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Mother's Day Tea -- a Success!

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Thanks to everyone for coming out to PAMP's very first Mother's Day Tea event!

We had a large crew of PAMP members, including moms, dads, grandparents and kids from babes to tweens. It was such a sweet way to bring generations together and to bring new friends together -- all in celebration of mom.

There was an arts and crafts table where the kids made cards and decorations. There was even a fairy who performed a magic show for the kids! 

We hope you have a lovely Mother's Day this weekend, and we look forward to another Mother's Day Tea next year.

Tags:  news 

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Five Questions for a Blanket Babies Host

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Updated: Sunday, April 24, 2016

Have you been to a PAMP Blanket Babies home playdate? New parents bring their young infants and gather together in the comfort of a member’s home.

Kate Babington is one of the parents volunteering to host Blanket Babies. Kate says, “Moms of young infants, some first time moms and some veterans, gather to talk about the joys and stresses of the early months while sharing about their activities, travel, baby products, family, doctor visits and any number of things.”

"It's a good way to meet several new moms and build relationships with those you have most in common with,” Kate continues. “And it's a very forgiving environment, should your baby be out-of-sorts or extra sleepy, or should you need to arrive late/leave early, pump, or breastfeed."

Kate has been a member of PAMP for about a year. She and her infant son Anders enjoy connecting with Blanket Babies families at other activities, too, like music classes and swimming lessons. When Kate returns to work, she says she “will enjoy connecting with the mothers I have met on my days off."

1. What is the last non-kid movie you saw? Nell.

2. Are you a Bay Area native or transplant? Transplant.  I've lived here 10 years.

3. What’s at the top of your to-do list? Savor the rest of maternity leave!

4. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character? Snuffleupagus.
5. Why are you a PAMP volunteer? I enjoy spending time with other moms and look forward to the programs continuing.

These super fun home playdates have become quite popular. Be sure to RSVP to save your space if you plan to attend!

PAMP is always looking for other members to host playdates. It’s super easy, and it’s a great way to make new friends. Email for more information.


Tags:  spotlight 

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Mother's Day Tea!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The upcoming PAMP Mother’s Day Tea event isn’t just your average family get-together. It’s a time to get dressed up — fancy! — and let your imaginations fly.

We’re looking forward to honoring mothers as a community. Join us as we gather in a beautiful 22-acre garden setting at Holbrook-Palmer Park.

The best part about this event for moms is that you just need to show up! Everything is taken care of so you can just come and enjoy. There will be full tea service, kids activities and more. Sip your tea and savor delicious scones and finger sandwiches while the kids sip lemonade and craft their very own personalized Mother’s Day cards. Dress to impress as we’ll have a photographer on hand to take family photos at the table.

The PAMP event is two weeks before the actual Mother’s Day date, so you get to have two celebrations instead of just one! Be sure to RSVP by April 20th!

Mother’s Day Tea

Sunday April 24th


Holbrook-Palmer Park

Jennings Pavilion, Atherton

The cost is $20.00 per adult and $10.00 per child (sorry no discount for younger children). Our buffet tea service will include a selection of teas, mini-scones, devonshire cream & jam, finger sandwiches and fresh fruit for the adults. Children can sip on lemonade and nibble on cookies and fresh fruit. Craft supplies will also be provided.

While we cannot make any guarantees, we will do our best to accommodate any dietary restrictions. Please contact Brittany Campbell if you have any dietary concerns.

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What They Won't Tell You About Parenting

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Updated: Sunday, April 17, 2016

Book Excerpt: Chapter 7 from What They Won't Tell You About Parenting by Tom Limbert 

Have you noticed? People can become very much addicted to drama. I almost wrote “children” instead of “people,” but I think we all know it’s people. I hope I’ve convinced you that empathy is truly your best friend when it comes to parenting. Now I’d like to assure you that drama is indeed your enemy. We’re all stressed out. I get that. I lose my cool plenty. But if you look at the whole thing logically, it only makes sense to make a conscious effort to not add drama to our children’s drama. What happens when we do? Let’s look at how our brains respond to a thrilling movie. According to a study done by a team of researchers from the City College of New York and Columbia University, visual and auditory stimuli that elicit high levels of engagement and emotional response can be linked to reliable patterns of brain activity. In layman’s terms, we get a buzz. That’s why we keep going back.

