MAY 10 - Is Your Elementary Child’s Education on Track?
Local Tutoring Options to Address Skill Gaps
A new book has been published that aims to gives parents guidelines to keep their kids on track, written by Danita Smith, and entitled “Ten Things Your Child Should Know about Reading, Writing, and Math (Pre-K-5th Grade).”
Smith offers lists of skills and activities by grade level which can be used by parents to help avoid "social promotion," and to assess their child's actual development of fundamental skills. There are clear guidelines and expectations for each grade level. along with tips and exercises for improving skills.
"There is a clear need for parents to find time in their day to work on their child's educational development and to make sure their child is progressing properly through school. My book was written for parents as a guide which includes simple tips and techniques to address these issues," she explains.
The inspiration for the book came out of her desire to insure that her son was gaining necessary skills as her family moved, and he was in different school districts.
She holds both a BS and MBA in Business Administration from Florida A&M University and has spent years studying academic standards and ways to effectively implement educational techniques with children.
If you conclude that your child’s falling behind, there are a number of options in our area to pursue. First, set up a meeting with your child’s teacher and ask for assistance.
Remember that if your family has changed school districts during the K-5 grades, there is a good chance that fundamentals have been missed. Some systems focus on drilling grammar fundamentals in 3rd grade; other systems focus on this in the 4th.
The summer is a good time to identify gaps that have developed, such as math skills, sentence structure, vocabulary or creative writing skills, and use fun workbooks that can be purchased inexpensively to use at home during summer mornings before they go out to play.
And, Savannah has several professional companies that offer tutoring assistance, such as Sylvan Learning, Kumon, the Royce Learning Center and Club Z Home Tutoring.
According to Janese Cooper, director of Savannah’s Kumon Math and Reading Center located at Picadilly Shopper Center, 10010Abercorn St., “Parents are the best advocates for their children.” Kumon offers a complimentary assessment of a child’s skill level. They then work to fill in any learning gaps, “and we then start preparing our students for advanced study work,” Cooper explains. “We’re also working on developing concentration and good study skills, which are life skills that parents are seeking for their children.”
At Royce Learning Center, which offers programs 12 months a year, there will also be special summer programs this year for 5th through 12th graders to work on study skills. Two different sessions are available. The courses include organizational, note taking and test taking skills, all of which become increasingly important as students progress into higher grades.
Royce also offers one-on-one tutoring, individualized by what the student needs, and the instructors communicate directly with the child’s school to coordinate needed instruction, as well as with the parents. Individualized rates run from $45 to $50 a hour. Royce receives support from the United Way in order to offer reduced rates, based on need, according to Sally Greenberg, program coordinator at the tutoring center.
Local Tutoring Resources
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March.22 - Savannah Girl Scouts: “A Good Turn for Goodwill Day”
Girl Scouts on Target for 20,000 lbs. Donation Goal
CF Special Report
The scouts will officially bring the donations to the Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, Inc. offices on Sat. March 13 as of part of the scouts’ “A Good Turn for Goodwill Day” festivities.
The event is part of a council-wide service project taking place across the state of Georgia. In addition to the Girl Scouts in the Savannah area, another 95 Girl Scouts will participate in Saturday’s event at the Statesboro Goodwill location and another 150 at the Brunswick main Goodwill location.
According to Joe Driggers, Director of Marketing & Development for Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, Inc, Goodwill Industries provided collection bags for the girls to fill with clothing and household items. Goodwill will also provide a patch to each of the girls for their efforts.
Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, Inc. is hoping to reach a goal of donating 20,000 pounds of donations by March 13, and is currently on track to surpass that goal!
“I cannot over emphasize the importance of a partnership between two 100 year old non profits,” said Bill Oakley, President/CEO, Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, Inc.
“The Girl Scouts 20,000lb goal has an immediate positive impact on work opportunities and income toward our mission of assisting people with disabilities and other barriers to employment to live independently and become employed across Coastal Georgia,” he added.
“Furthermore, the long term impact of the value created through this program for the girls generous support helps to shape tomorrow’s responsible citizens.” Oakley said.
Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, Inc. provides job training, employment services, job placement opportunities and post employment support to strengthen communities and families by training people to become independent, tax-paying members of society. Those services include ADVANCE, a community re-entry program for people with acquired brain injury. When someone is having a hard time finding a job– either because of a disability, poverty or lack of experience, Goodwill is there to help.
