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baystateparent FREE

JANUARY 2018

Massachusetts’ Premier Magazine For Families Since 1996

PARENTS PUSH FOR LATER SCHOOL START TIMES HOW TO TURN AROUND A TOUGH SCHOOL YEAR

The Education Issue STUDY: PARENTAL CONTROL LACKING ON STREAMING PLATFORMS


Cornerstone Academy Educating all learners in grades K-6 An elementary preparatory school that celebrates the individual.

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BAYSTATEPARENT 3


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BAYSTATEPARENT 5


Child Development Network Offering an Executive Function Clinic What is the Executive Function Clinic? The clinic provides focused testing for children with suspected attention and executive function problems, or an established attention problem (ADHD). Children that would benefit from the clinic are: • Children that have been diagnosed with ADHD and need testing to confirm the diagnosis, identify supports needed at home or school, or assess whether medication improves attention skills. • Children suspected of having ADHD or executive function problems and testing is needed to confirm the diagnosis or identify necessary supports.

The CDN network of doctors provides expert clinical care for... Diagnostic Evaluations & Education Consultation/Advocacy: • Autism Spectrum Disorders • Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity

• Dyslexia/Learning Disorders • Executive Function Skills

Treatment and Therapy: • Executive Function Skills Training • Coping Skill Development 6 JANUARY2018

• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Child Development Network, Inc. Lexington, MA 781-861-6655 www.CDNKids.com


table of contents JANUARY 2018 VOLUME 22

12

Oh, The Places You’ll Go January Calendar Of Family Events

30

NUMBER 9

Parents, Lawmakers Push For Later Public School Start Times

Play — Year-Round 10 Sensory Fun and Creative Learning

Jasmine Photography by Stephanie Piscitelli bellinipics.com Hair & Makeup provided by Gary Croteau Clothing provided by The Measure

The Education Issue

in every issue

Features

8

ADD TO CART: Our Favorite January Products

30

Parents, Lawmakers Push For Later Public School Start Times

10

Sensory Play — Year-Round Fun and Creative Learning

9

THE THINKING PARENT: Just One Bake Sale Away From a Breakdown

33

4 Skills Students Need for High School Success

28

12

OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO: January Calendar Of Family Events

34

How To Turn Around a Tough School Year

Breastfeeding in Public: An Important Right for Every Mom and Baby

44

ASK THE EXPERT: Inside Key First-Aid Skills for New Parents

36

42

Autism and Education: What Can You Expect From Your Town’s School System?

New Program Helps OpioidAddicted Parents Strengthen Their Families

45

JANUARY’S CHILD: Meet Maxxon

46

Social Media 101: How to Keep Kids Safe

45

CIRCLE OF FRIENDS: January Area Adoption Events

47

New Study Finds Streaming Platforms’ Parental Controls Severely Lacking

48

DIVORCE & CO-PARENTING: 4 Ways to Improve Co-Parenting This Year

50

TAKE 8: Newbery Award-winning author/ illustrator Victoria Jamieson

meet team president and publisher KIRK DAVIS

associate publisher KATHY REAL 508-749-3166 ext. 331 kreal@baystateparent.com

38

Families Can Find the Key to a Great School Year at Their Local Library

ripe

creative

24

How Family-Style Meals Inspire Healthy Eating

Follow us to page 25! advertising

editor in chief MELISSA SHAW 508-865-7070 ext. 201 editor@baystateparent.com

director of sales REGINA STILLINGS 508-865-7070 ext. 210 regina@baystateparent.com

creative director and events coordinator PAULA MONETTE ETHIER 508-865-7070 ext. 221 pethier@holdenlandmark.com

account executive KATHY PUFFER 508-865-7070 ext. 211 kathy@baystateparent.com

senior graphic designer STEPHANIE MALLARD 508-865-7070 design@baystateparent.com

account executive MICHELLE SHINDLE 508-865-7070 ext. 212 michelle@baystateparent.com

account executive CHEYRL ROBINSON 508-865-7070 ext. 336 crobinson@holdenlandmark.com

baystateparent is published monthly 22 West Street, Millbury, MA 01527 508-865-7070 It is distributed free of charge throughout Massachusetts.

BAYSTATEPARENT 7


add to CART The coolest stuff we found online this month

If there are two things parents need, it’s a convenient place to put stuff and a way to move it. You can find both in the aptly named CleverCrate. Lightweight, yet durable, when not in use it folds down to less than 3 inches tall. Useful throughout the house, it’s also a slam dunk for the trunk, providing a handy storage option on the go, and one that takes up barely any space. $12.99 and up. clevermade.com.

Bringing food to a party, tailgate, or potluck, but there’s no oven to heat it up? Hot Logic has you covered with its 9x13 All-In-One Family Size Hot Logic Cooking System. Known for its famous Mini model, the Family Size holds a 9x13 glass dish in an insulated carrier, which sports a cooking element at the base. When you’re ready to start cooking or heating up food, plug in the carrier and the cooking element uses low-slow conduction heat to cook, reheat, and hold food hot for hours without over-cooking, burning, or drying out. $79.95. hotlogicmini.com.

Do you or your daughter want curls without the red-hot iron? Check out SoCal Curls, the low-heat hair tie that delivers chemical-free curls in 30 minutes. Pop the hair tie in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, then tie it around your head — just above your forehead — and wrap sections of hair around the tie, Friar Tuck-style. Thirty minutes later, untie and, voila, effortless curls. $18.99. socalcurls.com.

Stay connected with loved ones in a whole new way with Nixplay Iris, a Wi-Fi cloud-connected frame that displays the photos of your choice, anywhere in the world. Snap and share photos instantly from your phone or grab them from your social media accounts — either way, new pictures appear in your loved one’s frame immediately. Why give Grandma a frame with one static picture, when the pictures can change as much as you like? $199.99. nixplay.com.

Add some unique beauty to your desktop, countertop, or any surface with a Treasure Vessel. These one-of-a-kind containers are made of eco-friendly resin, contain shining grains of sand, and can hold anything from a plant, to pencils, to paper clips. $14.99 and up. oyeahgifts.com.

Move over trick candles, kids and parents will get a kick out of Let Them Eat Candles — chocolate candles that can be eaten once the wick is removed. Imagine your child’s face the next time you have a candle occasion. Light the candle, blow it out, then try to keep a straight face as you remove the wick and take a bite in front of the kids. $11.95. letthemeatcandles.com. 8 JANUARY2018


