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Monday, December 28, 2015

New Blog Under Construction




A New Blog Format is Under Construction 
for the New Year 2016


I hope to combine the resources of my three blog sites into one location that will be more accessible to my audience of readers.  The blog will be a resource for:

1. Parents/Guardians
2. Family Members who help care for young children
3. Early Childhood Educators (Full Day Child Care Programs/Preschools)
4. Anyone who is interested in promoting Early Literacy
5. Individuals who are passionate about Early Advocacy Skills Development



Graphic Attributed to: https://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=AwrTcXMPfYdWWesAfo0unIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTIycGJtZnNpBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZAM1N2QwZWRjNTY1NWQyYjY2MWU0MjE1OGNkYzg0YTZmMQRncG9zAzMEaXQDYmluZw--?.origin=&back=https%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fyhs%2Fsearch%3Fp%3DWriter%2BGraphics%26fr%3Dyhs-mozilla-003%26hsimp%3Dyhs-003%26hspart%3Dmozilla%26tab%3Dorganic%26ri%3D3&w=400&h=420&imgurl=www.illustrationsof.com%2Froyalty-free-writing-clipart-illustration-1146779.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.illustrationsof.com%2F1146779-royalty-free-writing-clipart-illustration&size=57.9KB&name=%3Cb%3EWriting%3C%2Fb%3E+Clipart+%231146779+by+Prawny+Vintage+|+Royalty-Free+%28RF%29+Stock+...&p=Writer+Graphics&oid=57d0edc5655d2b661e42158cdc84a6f1&fr2=&fr=yhs-mozilla-003&tt=%3Cb%3EWriting%3C%2Fb%3E+Clipart+%231146779+by+Prawny+Vintage+|+Royalty-Free+%28RF%29+Stock+...&b=0&ni=288&no=3&ts=&tab=organic&sigr=12guthnjj&sigb=13tjmuifn&sigi=12dejucrv&sigt=12fg19e65&sign=12fg19e65&.crumb=1yLktlYrdpv&fr=yhs-mozilla-003&hsimp=yhs-003&hspart=mozilla
Writing Clipart #1146779 by Prawny Vintage | Royalty-Free (RF) Stock ... More
www.illustrationsof.com



A New Novel in Progress

 Working Title: Four-Ninety and Holding (So many ways to forgive)

The past year has been dedicated to writing a novel based on someone's real life situations.  Giving birth to my main character has been an emotional experience. Marahlena is a woman who is required to reinvent herself after falling short of her personal expectations.  Her decision to have a forgiving heart frequently leads her into complicated adventures; often to the dismay of her family and friends.  The journey upon which she embarks is harsh, traumatic, and complicated.  Marahlena's quest to make the best of each pitfall will leave you breathless.  She will have you wondering how on earth she will extricate herself from the next mess that waits around the corner.  Stay tuned for more insider clues about this novel which is nearing it's completion.  I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming year!


Other Blogs that are currently "On Hold" pending A New Blog Format:

Reflections Beneath The Poetz Tree (Parenting Observations, Insights, and Inspirations)
http://poetztree.blogspot.com

Baby's Books and Bubbles, Oh My! (Encouraging Early Literacy)
 http://babysbooksandbubblesohmy.blogspot.com/2015/01/winter-book-marks-for-free.html

The Mother Freakin' (Parent) Hood (Encouraging Self-Advocacy)
https://motherfreakinhood.blogspot.com


Monday, September 14, 2015

A Message for My Daughter

I am continuously trying to keep up to speed with how my daughter is feeling.  Middle School can be a real bitch!  There's no other way to say that.   Middle School is like boot camp for whatever High School brings.  I only hope that some of what I say makes a difference and she knows how much I love and care about her.  Here's an example of something she posted and my response.  Perhaps it can be helpful to other parents.  Lord knows we could all use a little inspiration when it comes to helping our children navigate the painful and often rocky journey through the teen years.  Middle School is just the beginning. 
  Isabella shared Only I can fight with my best friend, You say a word and you are dead.'s photo.
 Attributed to :https://www.facebook.com/BeSsteSst.frienDs/