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Marc.22 - Boy Scouts Celebrating 100 Years With “Scout Fest”
The Coastal Empire Council Boy Scouts of America will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of scouting with a local event called “Scout Fest” on Sat., March 20 from 10am to 4pm at the Taro DZ at Fort Stewart in Bryan County.
The public is invited to see Scout games and competitions and Coast Guard helicopter demonstrations, and learn about scouting. There will be a trading post featuring 100th anniversary commemorative items, and parents can register their boys in scouting that day for Savannah area troops.
Across Georgia, many of Georgia’s state parks will get help cleaning up its facilities thanks to the Boy Scouts. A new partnership has been announced as part of the Boy Scouts of America’s 100th anniversary, with the young volunteers teaming up with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to complete service projects such as trail construction, grounds cleanup and playground installation.
“Scouting for State Parks” was announced in February at the state Capitol with support from Gov. Sonny Perdue; the project is funded in part by a donation from Verizon Wireless.
The program brings together thousands of youth, leaders and volunteers from Boy Scout groups across Georgia. Each of the state’s 13 councils has committed to undertake a large-scale service project for a local state park during 2010. Additionally, the councils will encourage youth pursuing Eagle Scouts to perform their capstone service project in a state park. Annually in Georgia, 1,200 youth earn Scouting’s highest rank.
According to Barbara Foley, the Learning for Life program director with the Coastal Empire Council Boy Scouts of America, a number of local troops will be participating.
“For 100 years, Scouts have served Georgia’s communities,” said Scouting’s Georgia State President Scott Sorrels. “Now, during Scouting’s Centennial, we’re focusing our resources like never before to address a critical need – the budget crisis in our state parks.”
“We are proud to announce this partnership that helps us improve state parks all across Georgia, and also gives young men a sense of community and accomplishment,” said Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Clark. “We couldn’t do it without the generous support of Verizon Wireless, our governor and our leaders in the state legislature.”
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SEPT 2009: 12 Going On 30: Young Girls Wearing Too Much Makeup
By Mary Jo Rapini
It is amazing how fast little girls are growing up; at times it's even frightening. What's a mom to do when her 12-year-old daughter wants to wear makeup?
Telling her she can't wear makeup until she is older is probably only going to make her want to rebel. She may even develop feelings of shame associated with it. Soon your 12-year-old may be putting her makeup on when she gets to school or the mall or a friend's house to "hide" her activity from you. This will only build a wall in your interaction and communication with her.
A better approach is to have a heart-to-heart talk. To put both of you at ease, go for a walk or sit in an ice cream shop or wherever the two of you can go to talk without interruptions. Ask her WHY she wants to wear makeup. Does it make her feel prettier? More confident about her looks? Or is she just trying to "fit in"? Your daughter may be concerned about her skin and feels makeup covers unsightly acne scars or other flaws. This is a difficult time of changes, both physically and emotionally. Physically, as the face grows, it isn't uncommon for different parts of the face to look exaggerated as compared to other parts. And emotionally, she is starting to try and figure out who she is and how she can be like all her peers.
It is important that your daughter feel like she can talk to you honestly about her concerns and that you won't dismiss them as being foolish and not important. If she is concerned about her skin texture or acne, it would be wise to see a dermatologist with her.
If you are OK with occasional use of makeup, I encourages moms to plan a "girl's weekend" and take a makeup class together. Many times the reasons young girls over-do makeup is because they were not taught the "correct way" to apply it. They are heavy handed with eye liner and mascara because they copy their peers (who are not taught the correct way) instead of understanding how makeup is meant to enhance their skin and features.
When you talk with your daughter prior to disciplining her or discouraging her from wearing makeup, you should make it clear that you care about how she feels in regards to her looks. She needs to feel supported by you instead of shamed. She will feel better about herself because she knows you understand how she feels.
This is also a good time to identify how you felt during that time of your life. You can tell her how "too much makeup" makes her look and how it may make others react. Too much makeup is not necessarily going to make her look like she is more grown up. The way to achieve looking more grown up is to be confident in your own skin.
By listening to your daughter, not judging her, and offering her your support, you will be in a much better position to help her build that confidence.
Mary Jo Rapini is a psychotherapist and co-author of the book “Start Talking: A Girl's Guide for You & Your Mom.” This easy-to read, lively, down-to-earth book is teen-friendly and is ideal to help both mothers and daughters have engaging conversations about tough topics (www.maryjorapini.com).