THE THINKING PARENT

Just One Bake Sale Away From a Breakdown BY ERIKA CLOUTIER

“So, what are you doing for yourself?” The mom I was talking to had just shared the details of her upcoming week, and I honestly wondered how she planned to fit it all in: appointments for her children and obligations for her job, keeping up the house, volunteering at school, taking on a project at work that “no one else wanted,” having dinner at her in-laws’, making cookies for the bake sale, helping a friend move, and still finding time to eat, sleep, and perhaps, go to the bathroom once or twice a day! She laughed. “I don’t have time for me.” As a family support and training worker and an active graduate student clinician, I often ask this question to parents, and I nearly always get the same response. As a society, we have somehow defined “good parents” as those who run their kids around to practices and clubs, donate to all the bake sales, send in treats for holidays, volunteer for every school project, become PTA president, and spend every free moment making sure their children don’t miss out on anything. By default, our society of “good parents” are losing touch with what really matters. As it turns out, all that running around for your kids pales in comparison to the importance of taking care of yourself first. Recent studies in journals such as The Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing and the Journal of Child and Family Studies, show there is a direct link between parental stress and a child’s quality of life. Collectively, researchers examined the connections between a variety of populations and life-stressors, and all have come to the same conclusion: When parents are stressed-out, their children are not as successful in school (academically, socially, or behaviorally) and have more difficulty regulating their emotions. Parents who are stressed may be more reactive to their children’s behaviors, may spend less time

bonding and creating positive memories, or may have difficulty modeling healthy ways to deal with stress and intense emotions. When a child responds with challenging behaviors, the parents become more stressed, thus creating an ugly cycle. Thankfully, parents can break this cycle by having more fun and taking care of themselves first. “But, I don’t know where to begin, I haven’t done anything for myself in years.” What made you happy when you were younger and had less responsibility? Did you play sports or an instrument, go out dancing, or like to draw? Consider joining a rec sports team in your community or taking a drop-in art class at a local library. Try something new. (Who knows? You might actually enjoy belly dancing! Or at least have a few giggles.) Taking care of yourself does not need to be extravagant or a long-term commitment. It just has to be something you enjoy and doesn’t cause you extra stress. “I can’t afford to do things for myself.” The library is a fabulous resource for free activities. They also offer passes, providing free or reduced admission to museums and other places of interest. The events tab on Facebook and events calendar on many community websites are other great places to find free or cheap events going on locally. Often as parents, we spend a lot of money on things our children want to do, such as dance classes, sports fees, and the newest Nikes. We need to recognize that taking care of ourselves is worth our child taking two dance classes instead of three or buying their sneakers at Walmart rather than Olympia Sports. “I don’t have time to do things for myself.” If baking cookies for every bake sale and chaperoning every field trip doesn’t bring you joy, replace it with something that benefits you and your child. Make a list of everything that fills your day and decide which commitments cause you stress. Although

some are unavoidable, such as going to work, it’s likely there are others you can eliminate. Or consider including the children in things you enjoy, such as painting or hiking. Create memories and lower your stress at the same time. “I hear you, but thinking about stress is stressful.” Any change from what you are used to can be a lot of work. Start small if you must, but start. Play music you enjoy while you are cleaning the house, listen to a book on CD while you are driving your children from appointment to appointment, make a face at yourself in the mirror and laugh. You might find that enjoying

moments becomes contagious, and doing more for yourself becomes easier. Erika Cloutier is a graduate student counselor at the Becker College Counselor Training Clinic, where she sees adults, adolescents, couples, and children with a variety of behavioral and mental health challenges. To schedule and appointment with Erika or another skilled counselor or inquire about the reduced fee services available at the CTC, contact Clinic Director Dr. Beth Greenberg at 508-373-9752.

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BAYSTATEPARENT 9


Photos courtesy Jodi Healy

Sensory Play Provides

Year-Round Fun and Creative Learning BY JODI HEALY

W

ater play or water tables evoke thoughts of summer fun, but sensory tables can be used all year-round — outside or inside. Sensory tables enable exploration, discovery, and experimentation with all types of materials, such as earth and water. Children investigate, explore, and create. By pouring and feeling it, they learn how water moves, and experience concepts, such as gravity, hands-on. Children learn through touch how to manipulate objects and their environments. They experience sensory exploration, develop math and science concepts, fine motor skills, and more. A sensory table may seem like a simple resource, but when used properly, it is one of the best investments and tools an early educator or a parent can make. I purchased two sensory tables from environments.com, a shorter one (18 inches high) for when they were really small, and a larger one (24 inches high with an 8-inch-deep tub) when my oldest turned 4. When you purchase a sensory table, size matters, because toddlers will not be able to reach into a tall table. A child should be able to stand up naturally 10 JANUARY2018

and reach in easily to touch the bottom. My oldest is almost 5 feet tall and can still use the large table for play. However, if there is not enough space for a sensory table, or you have budget restraints, buy a large, flat, plastic storage bin or any large plastic container (no taller than 8 inches for the safety of young children). Buckets also work for smaller areas. A sensory table doesn’t require elaborate planning or fancy projects to keep children interested. I have seen wonderful ideas and books on related activities, but with three children I rarely had the time to set up and do them. Instead, I used simple things as a base, like water or sand, and added other items that would spark their imagination. Regardless of the material — sand, water, snow, uncooked pasta, etc. — all you need to do to keep it interesting, new, and fun is weave in various materials: measuring cups, bottles, bowls, and any other type of plastics from the kitchen. Children love anything that can measure, fill, dump, splash, sift, poke, pour, squirt, squeeze, or simply hold a substance. For water, anything that can shoot water (water gun, turkey baster, oral medicine syringes from the phar-

macy, etc.) is a hit. Sometimes I hid things in the sand or snow, like coins or smooth glass pieces I had from an unused mosaic kit. The girls pretended they were pirates finding treasure. They loved using strainers or just digging in the sand with their fingers. They would then take turns hiding the “jewels” and finding them. These jewels also were sorted and organized, and placed in a hierarchy of most valuable to least valuable (all with no adult intervention). I rotated in marbles or dinosaur bones from another unused kit. Now they were archaeologists; I was shocked when my oldest used that word at age 6. Adults do not need to teach or orchestrate play, just facilitate it with the right tools. I stole the idea of a sandbox filled with dried corn from a fair I attended, and used it in my water tables for pouring, touching, or as a road for toy trucks. My kids loved it. Be sure to use it outside first because the corn gets dusty. You can buy corn, or even bird seed, at any local farm or animal supply store. I also incorporated other props while using a sensory table, such as a small baby pool, different-sized buckets, or bins. I usually had one or

two plastic kitchens (which I found on the side of the road) that I kept outside. When the table was full of sand, a few buckets, and a hose, the kitchen would change from pretend play to experimental play, “cooking” with dirt, rocks, and sticks. Expect a mess: Mud pies, nature soups, dirt sandwiches — all mixed with grass, rocks, and twigs — will create one, but little scientific minds will be growing and creativity flourishing. The jobs get messy, and children should be encouraged to do so. During indoor play and colder days, I would set up the sensory table in the kitchen or mud room. I tried to use the sensory table two or three times a week, especially when the children were in preschool part-time. The table was filled with water, sand, Play-Doh, Floam, Magic Sand, snow, leaves, pasta, rocks, bubbles, flour, corn, rice, or anything that is safe to touch and explore with little fingers. And eat: Children love to drink the water, eat the snow or pasta (even raw). Make sure items are clean and edible (if eaten), and if not, that a child is old enough not to put them in his or her mouth. Water was the most frequent and easiest to set up; it is also an easy resource to change with food coloring


or by adding bubbles. Food coloring is great in snow. Maple syrup is super fun and tasty in the winter, and can be scooped up with little spoons or popsicle sticks. Heating it up makes the snow melt a little and is a great, sticky treat. Get creative, throw things in, and watch the children explore. When the weather is warm, I left the table outside in the driveway for weeks. I alternated between water and beach sand that I brought home in a bucket from the ocean. Beach sand is very fine and great for straining and pouring. Water play is always easy and effective. Set it up full of measuring cups, a few plastic storage containers, and plastic oral medicine syringes from the pharmacy. A hose will host hours of fun: water games, car washes, pouring jobs, splashing, water fights, “bathing,” and more. Combined with a hose, sprinkler, or an outdoor plastic kitchen, a sensory table and a few buckets transform a driveway into a water park. Often my children put the water table on the ground, filled it, sat in it, dumped it to make a stream to lay in,

pretended it was a pool or boat, and more. Most of these scenarios my children created, I simply provided the tools. We also mixed up activities with bubbles, food coloring, sponges, Q-tip, old rags, sprayers, and even paint brushes. Painting with water is super fun. Cutting up a sponge or rags into small pieces adds an element of play, whether playing car wash with toy cars, their bicycles, or helping wash the family car. Children also love things their size, like little bars of soap. Published Author Jodi D. Healy is a mother of three with more than 20 years’ experience in the field, with a B.A in psychology and M.Ed. Her recent books, Create a Home of Learning, the Jesse True series, and The Dirt Girl, are available at createahomeoflearning.com.