  • Mary Varville-Rodriguez Yeah...Wait until you're at least 30!!!!!!!! In the mean time....Get an education. Find a career you are passionate about that brings you joy. Get your own place that you can decorate in your own awesome style. Learn to love yourself and who you have become...and continue to develop your own personality that no one else feels a need to change. Travel to all those places we've talked about and beyond. Learn what makes YOU happy and how to share that happiness in ways that won't leave you feeling emotionally drained and exhausted. Nurture your relationship with God and develop your spiritual life. Make sure you develop strategies for taking care of YOUR heart and eliminate feelings of guilt when your own needs are met. Tell yourself every day that you are a child of God placed in this world on purpose, for a purpose, and with a purpose! You have a unique journey on earth that will allow you to learn from others and share what you know. You have been designed to experience many opportunities, emotions, and adventures. Developing meaningful relationships are one component of your existence. But take your time. Relationships cannot be rushed. They cannot be romanticized into existence. Every thing has it's time and place. Enjoy who you are right now as your figure out the complexities of this world. Know that I am here for you. Know that your parents care about you and will always have your "6" even when things seem dark. Your family is your foundation. YOU are the architect of your life. I trust that you will make good choices. I am realistic that there will be mistakes. That's O.K. too as long as you learn from them. In closing, please continue to take care when posting on Face Book. You know Mama is always looking for inspiration to write. Glad you were my inspiration today. Lots of Love, Mom.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Colorado Springs East Library - No Special Area for the "Tweens."

Now that library renovations are underway, it is even more evident that the needs for children of varying ages has not been taken into account.   My last few visits to the library have been frustrating since the upper level has become the main computer room.  It is a large area with several computer "stations" that allow you to select where you wish to sit.  Some stations have four computers with work spaces linked together by low placed separation walls.  Other work stations are larger with eight computers (four computers on each side facing another table with four computers) and no separation walls.  This is where the "tweens" usually sit to play computer games and converse with each other.  Anyone who has observed children playing computer games is well aware that they communicate in animated voices as they share their gaming adventures.  This large room is clearly not conducive to this type of interaction.  HOWEVER....  These children have no other designated place within the library to go.  As I have written previously, the library has a place that is quiet and designated as "adults 18 and over only."  The library has a "children's" section that is not designed for "tweens."  Where, then, should these kiddos go to use the computers when the only place they are allowed to go involves a large room with poor acoustics?  I am tired of grown ups "shushing" these kids even though I understand that the excess noise can be annoying. (There is no yelling going on...just animated discussions.) Instead of the library staff telling these kids to be quiet, how about someone advising the powers that be of an appropriate solution?  Make a space for the kiddos who have been banned from the learning lab, are no longer comfortable in the children's section, and who are constantly shushed by adults who have no idea that there are no other options.  Libraries need to be inclusive and realize how important a role they play in making sure children have adequate areas to interact.  I for one prefer to see these young people in a library versus causing trouble on the streets or home alone without anyone with whom to interact.  My requests that someone call me to discuss this issue have gone unanswered.  This is the third post I have written and given to a library employee.  I hope that someone will listen and make some adaptations so children can have areas that accommodate their needs as well as the adults.
Graphic Attributed to :http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/03/23/nyregion/24videogames.cityroom.1.jpg

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Library's New Policy Validates Age Discrimination - Children are More Than Their Age!

OK  Here we go again.  Not long ago I commented on the library security guard who over stepped his boundaries by incorrectly banning children under the age of twelve from exploring the library without a parent. (Even if that parent in nearby and aware of their child's location.)  His actions did not accurately enforce the existing library policy and failed to take into account a parent's right to determine if and when a child is capable of navigating the building.  Now the library has undertaken an enormous role in the community by expanding the building to include a business development/resource center.  The changes are visible when you walk through the front door and it is obvious that the changes will  indeed be of benefit to all who have access to the building.  Being able to come to the library with my children is something we look forward to as a family.  In the past we have been able to work together on our projects in the learning lab.  It is quiet and we can work on our journals, creative writing, and other educational programs in peace, whereas the common area tends to be a little more "animated" at times.  My children tend to get distracted if they do not have a quiet placed to focus, so the "Learning Lab" was perfect.  Imagine my disappointment and shock when I was advised of a "new policy" by a gentleman who supervises the Learning Lab.  He told me that "No Children under age 18" were allowed in that area!  Only one other person besides myself and the two boys were present.  My children were clearly not a disturbance and were looking forward to working on their projects.  The gentleman was polite and kind, but I cannot help but wonder the purpose of such a policy.  What on earth lead someone to make that decision?  We went to another area of the library that is in transition to locate computers.   Tonight it was quiet, but what if the next time the area is too much of a distraction?  The area is large, the lighting a bit different, and it does not have the same feeling as the small room.  Anyone with Attention Deficit Disorder can understand how this impacts one's ability to focus, concentrate, and enjoy the experience of learning.  I began to research age discrimination as it relates to children, and find it incomprehensible that our own community library would not recognize how their own policy negatively impacts our youth!  Here is an excellent link for you to consider.  I hope that other parents will comment and begin to recognize when your children are being marginalized and disrespected in the community!  It is up to us as parents to be more vocal advocates even when it may not be "popular" to do so.  Believe it when I tell you that your children are monitoring your words and actions.  They need to learn to stand up for themselves and make efforts toward positive change.  Ignoring just one act of intolerance and discrimination is not acceptable.  What will you do today to make this better?