Your child, as a mini-scientist learning about the world, is going to “misbehave” and test limits. What you want to do as a parent is curb that behavior. What I implore you to do is teach alternatives. In behavior modification terms, when you react dramatically by yelling—a natural and instinctive response to something annoying—you do so because you think that will stop the behavior; your yelling is positive punishment. How’s that workin’ for ya? Legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant once noted, “If you whoop and holler all the time, the players just get used to it.” I say your kids learn to crave it. When you feed your child’s drama with your own, you are reinforcing the very behaviors you wish to stop. A reinforcer is a stimulus that follows some behavior and increases the probability that the behavior will occur. That’s you yelling, and the title of your movie is The Reinforcer. It’s your child’s favorite.

The movie analogy is perfect. Your child will not only enjoy watching you, he will delight in the idea that he is able to make you act that way. Cynthia Tobias, author of You Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded), explains, “As a small child, if I figure out how to push your buttons, it’s irresistible to me not to do it. It kind of worries me that I have that much power over you, but, gosh, it’s fun to use it. You don’t want to give your kids that kind of control over you by giving in to the anger and the screaming” (Ray 2012).

I was at a restaurant recently and saw a mom grab her daughter by the arm and frantically drag her toward the door for a stern lecture in the face. I don’t know what the child did or what the mom said, but I know this: the child didn’t learn anything and will do whatever she did again. I’d lay good money on it. The scene was just too intense. That girl will seek that rush again. Anger is the enemy of instruction.

If you were your child and you were bored, and you hadn’t been taught to recognize that emotion and what to do with it, would you (a) meditate, (b) do some light reading, (c) clean the house, or (d) play the crazy puppet game with the wacko parent who’s home with you? It’s a no-brainer. So much fun. Who cares that I’ll have to sit in my room for a bit afterward? I need a fix. By now it’s grown to be a cycle—a vicious one at that. Child gets bored, pokes sibling, sibling freaks, parent snaps, everyone gets amped up on cortisol and adrenaline, yell and scream, go to rooms. Rinse and repeat. Addicted. Time to stage an intervention of sorts. Let’s end this spiral of distress.

Got that phrase (spiral of distress) from an article titled “Emotions Are Contagious” by Lori Desautels (2014) on You just know that title caught my eye. The article is about the role that “staff counteraggression” plays in violence in schools today. Desautels quotes psychologist Nicholas J. Long in her article. I’m going to do the same, as it all applies to you and your home: “When a student is in stress, his emotions will echo in the adult. If the adult is not trained to own and accept his or her counteraggressive feelings, the adult will act on them and mirror the student’s behavior” (2014). This equates to more violence in schools. Hopefully not the case in your home, but I hope you’re seeing how these cycles of drama can get snowballing out of control before we know it.

Thankfully, Desautels offers teachers some practical methods to stop these contagions of negativity in their tracks. It’s all about emotional intelligence and consciously striving to create more positive interactions. That’s what leaders do. Desautels’ tips begin with raising your awareness (we’ve already done that in a way) and learning to “Recognize the Signs.” The idea is to be on alert for the first signs of emergent negative emotions (changing tones, facial expressions, gestures) and to nip it in the bud with confident, positive guidance.

How might this look in your home? Say your three- year-old boy has learned to push your buttons by bouncing a ball inside the house, though you’ve told him a thousand times not to. You’d immediately go to him and say something to the effect of, “Hey, buddy, remember we can’t do that in here because we’ll break things. Let’s play catch when I’m done working here. What will you do until then?” Keep it light and self-assured. Why not add on a threat? For one, it’s a disrespectful display of distrust he will dislike (you’re essentially dissing him). Heard of self- fulfilling prophecies? Two, you’re basically daring your child and planting a seed—he may not have even wanted to do it again, but now it’s so enticing since you mentioned it and doubted him. You want to convey that you believe in him (even if it’s a Jedi mind trick). You don’t want to tempt or dare him.

Very likely, as you damn well know, your little, trite chat didn’t quite get through. So your boy bounces the ball again. He’s blatantly testing you in hopes you’ll play his favorite movie again. This time you reiterate the rule and the reason for the rule, briefly and confidently. Then you ask him to identify his emotions. “How are you feeling?” you might ask. “Because I asked you not to bounce the ball and you aren’t listening, so I’m wondering what’s wrong.” In this way, you force him to self-examine a bit and you help him realize that his emotions influence his behavior. You are clearly implying that the expectation in your relationship is to listen to one another as you are modeling the same for him. Finally, you give him a couple more acceptable choices to help him pass the time. In this way, you help him realize not only that his emotions influence his behavior, but that he has choices in how to respond.