Material Ideas for Sensory Play Base Material • Water • Snow • Play-Doh • Sand (play sand, beach sand, Moon Sand) • Ice • Different types of seeds (bird seeds) • Corn • Flour and water • Shaving cream • Oobleck (cornstarch and water) • Weeds and grass with roots • Shredded paper, confetti • Slime • Foam packaging • Shells, pebbles, stones • Collection of things that shine: mirrors, CDs, flashlights • Broken toys or items to take apart • Potting soil (without chemicals) • Magnets and metals (cans, tools)

Rotate In • Measuring cups • Measuring spoons and utensils • Different types of bottles (plastics and recyclables work well) • Sifters and colanders • Tweezers and egg cartons for sorting • Straws • Balls, marbles • Small plastic toys for hiding • Colanders, sieves, pitches, colanders • PVC piping • Digging shovels, buckets, cups • Food coloring • Pipe cleaners, Q-tips, popsicle sticks • Paint brushes • Bugs or sea creatures, collections • Toy cars • Beach toys

BAYSTATEPARENT 11


OH,

THE PLACES YOU’LL GO

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! - Dr. Seuss

Icy Investigations. The Discovery Museums, Acton. Jan. 6. 12 JANUARY2018

Photo courtesy of Worcester Art Museum

Photo courtesy of The Discovery Museums

baystateparent’s KidsCon & Camp Expo. Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center, Marlborough. 11 a.m.- 4 p.m., Jan. 27.

WAM Family Tour. Worcester Art Museum. Jan. 6.

Celebrate Smoky and Bubba’s Birthdays. Stone Zoo, Stoneham. Jan. 19.


OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! MELTDOWN WARNING: Before you pack up the minivan, please confirm your destination. Although we’ve done our best to ensure accuracy at press time, things can and do change.

1 Monday

Get active and participate in a family-friendly Zumba class for kids and grownups, incorporating salsa, merengue, tango, and other dance styles. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, ages under 1 free. bostonchildrensmuseum.org.

Family Trees: A Celebration. Concord Museum, 200 Lexington Rd., Concord. 9 a.m.5 p.m. Enjoy 30 fanciful trees of all shapes and sizes, decorated with original ornaments inspired by acclaimed children’s storybooks and contemporary picture book favorites. Members free; nonmember adults $15, children 4 and up $6, children under 4 free. concordmuseum.org.

Icy Investigations. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Drop in and experiment with different types of salt and watercolors as you explore the unique characteristics of this solid state of water. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org.

Hike into the New Year for Families. Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, 414 Massasoit Rd., Worcester. 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Hike or snowshoe on the sanctuary looking for tracks and signs of wildlife, then enjoy coffee and cocoa. Register ahead. Members free; nonmember adults $6, children $4. massaudubon.org.

Learn to Play the Ukulele. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. Join accomplished singer, songwriter, and musician Julie Stepanek, as she teaches us how to perform and strum up a good tune. For ages 8 to 10. Register ahead. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net.

Everybody Loves Pirates. Puppet Showplace Theater, 32 Station St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. Follow Lucy and her goofy pal Little Chucky as they search for buried treasure, while confronting bumbling pirates, Lobster Boy the superhero, and more seafaring friends. Members $10, nonmembers $15. puppetshowplace.org. First Day Hike. Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Rd., Harvard. 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Kick off a healthy, active, nature-filled New Year with this First Day Hike on the trails of the Fruitlands Museum, filled with facts and a visit to our archeological site. Register ahead. Members free; nonmembers $5. thetrustees.org.

2 Tuesday Take Aparts Jr. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in and grab some tools as we discover the resistors, capacitors, gears, and more inner workings of household gadgets and gizmos. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org. Especially for Me: Sensory-Friendly Afternoons. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Explore the entire campus at your own pace, with limited crowding and dedicated quiet spaces. Register ahead. Free. discoverymuseums.org.

3 Wednesday WAM Stroller Tours. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. 10:30 a.m.11:30 a.m. Take a look around the art in our galleries followed by a special story time and light refreshments following the tour. For ages up to 3 and their siblings. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $16, youths ages 4 and up $6, ages 3 and under free. worcesterart.org.

4 Thursday Snip and Tear. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Show off

Debbie and Friends. Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline. Jan. 7.

your scissor skills, try cutting for the first time, or use your hands to tear a collection of confetti. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org. Upbeat Music. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 3:15 p.m.-4:15 p.m. Enjoy this exciting rhythmic music and movement class, featuring multicultural drumming patterns, a variety of instruments, and movement and dance explorations. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org.

5 Friday Music and Movement with Miss Bernadette. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 9:30 a.m.-10 a.m. Move, make music, listen, learn, and get a multi-sensory workout during this exploration of sound through singing and playing. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org. National Bird Day: Eat Like a Bird. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Celebrate National Bird Day as we use tweezers, pliers, and more for bird beaks, and create a tasty, nutritional snack to help keep our feathered friends full through the winter months. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org. First Friday Nights Free. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 4:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Explore the museum as we accept non-perishable food donations for the Acton Food Pantry, and Open Table of Concord and Maynard. Free. discoverymuseums.org.

6 Saturday Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (1971). Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. Melissa Stewart, author of more than 180 children’s books, will introduce this scrumdiddlyumptious musical fantasy film starring Gene Wilder with an interactive talk about the complex and surprising interactions of rain-forest creatures needed to bring the world chocolate bars. After the film, she’ll be signing copies of her book No Monkeys, No Chocolate. 120 minutes. Recommended for ages 5+. Tickets $5 adults, $5 children. coolidge.org. Charlotte’s Web. Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge. 10 a.m. The American Repertory Theater brings to life E.B. White’s beloved story following a “radiant” pig and the spider who kept him safe. Through Sunday. $15-$20. americanrepertorytheater.org. Families @ WAM Tour. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. 10:30 a.m.-11 a.m. Explore the Worcester Art Museum galleries on a docent-guided discovery tour, as you hear fun facts, enjoy stories, and spend time together. Free. worcesterart.org. Beyond the Spectrum: Art in 3D. Museum of Fine Arts: Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Join us as we take a look at some of the largest pieces of art at the MFA from above, below, and all around, before we venture in turning recycled materials into our own works of art during this adventure in art for children on the Autism Spectrum. Register ahead. $9. mfa.org. Zumba Kids. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 11 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

Arms + Armor Demonstrations. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. 11:30 a.m. & 2 p.m. Learn about different kinds of arms and armor used by Roman soldiers, Medieval knights, and more. Free. worcesterart.org. LEGO Block Party. Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington. 2 p.m.3 p.m. Drop in and build with our LEGO bricks. Free. carylibrary.org.

