elementary school as a ten-year old sixth grader…now I was 20 years old and a senior in college, pursuing my early childhood education degree.  How small the double wooden entrance doors looked now!  How tiny the seats in the classroom seemed!

It didn’t seem to be the same school that I had stored away in my memory banks.

Since January, I’ve been presenting the SHOW-ME-HOW Story-time Reading and Crafting Program to District 11 kindergartens and Pre-K’s.  It is really great to be back in the classroom, interacting with students and teachers and parents.

But today’s kindergartens don’t seem to be the same as those stored away in my memory banks.

Why do I say that?

  • When I was teaching kindergarten (back in the 60’s and 70’s), the children learned through play and there was very little “formal” instruction.  In today’s kindergartens, I see a lot of “formal” teaching of reading and writing…not just the ABC’s.
  • When I was teaching, kindergarten was a preparation for first grade.  In today’s kindergartens, there seems to be an expectation that the children will be reading and writing by the time they enter first grade.
  • When I was teaching kindergarten, we understood that children mature in their own unique ways…while it is true that some 4½ year olds are quite capable of learning to read and write (I had several who came to kindergarten already reading and writing and speaking several languages), it is also true that many children have not yet developed the fine motor skills necessary for holding the pencil and mapping out the letters.  With reading, we have the same situation…some children have the eye-brain coordination, but some need just a little more time to physically mature.
  • In my opinion, the only advantage to “pushing” these little ones to read and write is that, if there are problems such as visual impairment or learning disorders, they may be discovered at this earlier age and intervention can be arranged.  However, the down side is that we are already labeling these young children…and often these labels stick, even if it was just a maturity issue that was the cause.
  • Almost every kindergarten teacher I have visited with has mentioned the lack of time to READ picture books to the children.  Arts and crafts are also an area that is pushed to the back burner.  Now, all of you know how passionate I am about reading to young children…and how much I believe in the importance of encouraging children to express themselves in arts and crafts activities.  I realize that the curriculum and standards are mandated by the state…teachers don’t really have control over those things and are held accountable for the levels of learning their students achieve.
  • The almost frantic pace I observed in some of the kindergartens was even stressful for me…imagine how it must be for five-year olds!  They change activities (and rooms) as if someone is surfing channels on the TV with a remote control.  Perhaps they are used to it…having been exposed to the constant mini-bytes that are prevalent even on the educational TV channels.  Again, I undertand that most of kindergarten teachers would probably prefer to go back to a “kinder, gentler” type of classroom.  Don’t get me wrong…I do believe in routines and schedules for young children…I think they thrive when they know what the plan is…I just wish it was a less hectic plan.  I know it used to be in the kindergartens stored in my memory banks.

What do you think?  Do you have a child in kindergarten?  Are you a kindergarten teacher?  Do you agree that the kindergarten of today is the new first grade?  And, do you think this is a postive or negative change?

THREE IMPORTANT REMINDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TODAY, APRIL 9th, is the LAST day you can purchase SHOW ME HOW! at 50% off the cover price on my website: http://www.positiveparentalparticipation.com.  Parents, grandparents, teachers and daycare providers of preschoolers…please don’t delay…this unique resource is a shortcut to providing educational fun-filled self-esteem building acitivities for your children.  MOTHER’S DAY is just around the corner…what a wonderful gift this would make, even for an expectant mom!  And this is also the last day to enter to win the collection of craft supplies for your preschooler…purchase a book or fill out the contact form on my website or leave a comment on my blog about why you would like to win the prize. 

TOMORROW: Sunday, April 10th…I will be at the Covered Treasures Bookstore in Monument, CO from 2-3:30pm, talking about reading, crafting and cooking with young children and signing copies of my book.  For more details, please go to www.coveredtreasures.com or call 719-481-2665.  The Book Fair (from 12:30-4pm) is for the benefit of the Tri-Lakes Community Preschool Tuition Assistance Program.  If you are local to Monument, Colorado Springs or Denver, please head on over to say hello and do your part to support early childhood education!

Tuesday, April 12th…I will be hosting Max the Dog as he continues his 36 day book blog tour.  For more details about the on-going contest and to see where he has been and where he is going, please visit: http://readwithmax.com/blogbooktour.html