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AUGUST 2009: Plan a Family Game Night
Even with all of the worries about today’s economy, families can still enjoy fun, entertaining evenings together and stay on budget by playing board games. While board games can certainly be played and enjoyed at any time, a designated family game night provides an opportunity for families to share an economical night of staying in, having fun and creating new memories together.
In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Hasbro, nearly half (48 percent) of Americans believe that a family game night is the most enjoyable form of family bonding, ranking higher than watching movies (22 percent), cooking (19 percent) and playing sports together (9 percent). Additionally, three in four (75 percent) Americans would rather play board games than video games as a group activity at a family reunion or gathering.
“Family game night invites everyone to turn off the outside world for a short time and reconnect with each other,” said Matt Collins, vice president of marketing for Hasbro Games. “A new game generally costs less than other family entertainment options, such as dining out or attending a sporting event, making adding a new game to your game night repertoire an economical choice.”
A night out at the movies can cost a family more than $40 and the experience is over once you leave the theater. On the other hand, a new board game often costs less than $25 and can be added to the family’s game collection to be played again and again.
Are you ready for a great family night in? If so, get ready for a night of fun and schedule a family game night! Hasbro, the maker of Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley games, suggests a few tips to maximize your family game night so that it is something the whole family will look forward to week after week:
Decide in advance which day will be your family game night. It doesn’t matter which night of the week you choose — any night will do! As long as the date is marked on a calendar that everyone can see and the parents make it a priority to keep the appointment, the night will be one to remember!
in the planning
Involve the whole family in the planning process by allowing the kids to pick the games or choose the snacks. For variety, rotate responsibilities each time you have a family game night.
Create a tradition
Whether it’s a specific family-favorite dinner before game night, the way that teams are chosen or a 30-minute extension on bedtime, establish an activity on family game night that becomes a family tradition. This element will create even more excitement with everyone in the family.
Keep a family scoreboard
From week to week, recognize the family member who won the last game night by posting their name on a special scoreboard — perhaps it’s a place of honor on the refrigerator. Or, create a family crown that can be worn by the winner at dinner or during the next game night.
To keep the date with the family, set up reminders to make sure that game night happens. Set up an alarm on a handheld device or on the family computer. For the kids, put a note in their lunchbox reminding them about family game night. By building anticipation for family game night, you will help build excitement for family time.
Mix it up with special guests
To expand the fun, invite other families in your neighborhood to participate in a family game night tournament. Or, if you have extended family members staying with you or if you are traveling during a scheduled game night, invite everyone to participate!
The top reason to have a family game night is to have fun! However, whether enjoying a family-favorite game or discovering a potential new favorite, playing board games as a family provides other benefits too, including:
Laughter: Games offer a fresh experience every time you play, providing new ways to have fun and laugh together. Some games, such as Cranium and Operation, are developed with giggles in mind and would be a great choice on nights when everyone needs a good laugh.
Family Bonding: Game play allows your kids to learn from you and from each other. It encourages a sense of connectedness and respect among family members.
Learning: Games can be a subtle learning tool. For instance, Clue is good for learning deductive reasoning. Monopoly is ideal for teaching beginning budget skills and Yahtzee provides a fun way to teach simple addition and multiplication.
Life Skills: Games teach kids important life skills such as patience, concentration, teamwork and perseverance. By taking turns, following rules and even losing a game, kids learn skills that they can apply at school and in the home.
By mixing together kids and parents, turning off text-messaging and playing a board game, you’ll have an evening of fun, laughter and love that will bring the family closer together and create memories for years to come.
Games for all ages
While the game you select isn’t as important as the time spent together as a family, you may want to consider the age of the players and the amount of time available for family game night when selecting a game. To get you started, here are some all-time favorites, and a few new games, to consider:
Families with kids ages 6 to 8: Pictureka!, Sorry! Sliders, Operation, Monopoly Jr.
Families with kids ages 8 to 10: Clue, Monopoly, Cranium Family Edition, The Game Of Life
Families with kids ages 10 to 12: Monopoly, Yahtzee, Clue
Families with teenagers: Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition, Scrabble, Cranium Wow, Jenga, Catch Phrase, Trivial Pursuit
For more game ideas, visit www.familygamenight.com.
Sources: Hasbro Games, Family Features
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