Sunday, March 25, 2012

Flambeau Child Development Day

This Friday, the Flambeau School District is inviting families to visit school for Child Development Day. For those of you who are anticipating sending your first little one off to school in the fall, this is a wonderful introduction. Children will meet Lucy Taylor, the early childhood and four-year-old kindergarten teacher along with other school staff. Children will get a little taste of how school will be in the fall.
This is a good time for parents to access how their child handles a new environment, what their behavior is like, and what skills the teachers are looking for. The things you observe may lead you to slowly shape some additional routines and skills over the summer.
The most helpful behaviors for young children to learn from families before walking through the door on that first day are in the category of personal/social skills. Children who feel secure and confident in their families adapt well to the new school environment. Children who sit at the table with their families, eat nourishing food, and have conversations during meal times will have those skills in place for lunch or snack times at school. Those who have been taught to be respectful and to listen to directions are ready for group activities. Children who have learned basic hygiene of using the toilet, wiping and flushing, and washing their hands will not have to take time to learn these things when they get to school and thus will be ready for their new world of academics.
New parents to the Flambeau District, I hope you have a wonderful time on Friday!

ABC, See my teacher
1,2,3 Teaching me
Reading stories,
Painting pictures,
Eating healthy,
Making Friends
ABC, See my teacher
1,2,3 Teaching me
Original song by Eileen L. Ziesler
Character creation by Steven Baye
Rock gently from side to side. Pantomime or use suggested signs.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Old Toads can learn new tricks.

The sun and wind have melted our snow cover and on my walks I have seen the first pussy willows. I have also been picking up trash along the roads I travel.
I did not always understand the importance of putting litter in its place. I don’t think I learned this as a child but from the value system of the family I married into. I am now seeing how children can learn the importance of putting trash where it should go. On this topic, I have two stories to tell you.
The first story takes place at the library. I was leaving just as two beautiful teenage girls were entering. But first, one of the young women dropped a cigarette butt onto the ground and put it out with her foot. “I am trying hard to keep our town clear of litter, would you please put the cigarette in the receptacle by the door?” The young woman apologized and put the butt into the designated container. I thanked her, we both smiled, and wished each other a nice day.
The second story is from the Toad House Enchanted Forest. If you have been following the zieslertoadhouse blog, you will know that a terrible littering troll lives somewhere in the forest. Two little girls who live nearby and who attended the Dr. Seuss birthday party were in the woods looking for toads. (The toads help protect the forest from the littering of that terrible troll.) Together we read the story about the troll and then proceeded to walk the path and pick up pieces of that dastardly litter. The next day I watched as the two children helped their little sister put another piece of troll litter into the garbage can.
Please help your young children learn to value and care for the environment. Take care to be thoughtful and kind to our teenagers who may not have yet learned these values––but who, like all of us old toads, can still learn and leave a better world for future generations .
Today’s poem is an anonymous poem that I found online. Janelle Thompson provided the sketch to go with the poem.

Winds of March
Winds of March, we welcome you,
There is work for you to do
Work and play and blow all day,
Blow the Winter wind away.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Trash Time

Lets talk trash–I mean the stuff that finds its way out of car windows, out of hands, and onto sidewalks and roads. Each year I campaign against the stuff and hope to raise everyone’s consciousness concerning every little single piece of candy wrapper that leaves our hands.
I have a lovely drive home from Ladysmith. However, as the snow line recedes, I see bits of trash, bottles and cans, and discarded food wrappers and cigarette packets. Every year since I've lived in Ladysmith my husband and I have walked along this road, picking up these discards. As we walk, we try to think of reasons that someone would roll down the window and throw out trash upon our beautiful road. We've never found a reason, but only felt sadness at what is left behind.
Wherever you live, I hope you will take time on one of these lovely spring days to take a walk out of doors with your young children or grandchildren. Spring is a great time to take a walk and look for pussy willows. I would also suggest that when you do this that you take a garbage bag with you and teach your young child about taking care of the environment.
For those of you who value the environment and the beauty of where we live in northern Wisconsin, I would like to continue my campaign in celebration of Earth Day. Please go out into your community or along your roads with your young child and teach them your values. Bring along a few garbage bags and some rubber gloves. Help them collect the trash along the way. Take a picture of your children with the bags of trash they have collected. Mail the picture to me along with the names of your children and permission to use their names and possibly the picture in this column. Send it so I can receive it before Sunday, April 22, Earth Day and I will let you know where you can pick up your musical croaking toad and the Toads Environmental Song for your child as a thank you gift from me and the Toad.

Excerpt from the Toads Environmental Song
from the melody: If you’re happy and you know it.
If you see some paper trash,
Pick it up!  croak-croak
If you see some plastic trash,
Pick it up!  croak-croak
You will help the little toads
By putting garbage where it goes
Please help the little toads,
Pick it up!  croak-croak

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Birthday Party Success

Thank you to all the moms and dads and siblings who came to the Dr. Seuss birthday party and made it such a success. The Rusk County Children’s Council (quite an important sounding name for a group of people who simply love young children!) all pulled together and with each person doing a small part we were able to host a big birthday party!
At the party, Karlene Gordon announced this year’s choice for Champion of the Young Child. As with many organizations, there is a key person who believes in the importance of persevering over a period of many years and who goes without recognition. Mary Joslin has been that person for over ten years, pulling the council together once a year to plan the party in conjunction with Read Across America in March and to plan the music event during the Week of the Young Child in April. All of us in the Children’s Council and beyond wish to shout out our appreciation for her leadership.
Mary was presented with the award amidst a large group of young children and their parents–the group she holds dear to her heart. She will be more formally presented with the award during the Chamber of Commerce Community Awards night in April.
In closing, I would like to share one of my favorite winter season poems for young children. It is part of the large collection of songs and fingerplays for young children that I call Twinkletime. If you have computer and printer, you can obtain and print all of the Twinkletime rhymes that appear in this column by using a link in the website. If you would rather not print and laminate individual fingerplay cards, you can purchase them at the Mount Senario Fine Arts Center and once Toad House is open, you will be able to find them there. Dr. Seuss would approve. Using songs and fingerplays provides a wonderful start to literacy for young children.

Snow on my forehead
Snow on my knee
Snow on my glasses
It’s getting hard to see.

Snow on my boots
Snow on my hair
Snow on my mittens
Snow everywhere!

speak poem and gesture as if exasperated