In “Emotions Are Contagious,” Desautels also suggests that teachers learn to understand the patterns of aggression and model self-awareness. “Experiential learning at its best is being honest and informative, rather than being reactive,” she writes. I couldn’t agree more. Remember, you are teacher. Next time your son is pushing your buttons, cut the BS and calmly go to him and draw his attention to what he’s doing and how it’s making you feel.

That, my friends, is modeling self-awareness and being honest and informative—not to mention respectful. Your kid will be baffled. How come you’re not doing that freak-out thing you always do? Finally, the coup d’etat of all parenting and interpersonal communication skills, ask your son to express how he is feeling and to consider why he is acting this way. It’s key to validating his feelings but also to helping him curb the behavior. Support him in learning to manage his emotions instead of acting out. As Desautels explains, “When we begin to notice an upset, a growing aggressive and angry reaction, it can be very powerful to acknowledge the student’s experience.” Bingo. Drama averted. Lesson learned.

To be clear, I’m not saying you should never furrow your brow or raise your voice a bit. There’s a time and a place to mean business and keep it real. You want to be confident and assertive but not cocky, disrespectful, or aggressive. Hell, bust out a middle name here and there for kicks and added emphasis. But once you get dramatic—and you know the difference—you’ll be diluting your message and reinforcing the very behaviors you wish to curb. This is about what works and what doesn’t. It’s far more effective to describe your emotions and talk about your mutual goals than to throw hissy fits. Say good-bye to Hollywood. Say good-bye, my baby.

The only way drama can be your pal is if you learn to see it as your cue to teach and lead. Start to see your children’s acting out as their attempts to cry for help. Parenting is overwhelming at times, but if it feels like that all the time, you’re not leading enough (that straight from the What They Won’t Tell You about Parenting file). Anytime you sense that things are getting out of control or you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop the train and lead. Take control of the emotional tone of the situation with an honest assessment of what’s happening and how it’s making you feel. Then ask your child to describe how he or she is feeling. Once you’ve acknowledged your child’s feelings, empower him or her to problem solve simply by asking, “What do you need?” or “How can I help?” or best of all, “What can we do to solve this problem?”

If your child is still interested in a battle of wills, stay calm. NBD (that’s how the kids text “no big deal”). Recall the reason for any limit you’re setting, stick to your guns, but hit him or her with your best shot of empathy and matter-of-fact antidrama: “I told you we couldn’t x because of y. I understand you’re feeling (sad, mad, frustrated, or all of the above). When you’re ready, let me know if I can help you feel better about all that.” Provide time and space. Voilà! You’ve just transformed yourselves from the fiercest rivals to the most trusted teammates. Reunited and it feels so good.

Most everything you know now you learned by making mistakes, too. Before you ask your parents if you were annoying (you were), the takeaway here is that our reaction to our children’s drama is key. Begin by accepting that drama is inevitable in your child’s development. That’s life. That’s what all the people say. Decipher the lessons and articulate them to the best of your ability. If we begin with a spirit of acceptance and compassion, we’re going to be much more effective leaders.

Remember, we are being watched and mimicked 24/7. It only follows that if you want your children to be gracious and respectful and listen to you, you have to treat them in that manner. If you want them to learn from their challenges and mistakes and apply the lessons next time, you might want to model that and let those lessons be the focus of your attention. Attention energizes. It’s totally your call, though, and a free country. Tomorrow, if it rains, it would be well within your rights to freak out. You could go outside and yell at the clouds or attempt to punish the sky somehow. Wouldn’t that seem illogical, though (not to mention ineffective)?

- from What They Won’t Tell You about Parenting by Tom Limbert, a published parenting author and Parent Educator at Parents Place. Tom has been working with young children and their families since 1992, including ten years at Stanford's Bing Nursery School. He has a Master's degree in Education with an emphasis in early childhood development, is the co-founder of Studio Grow, and the Director of Woodside Preschool. 

Tags:  parenting 

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6 Tips for Getting Started Homeschooling

Posted By Administration, Sunday, April 17, 2016

It may be time for you to consider homeschooling, public or private school possibilities to see which educational choice best fits your family. Perhaps your kids are very young, but you are delaying preschool and gathering more information about homeschooling. Or perhaps your kids are already in school, but something isn’t feeling or working right and homeschooling might be a good alternative.