7 Sunday Debbie and Friends. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m. Enjoy a diverse array of rock, pop, reggae, and Broadway-esquire tunes as well as puppets, a live-performance cartoon, and the sensational song stylings of Debbie and Friends. Recommended for ages 2 and up. Adults $13, children $10. coolidge.org. Nature and Nurture with Miss Bernadette. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Explore the great outdoors as we sing songs, take a nature walk, read a story, or make a craft designed to discover the wonders of nature. Designed for ages 2 to 4. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org. Winter Art. Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Learn to paint snow and build exciting snow sculptures, as we use natural objects to create take-home art pieces and temporary displays. For families with children ages 5 to 12. Member adults free, children $5; nonmember adults free, children $7. massaudubon.org.

8 Monday Kiddie Music Time. Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Join the Monument Square Community Music School BAYSTATEPARENT 13


OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! Photo by Brett Crawford, Courtesy of Brookline Arts Center

as we introduce kids to classic and original music, songs, percussion, instruments, and dance during this interactive class. Recommended for ages 5 and under. Free. leominsterlibrary.org. Puppet Pals. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 2 p.m.-2:45 p.m. Join us for songs, stories, and lots of puppet friends, during this special story-time and crafternoon. For ages 3 to 5. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net. Family Fun Night: Let It Snow. Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster. 6 p.m.7 p.m. Listen to stories before investigating and making snowflakes, constructing a paper sledding ramp, and playing the Snowball Freeze game. For ages 3 to 7. Free. leominsterlibrary.org.

9 Tuesday Celebrate National Static Electricity Day. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in for some shocking and mysterious experiments as we spark our creativity by testing and exploring electric charges on various materials. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org. Sensory Storytime. Worcester Public Library: Main Branch, 3 Salem Sq., Worcester. 11 a.m.12 p.m. Enjoy this interactive and educational program combining books, songs, movement, and activities, designed especially for children with sensory integration challenges. Recommended for ages 2 to 6. Free. mywpl.org. Winter Crafts with Communities United. Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington. 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Practice your fine motor skills and get crafty with some winterthemed fun. For ages 3 to 6. Register ahead. Free. carylibrary.org. Backyard and Beyond: Winter Scavenger Hunt. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m. Bundle up and get outdoors with us for a winter nature scavenger hunt on the Great Hill conservation land, and search for animals, insects, and plants. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org.

Snowflake Festival. Brookline Arts Center. Jan. 20.

10 Wednesday

admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org.

Wednesday Wonderings. Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Rd., Harvard. 10:30 a.m.11:30 a.m. Jump into nature as we stroll to the Wayside Visitor Center and hit the grounds and trails to explore the wonders of the natural world. Members free; nonmember adults free, children $5. thetrustees.org.

Winter Wonder: Mr. Snowman. Worcester Public Library: Main Branch, 3 Salem Sq., Worcester. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Celebrate the icon of the winter season, the snowman, through stories, poems, songs, and fun activities. For ages 3 to 5. Free. mywpl.org.

Kids in the Kitchen: Mystery Box Madness. Powisset Farm, 37 Powisset St., Dover. 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Join Chopped Junior Champion Charlotte Kilroy as we enjoy a culinary adventure designed to get kids’ creative juices thinking. Recommended for ages 10 and up. Register ahead. Member children $36; nonmember children $45. thetrustees.org.

11 Thursday Mirror, Mirror, What Do You See? The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in and join us as we play with different kinds of reflections and experiments by using mirrors to create symmetry, refract light, and expand fields of vision. Free with

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12 Friday Backyard and Beyond: Forest Fridays. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Join us for a nature-based activity following the weather and season, as we explore our Discovery Woods or the conservation land adjacent to the museums. Designed for ages 2 to 6. Fridays. Free with admission. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org. Wild by the Fire: Owls on the Prowl. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Meet an owl and go outside for an owl prowl, before warming up by the fire and having our own hootenanny. For ages up to 5. Register ahead. Members $12.50, nonmembers $15.50. massaudubon.org. Preschool Story & Nature Hour: The Mitten. Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, 113 Goodnow Rd., Princeton. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Enjoy an hour of nature-themed fun with your youngster, as we read “The Mitten”, make a special craft, and go on a hike through the sanctuary. For ages 2 to 5. Register ahead. Member children $3; nonmember children $4; adults free. massaudubon.org. Our City Block Party. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 6 p.m.8 p.m. Let’s make a happening scene on the streets of the Boston Black exhibit through music, dance, art, stories, play, and time together. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $1, ages under 1 free. bostonchildrensmuseum.org.

Take Aparts. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Drop in as we discover the inner workings of everyday electronics. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org.

13 Saturday

Spanish Bilingual Storytime. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 4 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Enjoy a special bilingual story time with songs, stories, and movement in English and Spanish. For ages 3 to 5. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Celebrate the life and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and learn about American history and how people can come together to make meaningful change through art, language, and other activities. Through Monday. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, ages under 1 free. bostonchildrensmuseum.org.

Fables & Fairy Tales. Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington. 7:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Enjoy this interactive story-time that brings fairytales to life. For ages 6 and up. Free. carylibrary.org.

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OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! Winter Backyard Birding and Crafts. Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Sling on binoculars and look for red cardinals, dark-eyed juncos, and blackcapped chickadees, before creating some seed and fruit art for the birds to enjoy. For ages 5 to 12. Register ahead. Member children $5; nonmember children $7; adults free. massaudubon.org.

13. Register ahead. Members $25, nonmembers $35. hmnh.harvard.edu. Cars 3. Worcester Public Library: Main Branch, 3 Salem Sq., Worcester. 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Join Lightning McQueen as he faces off against a new generation of racers, with a snack provided. Recommended for families with ages 12 and under. Free. mywpl.org.

Backyard and Beyond: Fire-making with ‘PrimiTim’. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Drop in as Tim ‘PrimiTim’ Swanson, a primitive-skills expert, teaches us the ancient skill of fire-making, and a variety of methods for producing a spark from using sticks to bow drills. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org.

14 Sunday

The Incredibles. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 2 p.m. Enjoy this Pixar Animation film following a family of superheroes who must deploy their powers to save one another from an evil villain. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net. Capturing Butterflies and Moths with Pencil and Paper. Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St., Cambridge. 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Explore the beauty of butterflies and moths, as we use close observation and various realistic drawing techniques to capture these animals and bring them to life. For ages 9 to

Shine On!: Animated Shorts. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m. Straight from the Children’s Film Festival Seattle, enjoy characters in sweet and funny films that ask the question “What makes you shine?” from a squirrel, to a stone lion, to a shy girl breaking outside of her shell. Adults $9, children $7. coolidge.org. Natural Papermaking. Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Shake off the late winter doldrums and join us for hands-on creativity, as we use scrap paper, and learn how to make stylized paper for journals and crafts. For ages 8 and up. Member children $5; nonmember children $7; adults free. massaudubon.org. Hands-On History. Concord Museum, 200 Lexington Rd., Concord. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy an afternoon for kids and families to learn

together through hands-on demonstrations. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $10, children 6 and older $5, ages under 6 free. concordmuseum.org.