For more information go to:
https://www.crin.org/en/library/publications/discrimination-briefing-age-discrimination


 
Graphics Attributed to :  http://connecttocrlibrary.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/library-kids1.jpg

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Our Library Ignored My Parental Right to Allow Children's Independence



I am a parent of three children.  Prior to that I worked as a Child Development Specialist for many years.  I know and understand what my children are capable of doing and when they require supervision.  A stranger has no idea that my children are developmentally above age level and emotionally mature enough to handle themselves in a public library.  They are familiar with the library and understand the parameters of safe perusal of items throughout the library.  My children are capable of accessing the Internet on library computers and have been doing so for the last two years with no difficulties.  They know my rules and know what to do if approached by someone.  Today I was called to the security office and "advised" of library "rules"  in the form of a bookmark presented to me by a guard.  It goes without saying that I am livid that my constitutional rights as a parent have been violated.  What right does the library have to tell me my children are required to have me as their shadow if they wish to investigate a part of the library a few feet away from me?  This is a small library, by the way.  If one of them screamed or were engaging in disruptive behaviors, I would know!   How dare a stranger inform me of how I should parent my children!  The library can let me know if my children are being disruptive, and I will take care of that immediately.  However, quiet, engaged children who are displaying appropriate behaviors only need to say, "my mother is in the library" if there is a concern.  The library's "code of conduct" simply states, "The library is not responsible for children under the age of 11 who are left unattended on Library property.  Misconduct or misuse of library property on the part of juveniles will be reported to their parents."  Nowhere does this policy state the parent must shadow the child!   So the security guard took it upon himself to make a judgement about my children, failed to follow the stated library policy code, and interpreted the code as he saw fit.  Not acceptable in my book.  You can inform me of the policy regarding the library not being responsible for my child, but you cannot tell me that my child cannot explore the library when I know he is perfectly capable of handling himself.  Furthermore, my children behave well and know not to be loud in the library.  I have seen individuals who are far more disruptive due to special circumstances...which I understand.  I have also worked with survivors of Traumatic Brain Injuries and individuals with other special needs, so I understand and accept that this will happen.  So if you can make accommodations based on these individuals developmental levels versus chronological age, then I expect that same consideration for my children!  Do not make generalizations based on a few incidents.  Do not group my children into a category in which they do not belong!  I will be addressing my concerns to the Pikes Peak Library Board of Trustees.  I encourage all parents to take charge and speak up for their rights as a parent to determine their children's abilities and level of independence.  We have scientific proof and studies  that back us up.  Children develop and comprehend nuances of social behaviors at varying rates.  Do not allow chronological age to be a determining factor!  

For more information on promoting independent children you can go to Free Range Kids at:
http://www.freerangekids.com/

Graphics attributed to :http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.openingthebook.com%2F&ei=e9syVeyOPIS8sAWFn4HoCg&bvm=bv.91071109,d.cGU&psig=AFQjCNFg2r_H2gjuVeYbpHzq1mk7mL9A9g&ust=1429482709760368

Monday, January 5, 2015

Advocacy for Your Child ~ Get Involved! "The Letter" to Parents



Many of you have been following my posts regarding concerns that lead me to remove my son from his second grade classroom. Here is the letter that will be presented to parents of children who remain in that room.  There are also ideas for how to talk to children using "open ended" questioning.  Do you know what's going on in YOUR child's classroom?