Here are a few of my suggestions on how to take the plunge (or just test the waters) into homeschooling.

Go To A Homeschool Park Day
More broadly, connect with your local homeschool group by joining its online community or attending events, but park days in particular are a great way to meet a variety of homeschooling families and begin to form connections. Almost all local homeschool groups have at least one weekly park gathering, and some groups even have themed park days (e.g., Young Homeschoolers meet-ups). Meeting the same families week after week and watching kids build friendships is very rewarding, and can often lead to spin-off playgroups and homeschool co-ops with like-minded families.

Learn More About Homeschooling
My favorite books about homeschooling [include] Free to Learn by Peter Gray, Learning all the Time by John Holt and Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto . In particular, Nancy Wallace’s books, Better Than School and Child’s Work, are gems if you can find them at your local library. There are also countless websites and blogs that can shed light on many different homeschooling approaches.

Think About Your Approach
What type of homeschooling approach seems to fit best with your family’s rhythms and your learners’ needs? Are you more comfortable with a school-at-home approach to homeschooling? If so, there is an abundance of packaged homeschooling curricula available for purchase to take much of the guess-work out of homeschooling. Would you prefer a more child-centered, community-based learning approach? If so, unschooling might work better for you and your learners.

Trust Your Children
Trust that your children’s inner curiosity will lead to a fulfilling homeschooling experience that will challenge their intellect and deepen their knowledge, strengthen family and community connections and trigger an unquenchable thirst for learning.

Trust Yourself
Trust your singular gift of knowing your children’s needs, interests, strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else. Trust that you are perfectly positioned to facilitate your children’s learning by cultivating a rich learning environment, both at home and in the community, using a variety of accessible resources. Trust that homeschooling will offer your family the freedom, flexibility and focus on individualized learning to create a robust and engaging learning environment.

Try It Out
Experiment with homeschooling and its different approaches and see if it works for your family. Take it year-by-year, child-by-child and see how it goes.

Homeschooling is an option worth considering among the other schooling choices available. These simple start-up steps can help you begin to decide if homeschooling will fit your family.


Reprinted with permission from City Kids Homeschooling.


Kerry McDonald, M.Ed, lives in Cambridge with her husband and four children. She is passionate about child-led unschooling, Attachment Parenting, homebirthing, holistic health and natural, organic living. Kerry has a Master’s degree in Education from Harvard University.

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Finding Our Way to Homeschooling

Posted By Administration, Sunday, April 17, 2016

When my children were younger, I invested a considerable amount of energy into finding the best elementary school I could for them. At times this endeavor felt like a full-time job.

In addition to the usual concerns over private vs. public school, educational philosophies and tuition costs, I had a persistent, nagging sense that our day-to-day routine – the way we were already living – could continue to work well for my kids. They delighted in visiting libraries, museums and gardens. They soaked up information like sponges and shared what they learned freely and frequently with peers and adults alike. They had a natural learning pattern that fit their needs; at times deeply focusing on topics of interest at the expense of all other activities, and at other times wanting exposure to such an array of resources that it was as if they were six kids instead of two. I knew this dynamic would not be feasible even in the most flexible, child-directed school environment. Also, even though they both enjoyed structured environments in small doses, I knew neither their stamina nor their blood sugar levels were conducive to the typical modern-day kindergarten schedule. It felt a bit discouraging.

One morning at the playground, I struck up a conversation with another mom. She was reading a stack of books about homeschooling. I was surprised; she was neither religious, a hippie nor a libertarian, and therefore fit exactly none of the stereotypes I had rattling in my brain about what homeschooling, and therefore homeschoolers, looked like. In fact, she was quite a bit like me.

Intrigued, I hit the library. I found extensive titles on the topic and discovered that there are a wide variety of homeschooling methods, rather than homeschooling conforming to a one-size-fits-all model. Methods range from a structured, school-like model on one end to an exploratory, child-led model at the other, with numerous permutations in between. But, I wondered, what about socialization? Homeschoolers of all stripes cite this as their most asked question. Fortunately, in the Bay Area there is no lack of remarkable opportunities. There are many groups, classes, gatherings and special events available every day. The hardest part is choosing which event to go to and actually finding time to be at home! The numerous local homeschool groups center around educational philosophy, age group or geographical area. There are several dozen of these in San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Francisco and Alameda counties alone. Generally, these gatherings consist of at least one regular “park day” meet-up per week and an online message board. There are usually other scheduled or spontaneous activities as well.