15 Monday Morningstar Access. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 8 a.m.-10 a.m. Enjoy this time where children with special needs are given the opportunity to visit the Museum when there are few other visitors. Register ahead. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, ages under 1 free. bostonchildrensmuseum.org. Snowshoeing for Families. Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, 414 Massasoit Rd., Worcester. 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Head out on the trails despite the snow, as we look for signs of wildlife. For ages 5 and up. Register ahead. Member adults $8, children $4; nonmember adults $10, children $6. massaudubon.org. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Children’s Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Celebrate diversity and participate in learning activities commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and join in as we work together on a community art piece serving as a reminder of his dreams. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $9, ages under 1 free. childrensmuseumineaston.org.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Open House. Museum of Fine Arts: Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by surrounding yourself with art, culture, and community, featuring an array of vibrant programs, performances, and activities for all ages. Free. mfa.org. George Russell Jr. and Company: Clap Your Hands. JFK Presidential Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Boston. 10:30 a.m.11:30 a.m. Discover how spirituals, gospel, and folk-blues played an important role in both the Underground Railroad and the civil rights movement during this event in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Free. jfklibrary.org. Winter Fun Sledding Party. Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Rd., Harvard. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy hot cocoa, s’mores, an outdoor fire pit, and sledding runs down our many hills. Members free; nonmembers $5. thetrustees.org.

16 Tuesday Animal Camouflage. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 4 p.m.-5 p.m. Learn about animals that are able to vanish in plain sight. For ages 3 and up. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net. Daddy & Me Brain-Building Evening. Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leomin-

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OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! ster. 6 p.m.-7 p.m. Children and their fathers/ caretakers are invited for stories about sledding before we build wooden sleds using real hammers, nails, and paint. For ages 3 to 7. Register ahead. Free. leominsterlibrary.org.

17 Wednesday WAM Stroller Tours. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Take a look around the art in our galleries followed by a special story time and light refreshments following the tour. For ages up to 3 and their siblings. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $16, youths ages 4 and up $6, ages 3 and under free. worcesterart.org.

18 Thursday Doggy Days: Taking Care of Abby. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in as Abby the Therapy Dog joins us to demonstrate some of the things necessary to take care of a dog. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org.

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Winter Wonder: Bundle Up. Worcester Public Library: Main Branch, 3 Salem Sq., Worcester. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Enjoy stories, poems, songs, and activities embracing the chill in the air as we celebrate the season. For ages 3 to 5. Free. mywpl.org.

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Sweet Science. Worcester Public Library: Main Branch, 3 Salem Sq., Worcester. 4 p.m.-5 p.m. Drop in as we conduct experiments using all of our favorite candies, as we dissolve them, remove their color, and test them for acid. Recommended for ages 7 to 10. Free. mywpl.org.

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Wild by the Fire: Winter Rabbit. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Learn tracking tips and discover which rabbits are out and about, above and below the snow. For ages up to 5. Register ahead. Members $12.50, nonmembers $15.50. massaudubon.org. Family Game Day. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Drop in for family games and activities to share in quality time, while we provide building materials, games, and other activities for all ages. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net.

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Math + Stories: That Sums it Up. Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington. 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Start your weekend off with a fun, casual, math-themed story-time featuring games, songs, and participation. For ages 3 to 5. Register ahead. Free. carylibrary.org.

Celebrate Smoky and Bubba’s Birthdays. Stone Zoo, 149 Pond St., Stoneham. 10 a.m.2 p.m. Join brother black bears Smoky and Bubba in celebrate their 12th birthdays this January. Members free; nonmember adults $11.95, children ages 2 to 12 $8.95, children under 2 free. zoonewengland.org. MFA Playdates: Hard and Soft. Museum of Fine Arts: Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 10:15 a.m.-11 a.m. Bring your toddler to enjoy story time and looking activities in the galleries, followed by artmaking. Recommended for children ages 4 and under. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $25, youths ages 7 and up $10, children 6 and under free. mfa.org. Josh and the Jamtones. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m. Enjoy this interactive, ultra-powered dance party as Josh and the Jamtones perform infectious music featuring slick beat boxing, four-part vocal harmonies, and sing-a-longs. Recommended for ages 2 and up. Adults $14, children $10. coolidge.org. Tiny Trekkers: Wildlife is Everywhere. Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, 108 North St., Norfolk. 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Start your morning off right as we enjoy a special topic engrossing us in the natural world through crafts, activities, and laughter. For ages 3 to 6. Register ahead. Members $5, nonmembers $6. massaudubon.org. Around the World Adventures. Worcester Public Library: Main Branch, 3 Salem Sq., Worcester. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Discover our amazing world, as we learn about different countries and cultures through songs, stories, dancing, food, and more. Recommended for ages 4 to 7. Free. mywpl.org. Everyday Engineering: Tinfoil Ferries. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Drop in as we investigate floating by building tinfoil boats and loading them with pennies until they sink. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org. Snowflake Festival. Brookline Arts Center, 86 Monmouth St., Brookline. 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Join us for a wonderful, winter-inspired afternoon filled with artwork and activities for all ages. Free. brooklineartscenter.com. Busy Bees’ Wax. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Meet our beekeeper, find out why bees make wax, and come make candles and decorations to take home. For ages up to 5. Register ahead. Members $13.50, nonmembers $16.50. massaudubon.org. Andy & Judy Sing. Worcester Public Library: Main Branch, 3 Salem Sq., Worcester. 2 p.m.3:30 p.m. Join celebrated folk singers Andy and Judy Daigle for storytelling through song, guitars, banjos, harmonicas, and more. Free. mywpl.org.


OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! Philip Alexander Concert. Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington. 3 p.m.-4 p.m. Sing, play, grow, dance, and laugh, during this special concert featuring singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Philip Alexander. For ages 2 to 6. Register ahead. Free. carylibrary.org. Happier Family Comedy Show. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 3 p.m.-4 p.m. Join the heart of improv comedy in Western Mass during this family comedy show about letting creativity flourish. Recommended for ages 5 to 12. Member adults $9, youths $4.50; nonmember adults $10, youths $5. carlemuseum.org. Star Gazing Nights. Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, 293 Moose Hill Pkwy., Sharon. 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Join local astronomers for a look at the stars and other night objects through big telescopes when the skies are clear. For ages 6 and up. Free. massuaudbon.org.

21 Sunday Winter Nature and Art Discovery. Museum of American Bird Art, 963 Washington St., Canton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Enjoy a story, play, hiking through nature, and crafting during this exploration of our natural world. For ages 2 to 6. Register ahead. Member children $8, nonmember children $9, adults free. massaudubon.org. Boston Celtic Music Festival: Sunday Dayfest. The Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge. 12:30 p.m. Join Boston College Irish Dance, Highland Dance Boston, the Katie McNally Trio, and more during this all-ages Celtic Music Festival Sunday concert. Reservations recommended. $15. clubpassim.org. Fun with Animal Footprints and Signs. Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, 280 Eliot St., Natick. 1 p.m.-2:15 p.m. Explore Broadmoor looking for tracks and signs of otters, rabbits, deer, coyote, and more, as we look about for winter movement on the Sanctuary. For ages 6 and up. Register ahead. Member adults $12, children $6; nonmember adults $14, children $8, massaudubon.org.

22 Monday Library Craft Night. Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster. 6 p.m.-7 p.m. Join us in our PJs as we read books about winter, then make a snow craft and snow-cotton ball launcher. For ages 3 to 7. Register ahead. Free. leominsterlibrary.org. Chessmates. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Have fun playing chess with general instruction and open play, where all levels are welcome. For ages 6 to 9. Free. newtonfreelibray.net. Chinese Storytime. Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington.

7:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Enjoy this time filled with stories, songs, and fingerplays incorporating English and Chinese. For ages 2 to 6. Free. carylibrary.org.