 A Special Note from:

Reflections Beneath The Poetz Tree

(Parenting Observations, Personal Insights, and Inspirations)


Dear Parents of Children in Mr. M’s 2nd Grade Classroom:
Parents have a right to know what is being done to protect our children!
I would like to share some concerns that lead me to remove my son from Mr. M’s classroom.  The school is unable to do this because teacher’s rights are protected by the “Human Resources” Department and the “Teacher’s Union.”  I submitted specific concerns in writing to Principal G. who forwarded these concerns to the Human Resources Department for our school district.  Supposedly an “investigation” was conducted and he was allowed to return to teaching your children. My concerns involve what appears to be “emotionally abusive” interactions.   I expressed my concerns to Dr. Gledich, the D11 Superintendent, who also informed me that he was unable to reveal the results of the investigation.  I am unsatisfied with his responses and feel that it is unfortunate our Principal’s hands are tied when it comes to this matter.  Parents have a right to know what is being done to protect our children!
Therefore, I am compelled to share this story so that you can be an advocate for your own child and make decisions that will be in her/his best interest for the remainder of the school year.  It is unfortunate that the Superintendent has been unable to resolve this matter in a way that I believe is sufficient for such a serious situation.  I strongly believe that children should have a voice and need to be respected in the classroom.  There are many details to this story and I hope you will take time to read the following posts I placed on my website to draw attention to this matter.  You may respond via Google or leave me an email if you have further questions.  I did not include the names of your children to protect their privacy.  I can tell you that my child was not the only one affected.  I have enclosed a sample of open ended questions you may want to use to encourage discussions with your children. 
Parents are the only ones who can change the way our schools view inappropriate interactions that can be considered 
 “teacher bullying.”  
Bullying is NEVER acceptable…even when a teacher is the one doing the bullying.  It’s up to us as parents to teach our children how they should be treated, when to stand up for themselves, and what to do if they feel like the target of emotional abuse.  For some reason there seems to be a lack of concern for this type of abuse. (Yet a teacher who physically hits a child would most likely not return to school.)  Because emotional abuse can be so hard to “prove” it is up to us as parents to teach our children how to protect themselves.  It is important to document specific examples of what makes children feel sad or angry at school.
Please go to Reflections Beneath The Poetz Tree (Parenting Observations, Personal Insights, and Inspirations) for further information on “Emotional Abuse” concerns. (You can Google this)  http://www.poetztree.blogspot.com        
            

(Part I and II in November and Part III in December)

Part I
Part II
Part III

How to find out how your child feels about school….
1.     Have daily conversations with your child about his/her day.
2.     Ask “open ended” questions and wait for responses.  Try to make it a mix of positives and negatives.  You’ll be surprised how much a child will tell you when you let then talk and remain calm.  Try not to get overly upset if your child reveals something concerning.  Simply write down the concerns and make sure to include specific details.
·        Tell me about your day.
·        What was one thing that made you happy about your day?
·        Can you think of something that made you sad or mad?
·        How are your friends doing?
·        Tell me something funny that happened.
·        What is your favorite thing about your teacher?  Least favorite thing?
·        Tell me about a time you were upset at school.
·        Tell me about a time you were having fun at school.
3.   If you want to know more about something your child tells you, you could say, “Tell me more  
about that.” or “Then what happened?” 
4.   If your child doesn’t like to talk about his/her day, then let them draw the answers to your questions.  Make a little book together.  
5. If your child shares anything that concerns you, please make sure you bring up the concerns to Principal G.  Put your concerns in writing and keep a copy of everything.  Document all conversations and email correspondence. 

Some examples of things to be concerned about:
1.     Teacher making fun of names of your child or other students.
2.     Making jokes at a child’s expense. (Embarrassing them)
3.   Teasing a child about their grades, classwork, handwriting, or performance in class.
4.    Making child stand up because they do not “sit the right way.”
5.    Making child sit on the floor in the corner because they are not “paying attention.”
6.     Drawing attention to physical characteristics by making fun of them.
7.     Scaring a child to get them to pay attention.
8.     Hiding their school supplies or projects.
9.     Refusing to allow them to go to the bathroom as needed.
10.  Refusing to allow them to bring a water bottle.

I truly hope that the situation has been resolved.  However, I do not place much confidence in this process.  My blog posts reveal email correspondence between me and Dr. Gledich.  If he had provided the information requested, this letter may not have been necessary.  Since the school is unable to satisfy my concerns, the next best thing I can do is make sure every parent is informed so that this never occurs again.  Together we can make a difference and make sure our children feel safe, secure, and valued.  We need to make sure their education is positive.  

Your Partner in Advocacy,
Reflections Beneath The Poetz Tree


Every Child deserves a POSITIVE educational experience!
Graphics Attributed to: http://unhinderedspeech.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/children_school.png