These days, my children attend a variety of classes geared for homeschoolers. They take wilderness hiking, Spanish and science classes, as well as a nature class at a local garden conservancy. In the fall, they will also attend an all-day creative arts program once a week. Some of these are homeschool-specific classes offered by organizations that also offer educational programs to many audiences, such as the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy and Rock-it Science. Others, like the amazing Wild Child Freeschool, were created specifically for homeschooled kids. Additionally, we belong to a few close-knit and stimulating homeschool groups. At all of these activities, we are surrounded by others in a highly interactive and engaging way.

Just exploring the real world with me every day has instilled in my children a natural, comfortable way of communicating with adults and kids alike. They are confident and interested in engaging with people of all ages, and others frequently remark on this. If anything, my children experience more naturally occurring interactions on a daily basis than they ever would in school.

Although publicly I express that we take it year by year, I cannot foresee a time when a traditional school would seem like a more enriching, motivating environment than what we’re providing now. Maybe some day our future will include a brick and mortar school, but right now we are just so happy that it includes lots and lots of learning in the world together.

In California, it is fairly easy to homeschool. The legal ways to homeschool in this state include:

  • filing a private school affidavit form with the California Department of Education designating your own private school, or joining a private school satellite with someone who has already done this;
  • or, joining a charter school homeschooling program, which still enrolls your children in public school but you control the curriculum and learning can still be done at home;
  • or, enrolling your child in your local public school’s Independent Study Program, which makes your child an attendee of your local district, although learning is done at home, rather than at the school site;
  • or, hiring a credentialed tutor or teacher, which can include yourself if you have such credentials.

There are many excellent resources available for those who are interested in homeschooling. One I enjoyed was David Guterson’s account of homeschooling his children, Family Matters: Why Homeschool Makes Sense. Another resource I enjoyed is a TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson, an expert on education, creativity and innovation. He argues that schools based upon standardization squash creativity. He says that our world is so rapidly transforming, it makes little sense to educate kids toward the present-day workforce, and we should instead instead to allow them the freedom to learn in this ever-changing world.

In addition to the links mentioned above, here are just a few resources for people interested in exploring homeschooling:


Matilda Parrish is a homeschooling mom in San Jose. In addition to child-wrangling, she does freelance copyediting, volunteers at the library, keeps a book blog and writes fiction

Tags:  education 

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Oral Language and Early Literacy: A Good Beginning

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Even though it might feel strange at first to be talking and asking questions of a baby and toddler, oral language is the foundation for literacy development. Children who develop strong oral language skills during the preschool years create an important foundation for later achievement in reading, especially in reading comprehension (Storch and Whitehurst, 2002).

Babies and toddlers listen intently. Their brains are like sponges — ninety percent of brain development happens between zero to five years of age. It’s a remarkable transformation from baby to toddler in language development. First babies babble and by around six months old they master the sounds of their family’s language. Then they use first words and start stringing together several words. When they are between two and four years old, oral language grows dramatically. Older toddlers begin to put together sentences and use standard grammatical features. Of course, different children develop these skills at different rates, but talking and conversation with your baby or toddler creates the impetus for expanded language.

Here are some tips on early literacy and oral language:

1. Read to your child from birth and make reading part of your child’s bedtime routine.
2. Sing or say nursery rhymes, chants and other rhyming poems.
3. Explicitly describe what your child experiences and observes: colors, objects, etc.
4. Take your toddler with you (when possible) as you go about your daily activities and explain what you are doing and seeing: supermarket, other chores, etc.
5. When possible take your baby or toddler to language rich environments: library, zoo, nature walks, children’s museums, etc.
6. Ask your child open ended questions. Even from a young age, pose questions to your child that elicits his/her opinions. Try to draw out more than one word answers.
7. Model different language structures and use more complex sentences.
8. Act out stories and use dramatic play.
9. For three to five year old children, play matching and concentration games to foster memory and vocabulary.
10. Orally tell classic stories such as The Three Little Pigs and have your child participate whenever possible. Your child will also delight and be engaged in made up stories. As your child gets older, they can make up the end to your story.
11. When your child is ready, introduce book handling skills and directionality skills — such as point out the front and back of the book; the words go left to right; letters; etc

Be playful when you engage in literacy activities. Remember to emphasize sharing, mutual discovery and fun. Your enthusiasm will be contagious!