23 Tuesday Dance and Movement Class. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 10 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Join the Joanne Langione Dance Center as it presents a music and movement class. For toddlers and preschoolers. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net. Tinker Tuesdays: Paper Drop. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Twirl, kerplunk, flutter, and bounce, as we try to make a piece of paper fall as many ways as possible during this morning activity. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org. Warm and Wooly. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Let’s take care of some of the momma ewes who need some pampering right before lambing time, as we feed them their evening hay, and then use their wool to make something soft for ourselves. For ages up to 8. Register ahead. Members $12.50, nonmembers $15.50. massaudubon.org.

24 Wednesday Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing. Notchview, 2241 Berkshire Trail, Dalton. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Get ready for another great year of winter fun through Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and programs designed for all ages. Prices vary. thetrustees.org.

25 Thursday Make a Mess: Explore Kinetic Sand. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in and discover the unique properties of this special material through squishing, sculpting, dripping, and experimenting. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org. On the Rise. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Mix, knead, and shape your dough for delicious country oat bread, and while it rises we’ll make butter to spread on your fresh, warm bread. For ages up to 8. Register ahead. Members $13.50, nonmembers $16.50. massaudubon.org. Winter Wonder: Winter Animals. Worcester Public Library: Main Branch, 3 Salem Sq., Worcester. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Animals adapt to the winter season in a variety of ways, so join us as we explore winter animals through stories, songs, and activities. For ages 3 to 5. Free. mywpl.org.

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Boston Celtic Music Fest. Club Passim, Cambridge. Jan. 21.

Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Warm yourself as the weather thaws, while we look about for turtles by the pond, hear turtle tales, and pretend what it would be like to spend the winter in bed. For ages up to 5. Register ahead. Members $12.50, nonmembers $15.50. massaudubon.org. Preschool Story & Nature Hour: Ice & Its

Crystals. Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, 113 Goodnow Rd., Princeton. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Enjoy an hour of nature-themed fun with your youngster, as we read a storybook, make a craft to take home, and go for a walk on one of the sanctuary’s beautiful trails. For ages 2 to 5. Register ahead. Member children $3, nonmember children $4, adults free. massaudubon.org.

Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center, 181 Boston Post Rd. W, Marlborough. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy entertainment, giveaways, music, and more, and get the latest info from top summer camps and family exhibitors. Groove to the Toe Jam Puppet Band! Have a science-filled blast with Kosmic Kelly! Face painting, balloon twisting, Mom’s Mall, and much more. Kids free. $5 per adult. Tickets sold at the door. baystateparent.com/kidscon.

Harvard Square Chocolate Tour. Harvard Square, Cambridge. 7 p.m. Bring your sweet tooth for an adventure through historical Harvard Square, filled with interesting stories, fun facts about chocolate, and plenty of samples. Through Sunday. $35. fareharbor.com.

27 Saturday Music Recital. Worcester Public Library: Main Branch, 3 Salem Sq., Worcester. 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Enjoy as music students from studio classes and public schools under the instruction of Israel Saldana perform a morning recital. Free. mywpl.org.


OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! KIBO Robots. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Enjoy this chance to program and decorate your own robot. For grades K through 2. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net. Winter Princesses Visit Franklin Park Zoo. Franklin Park Zoo, 1 Franklin Park Rd., Boston. 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Meet, sing, and enjoy story-time with your favorite winter princesses and solve clues to a fairytale-inspired scavenger hunt as you stroll through the Zoo, where fairy tale outfits are always encouraged. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $13.95, children ages 2 to 12 $11.95, children under 2 free. zoonewengland.org. Dental Health Awareness. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Learn how to take care of your teeth through proper tooth brushing and flossing to keep cavities away, and more with dental health professionals, during our Be Well Series showcase. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, ages under 1 free. bostonchildrensmuseum.org. The Science of Snow. Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Learn why all snowflakes are unique and discover how the properties of snow help animals survive in the winter, before putting on our chef hats and using science to mix up some natural ice cream. For ages 5 and up. Member children $5, nonmember children $7, adults free. massaudubon.org. Collection Spotlight. Concord Museum, 200 Lexington Rd., Concord. 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Enjoy an opportunity to share the history and stories of objects in the Concord Museum collection. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $10, children ages 6 and up $5, ages under 6 free. concordmuseum.org. Despicable Me 3. Newton Free Library, 300 Homer St., Newton. 2 p.m. Follow Gru and the crew as he must take on his hardest challenge in life — his family. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net. Winter Warmth. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Drop in as we test the insulation properties of feathers, fur, fat, and fleece, and see how leaves and dirt

provide insulation for nests and burros. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org.

28 Sunday The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, Jr. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m. Join the Traveling Geese Touring Company of Artbarn Community Theatre during this performance as Stanley Lambchop finds himself on an adventure around the world. Adults $13, children $10. coolidge.org. Strike a Pose: Green Screen Experience. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Rd., Lincoln. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Join us as we create comic costumes, select wacky backgrounds, and strike dynamic poses for the green screen, placing us on beaches, slopes, or in outer space. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $14, children 12 and under free. deCordova.org. The Bremen Town Musicians. Puppet Showplace Theatre, 32 Station St., Brookline. 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. Follow a donkey, a cat, a dog, and a rooster as they leave the farm to pursue their dreams of stardom through the skilled work of CactusHead puppets. $12. puppetshowplace.org. Tap a Tree. Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, 293 Moose Hill Pkwy, Sharon. 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Come design a tree label before taking a hike to the sugar bush, where we will use a hand drill to tap a tree, and listen for the first drops of sap. For ages 4 and up. Register ahead. Member adults $40, nonmember adults $50, children free. massaudubon.org.

29 Monday Toddler & Me Yoga and Movement. Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. & 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Join us for a fun-filled yoga play for active tots and preschools, featuring poses, songs, and movement that encourages little ones to embrace their unique expressions. For ages up to 3. Register ahead. Free. leominsterlibrary.org.

30 Tuesday Silly Storytime. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m. Join us for some giggles and chuckles as we read some silly stories together. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $12.50, ages under 1 free. discoverymuseums.org. Matt Heaton Family Singalong. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 10 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Join the Toddlerbilly Troubadour, Matt Heaton, as he brings his infectious energy and panache to songs, and instruments for all to enjoy. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net.

31 Wednesday Hidden Treasure. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Drop by the museum during this everyday art program using pop-ups and tabs to hide and reveal paper surprises to delight. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $9, youths $6, children under age 1 free. carlemuseum.org. Sleepy-Time Stories. Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington. 7 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Enjoy this time of stories, gentle activities with stuffed friends, relaxation exercise, and a good night tale, where your pajamas and favorite stuffed friend are welcome. Free. carylibrary.org.

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Hunter’s Grille and Tap at the Grafton Inn Harvest Grille Kummerspeck Leo’s Ristorante Lock 50 O’Connor’s Restaurant Paku Paku Peppercorn’s The Post Office Pub 308 Lakeside

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Wine Dinner Thurs. January 25 • 6 pm

How Family-Style Meals Inspire Healthy Eating BY LAUREN SHARIFI, RD LDN

S

erving up family-style meals is a growing trend. Not only does it cut back on food waste, but it also can help promote positive eating habits among kids. Growing up, my mother always served dinner family-style. This meant not only were we all sitting at the table enjoying a meal together, but we were also serving our own food from dishes on the table. Little did I know at the time that this was helping me develop healthy eating behaviors and habits that I have been able to take with me into adulthood and now share with my family. This method of serving food is becoming more common at day care centers, schools, and even restaurants. I don’t know about you, but I like having some control in what and how much I serve myself, and find I tend to overeat if I am served larger portions. The same goes for kids: They want some independence in their food choice. This independence can go a long way in getting them to try new foods and eat a larger variety of foods.

