An author (Dec. 15) and an educator (anytime)

December 14, 2007

My mind’s on early childhood development today because we met this morning with our Parents as Teachers educator to have an 18-month screening for S. As much as I might be biased (of course my kids are the brightest in the world), it’s nice to hear from an impartial observer that they are indeed on the right track developmentally. Those screenings are probably my favorite part of the Parents as Teacher program. But I’m also a fan of the group meetings, which seem to have gotten more diverse this year. For example, some of the topics from the past few months were: an occupational therapist to talk about ways to enhance children’s play; a music-and-motion workshop; and a celebration of reading. One upcoming event I’m particularly looking forward to is the Jan. 29 visit to the Magic House, where admission is one book per person. (Reservations are required, and participants must be signed up with Parents as Teachers.)

It kind of surprises me how many of my friends are not taking advantage of this free program via their local school districts. I’ve learned many useful tricks for discipline and playtime, in addition to the reassurance of having those periodic screenings. About the only complaint I’ve ever heard was from a dropped-out mom who didn’t bond with her educator, yet she didn’t take advantage of the program’s no-questions-asked policy of assigning a new educator, so I’m not exactly sure what her real beef was. There are also opportunities to bring kids to the Parents as Teachers centers to play. I haven’t taken advantage of this very often, but S. has this crazy love of jumping that’s getting beyond the scope of our couch, and I learned today that our center has a matted area he will love.

A nice little bonus is the free, developmentally appropriate books the educators sometimes give to the kids at the end of a session. And while we’re on the topic of books …

Tomorrow at Main Street Books in St. Charles one of our favorite local children’s authors will be signing her books from 1 to 3 p.m. We met Lynnette Schuepbach at her booth at a book fair years ago (when M. was a toddler) and picked up her Froggy Hollow for a quick flip-through. The pictures (she’s the illustrator too) are very folk-artsy, and I was not immediately taken with them. M., however, didn’t want to put the book down, so we wound up purchasing it — and having her sign it for him, of course. The story of 10 little frogs continues to be one of his favorites, and S. likes it too. For information on the reading, call 636.949.0105; for information on the author, visit her homepage. Her books are available for purchase there too, in case we do actually get those predicted 3 to 4 inches of snow and you’re doing your holiday shopping from home tomorrow.


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