Dorothy Glusker is a Reading Specialist and Private Reading Tutor.

Tags:  child development  education 

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5 Activities for Fostering Creativity and Critical Thinking in Your Early Learner

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 13, 2016
As a parent, you are the single biggest influence and teacher in your young child’s life. So it’s no wonder parents often ask themselves, “Am I setting my child up for success?” However, the key to laying the foundation for academic success for your pre-kindergartener may be easier than you think.

Young, active minds are soaking up the world around them and it’s important to expose their natural curiosity to as many different activities and experiences as possible. We want our kids to possess a joyful love of learning, and discover different ways to harness their creativity and enhance their capacity to think critically. But those inspiring and challenging moments don’t always have to be outside the comforts of your own home.

Here are five fun activities you can do at home to foster creativity and critical thinking in your early learner:

When checking the weather becomes a regular routine with your child, you begin establishing any number of critical thinking skills: categorization, cause and effect, variable conditions – the list goes on. Keep a colorful chart to track and recognize days when the temperature gets colder and warmer and discuss why that might be happening. Is there a connection between clouds and weather? Are there clouds on sunny days? What about when it is raining? Take these observations and ask your child how they apply to specific actions. What clothes do we need today if it is really cold outside? What activities can we safely play outside in this weather?

Let’s be honest – 4-year-olds like getting messy. Put out a plate sprinkled with sugar and encourage them to practice writing numbers and letters, then have them try the same with shaving cream or rice. This helps students develop fine motor skills and is, of course, a ton of fun. How does your finger feel when you move it through the sugar rather than the shaving cream or rice? What do you notice about the texture of the different materials (smooth and cool shaving cream vs bumpy rice vs grainy sugar)? Why does the shaving cream keep its shape? Remember your compare and contrast essays in college? Same thing, but much gooier.

At bath time, talk about which toys sink or float. How many objects can you put onto a floating toy before it sinks? Bonus points to the parents who use terms like buoyancy and gravity! And I know some of us remember the old Letterman skit “Will It Float?” so more adventurous parents may want to extend the game to other household items. Old veggies sitting in your crisper? Dad’s sandals? Fair warning, if you play this game frequently, keep track of your iPhone at all times.

There are so many learning experiences to be had through cooking: measuring accurately with utensils of different sizes, working on numeracy and literacy, taste testing different foods for salty and sweet flavors, and hypothesizing what happens when cookies are left in the oven too long (and why!). Not only can you foster healthy food choices, but you plant images into your child’s memory that will help them quickly grasp states of matter, energy conversions, and algebra later on. If the recipe says we need three eggs, and we only have one, how many do we need to buy at the store?

You’d be surprised at how many different physics properties can be demonstrated with a yard stick and a few different balls. Show your preschooler how tilting the yardstick creates different slopes and affects how far balls will roll. What happens when you roll a marble versus a Ping-Pong ball? What happens when you roll the ball on a rug versus a smooth surface? Speed, acceleration, friction, inertia – these concepts aren’t scary the way they might seem in most high schools, and your preschooler can prove it to you!

Kate Briscoe is Director of Early Learning for BASIS Independent Schools. This fall BASIS Independent Fremont will open to kindergarten – 5th grade featuring a highly acclaimed liberal arts, STEM-focused curriculum.

Tags:  child development  education 

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Membership Tips – Activities for Older Kids, Too

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Spring is just around the corner and it’s the perfect time of year to get those kiddos outdoors and active! Did you know that PAMP offers events designed for kids of different ages? This month’s membership tips article will highlight events that are fun for the older kids in your family.

Super Soccer Stars takes place every Sunday and is designed for kids up to age 7. Bring your future star to Mitchell Park to learn the game from scratch or hone skills in a fun, non-competitive environment, featuring a low coach-to-player ratio.

The My Gym Siblings Class meets bi-weekly and welcomes children up to age 6, along with their siblings. This fun class promotes movement and creative learning, as well as encouraging positive family interactions.