Why is family-style helpful in inspiring healthy eaters? 1. It allows kids to listen to their hunger and satiety cues. Believe it or not, kids will only take as much as they need. We as parents may think we know how much they will eat, but if we serve too much it may end up backfiring and pushing them to overeat. It could also overwhelm them and cause them to undereat. 2. It models healthy behaviors and eating choices as parents and

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encourages our kids to do the same. Even having an older sibling make a healthy eating choice can inspire younger kids to join along. 3. It allows kids to build motor skills, such as scooping, lifting, and pouring. It also helps children practice table manners by having them wait their turn to take food. So, if there is one new thing you can implement with your family this new year: Serve up dinner family-style. This can then extend to other meals during the day, as well. Here are some great meals to start with: • Build your own taco or burrito night. Place the filling and other toppings in individual dishes next to the tortillas on the table. Let everyone build his or her own taco or burrito. • Pasta dishes. Place pasta in one dish and the sauce and vegetable in separate dishes. Let everyone serve up as much of each. And remember, it’s OK if they only take the pasta! Lauren Sharifi is a registered dietitian nutritionist and food blogger at biteofhealthnutrition.com. Lauren works in private practice in Brighton at ASF-Peak Health (asfpeakhealth.com). She specializes in wellness and family/pediatric nutrition, and works with individuals and families to make healthy eating easy, enjoyable and sustainable.

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Cooked Pub BBQ: $14.99 St. Louis Style Ribs: ½ rack $13.99, Full $21.99 Bourbon BBQ Beef Brisket Dinner: $14.99 Combo Plate-1/2 Rack & Pulled Pork: $18.99 3 Way Combo: 1/3 Rack, Pulled Pork & Bourbon BBQ Beef Brisket: $22.99

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Quesadilla-$10.99, Chicken Fajita- $12.99, Beef Quesadilla- $12.99, Beef Fajita- $15.99

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(10 Oz. Min) with potato and veg. Available after 4p.m., While Supplies Last!

Rise And Shine Sunday Breakfast Buffet! Every Sunday Starting at 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. $13.99 plus tax & gratuity. Includes coffee & tea. Open for Holidays. Great for Family or Group Outings!

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CALL FOR RESERVATIONS BAYSTATEPARENT 23


Social Media

101:

How to Keep Kids Safe BY JUSTINE O’BRIEN

D

eciding when to let your children access social media platforms can be a little overwhelming, but Scott Steinberg, author of The Modern Parent’s Guide to Facebook and Social Networks, says parents can take simple steps to navigate the ever-changing digital landscape. If parents feel overwhelmed when it comes to social media and their children, what is their first step? The first thing parents need to do is research social networks and get a grip on what they’re capable of. When they do that, they’ll see that most social networks are not that hard to navigate, and you’ll know how to use about 70% of them after you’ve done this. It’s important to set household rules — what’s OK to use and when, who to interact with and when, and making sure these are healthy, positive conversations. Parents need to show their kids that they are open to listening to what they have to say. What would surprise parents about social media today? 24 JANUARY2018

Parents may be surprised by all of the positive influences. Social media offers a chance to meet people or learn about other cultures and information that they would otherwise not have the chance to; it’s a whole world of opportunities. Parents need to understand that [the internet] is a tool, and their experience is defined by how well you know how to use that tool. When not under watchful eyes, a determined kid is going to get around any safeguard. We need to educate kids to make smart decisions. Kids are going to encounter questionable stuff online when they’re not monitored. What should be parents’ biggest concerns? Lack of education and awareness. When the cat’s away, the mice tend to play. What are up-and-coming apps/ social media platforms people need to look out for in terms of their children? I try not to single out any specific

platform. There are a million music video apps or communication apps, like kik or whatsapp. The main point is that developers are constantly creating new sorts of socials. Parents should try to stay on top of who their kids are interacting with online.

parents, too. They have the chance to research insight and access to support groups and other online tools.

How do parents decide when/what age to allow kids on Facebook/ Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat/etc.?

You have to monitor, it’s not an “if,” it’s a have. It’s best to discuss this with your kids and to let them know you will be checking in on them. It’s also important to set those parental controls and guidelines. You can install software to monitor their actions, but it’s also important to respect their boundaries.

Most social media platforms advise that children can have access around age 13. It is generally still the parents’ decision, as they have a good idea as to how responsible their child is. It is important to set guidelines and rules, such as not bringing a smartphone back to their room. It’s up to the parent to decide when they feel their children are mature enough to handle these guidelines. Social media is constantly changing, how can parents stay on top of it? It’s important to remember that homework isn’t just for kids, it’s for

What are the best practices for parents’ monitoring their kids’ social media use?

Any final thoughts that parents should remember? The most important thing to remember is that social networks can be a tool for good. [Digital life] is not going away, and as parents we need to make sure we are involved in the digital aspects of their life, as well. It’s a much bigger playground.


get your fun on at...

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KidsCon & CAMP EXPO

Get a jump on summer fun! s y a w Givealore! Ga

Saturday, January 27 • 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center, Marlborough

puppets

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balloon twisting by Violet the Clown

face painting costume characters and more!

by Happy Face Painting

Kids are FREE! $5 per adult

Sponsored By

dancers provided by Giguere’s Dance Team. costumes provided by Magic World

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BAYSTATEPARENT 25


special appearances by...

All ages are encouraged to sing and dance along with The Toe Jam Puppet Band as they entertain with a unique combination of original songs and interactive storytelling. Get ready for a Car Wash, watch out for the Flying Laundry, and be prepared to laugh with glee, Toe Jam style! toejampuppetband.com

With over 35 years performing, Mr. Magic’s interactive performances always have the crowd enthralled, combining laughter, music, live animals, and magic. Performing over 250 shows a year, he mixes high energy and comedy to entertain all ages.

Animal Adventures is New England’s largest, privately owned animal rescue center of its kind. Operating out of Bolton since 1997, it began as an exotic animal rescue center and expanded into a family operated small zoo. The center takes in hundreds of unwanted or unable to be cared for animals each year. Open to the public for visiting, tours, classes, and events, they travel to present educational programs at schools, libraries, colleges, and more.

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AWAYS! IN FREE GIVE As a wacky, energetic scientist, Kosmic Kelly uses creative ideas to engage children of all ages on a variety of science topics. The “Spectacular Science Show” features some of the most exciting, engaging, kid-friendly science experiments. Kosmic Kelly teaches how to make; Fizzy rainbow volcanoes, elephant toothpaste, gaseous bubbling beakers, bubble snakes and more! Fun for the whole family. 26 JANUARY2018

have Each family will a chance to to WIN a weekend h, Smuggler’s Notc Vermont

ve a Each child will ha chance to win i passes, their choice of sk os, tickets to area zo d so toys, games, an much more!

...ou • Alpacca-Llips Farm • Apple Tree Arts practic • Back to Health Chiro • Bancroft School n • Barnes Portrait Desig • Battleship Cove • BelGioioso Cheese • Camp Marshall • Camp Stonewall • FMC Ice Sports e • Franklin School for th Performing Arts

Join us for a Your one stop resource for all things kids!