Do you have a child whose eyes light up every time a fire truck rushes by? Do they go running at the sound of sirens? PAMP offers Firehouse Tours on a quarterly basis of different area firehouses. Kids up to age 10 are welcome to get an up-close look at the big, red engines, ask a firefighter questions and get see what life is like at a real fire station. Since some tours require that participants be at least 4 years old, this is also an ideal outing just for older siblings.

The PAMP Family Farm days are one of our newest events. The whole family is invited to spend a fun-filled morning at Pastorino Farms by Half Moon Bay. The farm is open to PAMP members only and kids of all ages will enjoy a wide range of farm-activities. Pony rides, a petting zoo, bounce houses and hayrides are just a few of the things that await you at the farm.

Also one of PAMP’s newest offerings, our Bounce house events are another great way to meet other PAMP families and let your kids work out some serious energy! Kids of all ages can bounce to their heart’s content and catch their breath while listening to a story time or other live entertainment during the event.

Finally PAMP’s annual Family Day welcomes the whole family for a fun day of food, live entertainment and a wide range of kid’s activities. This event takes place every summer and is sure to please children at all stages of development.

As always, be sure to look for all of the above events on the PAMP calendar. We hope to see you and your child soon at one of them!

Tags:  member tips 

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Jewelry and Kids: A Guide To a Healthy Combination

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Whether you wear jewelry only once in awhile or daily, chances are your child will soon be intrigued by the flashy, colorful pieces they see in your jewelry drawer. The decision to let your kids wear jewelry is tricky because you want to keep them safe from harm – and some jewelry can be risky. Here is what you should know before you let your precious babies wear bling.

Daily Wear Can Be Dangerous
Before you purchase an item of jewelry for yourself, chances are you consider your lifestyle. Well, before you put your trinkets on your children you should also think about their lifestyle – and it’s an active one! Children like to run and play, and this can cause the jewelry they wear to get damaged or – even worse – it can cause them to hurt themselves. A long necklace can fly up into their face while they’re running or they could scratch themselves (or another child) with a bracelet.

If it’s a once-in-a-while occasion for your children to wear jewelry, such as if you’re going to a fancy event and your child is accompanying you, then this makes it safer. This is also because they’ll be on their best behavior. Avoid letting them wear jewelry daily, such as if they’re going to the park or with friends. Even small earrings could catch onto something or tear their earlobes, so be careful.

Choose Safer Pieces
Maybe your children are getting older and are interested in owning jewelry of their own. In such cases, make sure that the pieces of jewelry are safe for them. This includes checking that the item of jewelry doesn’t have any sharp points that can cause scratches. If your children are really small, don’t let them wear pieces that are small or could come undone (such as charms on a necklace) as these are choking hazards.

Avoid Allergies
Although you might be keen to give your children costume jewelry so that they don’t damage anything too expensive, bear in mind that there are allergy risks as well as toxic reactions associated with this. Follow these rules:

  • Don’t let your children wear anything with lead as it can have serious health effects, such as increased blood pressure, organ damage and nervous system problems. A study found that inexpensive jewelry is often full of lead, while even jewelry pieces that are labelled as being sterling silver can contain this dangerous metal. The fact that really small children tend to put everything in their mouths makes it even more important to keep them away from jewelry that has toxins in them which accumulate in the body.
  • Avoid items containing cadmium. This is often used as an alternative to lead but it can be just as dangerous. Cadmium is a heavy metal and studies have found that children who have higher levels of it in their bodies have three times greater chance of experiencing learning disabilities. Again, cadmium has been found in inexpensive jewelry.
  • Avoid items made of brass, copper or nickel as these are associated with allergies such as irritation on the skin.
  • Your best bet is to stick to surgical stainless steel, gold or titanium. Avoid silver- or gold- plated jewelry as these could contain other metals underneath them and which could also be bad for sensitive skin. This is also the rule when having your baby’s ears pierced. Bear in mind, however, that infections from infant piercings are common, and can include puffiness, redness, as well as pus, so it’s worth waiting for them to get older.

When kids start asking if they can wear your jewelry, start introducing them to jewelry. Avoid letting really small babies wear jewelry, however, as this can be more hazardous, especially since they’re small and their skin is more sensitive. When children are older, teach them about being careful with their jewelry and be sure you’ve chosen pieces that are safe for them according to the above tips.

Naomi Shaw lives in Southern California with her husband and three kids. She is a free-lance journalist and stay at home mom that enjoys writing on fashion, beauty, jewelry, and parenting.

Tags:  fashion 

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