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KidsCon!

come to

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E SCHEDULE OF EY:V ALL DA

MAIN STAGE:

ventures 11:30 Animal Ad ic 12:00 Mr. Mag ly 12:30 Kayla Da lly Ke ic sm 1:00 Ko ic ag 1:30 Mr. M ventures 200 Animal Ad Puppet Band 2:30 Toe Jam Puppet Band 3:00 Toe Jam d ays announcen) 3:30 Giveaw ent to wi

t inting & Party Ar • Happy Face Pa e dg Po e ppet Hodg • Meet Giant Pu and clowning • Balloon twisting the Clown et ol around by Vi ets by Rosalita’s Pupp • Puppeteering racters • Costume Cha me room • Interactive ga e! • And lots mor

Kayla C. Daly is a board certified music therapist, licensed mental health counselor, adjunct professor and professional musician. She has been voted Worcester Magazine’s best female singer/songwriter, best female vocalist, and runner up for best up and coming band. She is the proud owner of Worcester Center for Expressive Therapies, which was 2016’s Reader’s Pick for Best Therapy Facility for Children with Special Needs. She loves to volunteer her time playing music at the St. Vincent’s Cancer and Wellness Center, as well as at her church on weekends.

es

(Need not be pr

: e d lu c in s r o it ib h x e ly d n ie r f y il m a • Super Soccer Stars our f ld or W • Magic y Town • Gibson’s Dairy Farm • Giguere Gymnastics ol • Goldfish Swim Scho Center • Gymnastics Learning • Happy Face Painting • Hi Ho Vacations • inBalance Chiropractic and Wellness • Juice Plus • Karen Amlaw Music • Kids Zone Dental • Learning Zone

e Services • Mediation Advantag its • Michael Stone Portra • National Dental Pulp Laboratory, Inc. Academy • New England Music pment Ctr. • Perkins Child Develo Day Camp • Pompositticut Farm • Rob Roy Hair Salons • Snip-Its • STEM Beginnings chool • Stepping Stone Pres

• Tedd hop • The Children’s Works e • The Hanover Theatr • Ultimate Obstacles • Violet the Clown • Wayside Athletic Club m • Worcester Art Museu r • Worcester Center fo Expressive Therapies

ways, a e iv g t, n e m in a a day of entert Sponsored By

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Simply Well Get recipes, parenting tips and more delivered right to your inbox.

Breastfeeding in Public: An Important Right for Every Mom and Baby BY GINA CICATELLI CIAGNE

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For breastfeeding moms in the United States, we have come to the point at which there is much more acceptance of nursing, yet there is still work to be done. According to a 2017 survey from the Centers for Disease Control, we are seeing the highest rate of women breastfeeding in our country (83%), yet many moms fear being ridiculed or publicly shamed for nursing in public. More awareness of breastfeeding and the myriad benefits have helped to normalize it somewhat, but there is still a feeling of unease with babies being breastfed in public. The 2017 Lansinoh Breastfeeding Survey found that 65% of moms said breastfeeding in public is “perfectly natural,” and 20% have been openly criticized for nursing in public. While breastfeeding is often seen as just feeding a baby, it is much more than that. The health benefits, such as lowering heart disease, obesity, allergies, asthma, certain cancers, diabetes, and more, last a lifetime for mom and baby. Breastfeeding impacts our health costs, insurance costs, and those related to preventive health measures; it is not just a nice thing to do. Many have asked: “When is it appropriate for mom and baby to nurse in public, and who should make that determination?” We say baby and mom should determine where nursing occurs, and if they happen to be out of the home, that is where they should nurse. It is important to remember that this is about feeding a hungry, growing, developing baby. Babies’ stomachs are very small when they are born, and when they pee and poop, they need a refill.

That is why they feed so often — and not always when it is convenient. It is about that baby and mother’s comfort. Having a healthier society should be a goal for all. Law is also on mom’s side, as federal, state, and local laws have been put in place to protect her rights to nurse in public. It is paramount that when laws are in place, they are upheld. I often pose this question to naysayers: Would you rather see a baby nursing in public (as moms are often discreet and few would know she is nursing) or hear a baby crying inconsolably? I say let the baby nurse, let the mom relax and feed her baby, and those who don’t understand or agree can look away. The more we see babies breastfeeding and images of it in our media, the more normal it will become. More laws to protect their rights ensuring the Affordable Care Act’s breastfeeding- and pumping-related mandates are being honored and followed by employers, and a more general sense of support and guidance are important components that will continue to make breastfeeding seen as acceptable by more people. We believe it is absolutely acceptable; it’s human milk for human babies. Gina Cicatelli Ciagne is a certified lactation counselor at Lansinoh, which has been providing breastfeeding supplies and support to mothers since 1984 (lansinoh.com).


The Education Issue 30 33 34

Parents, Lawmakers Push For Later Public School Start Times

36 38

Autism and Education: What Can You Expect From Your Town’s School System?

4 Skills Students Need for High School Success How to Turn Around a Tough School Year

Families Can Find the Key to a Great School Year at Their Local Library

BAYSTATEPARENT 29


THE EDUCATION ISSUE

Parents, Lawmakers Push For Later Public School Start Times BY DOUG PAGE

30 JANUARY2018


Mary Hamaker, a Southborough mom, lawyer, and president of the Massachusetts chapter of Start School Later, wants a law preventing the Commonwealth’s public high schools from starting classes earlier than 8:30 a.m., saying it’s the remedy to a significant health issue. “The pillars of being healthy include eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep,” Hamaker said. “We are delivering sleepdeprived children for four or more years, at a time when their brains are completely rewiring themselves. The level of stress and the pressure to perform is so much higher now, and when you’re sleep deprived, it’s harder.” Hamaker said she was scheduled to meet with a Beacon Hill legislator, whom she refused to name, about the proposed law, and the issue is gaining traction. A year ago, State Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) filed a bill that, if passed, would form a commission to study and recommend daily start times for Massachusetts public elementary and secondary schools. “We have a moral obligation to the young citizens of the Commonwealth to give them the best advantages of success, and if starting school after 8:30 in the morning will give them that advantage, we should at least be talking about it,” McMurtry said. “[My proposal] doesn’t call for a change. It calls for a review of the medical and scientific research to see if moving back the start time helps kids succeed.” McMurtry said he wasn’t sure when his colleagues in the state House of Representatives would vote on the bill. With 17 chapters in Massachusetts and more than another 80 in the United States, Start School Later (startschoollater.net), a volunteer organization, is experiencing growing interest in its grassroots efforts to make school start times later. “The momentum for change is growing,” said Start School Later Spokeswoman Jenny Cooper Silverman, a Wayland mom and nurse. “Start School Later has seen an increase in the number of inquiries on this issue and the number of media articles reporting on start time discussions in [school] districts around the country.” The organization recently announced the opening of its 100th chapter — in Fairbanks, Alaska. By Start School Later’s count, more than 10 Massachusetts public high schools have adjusted their start times, the last two being Ashland High School (from 7:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m.) and Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.). Both introduced later start times this academic year. The most controversial vote to change school start times was in Boston, where the city’s School Committee last month voted to move up start times at more than 80% of its schools for the 2018-2019 academic year. Many parents, upset that some Boston elementary schools will end their day at 1:15 p.m., say their children shouldn’t have to go to school earlier so the city’s high schools can start after 8 a.m. Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang said he will review the School Committee’s decision. In November, Burlington’s School Committee agreed to move its high school start time for the 2018-2019 academic year up by more than an hour, to 8:35 a.m. “The biggest reason for the change was the

Youth Risk Behavior Report, which showed an increase in depression and risky behavior among teens and big connections with staying up late,” said Patrick Larkin, Burlington’s assistant public schools superintendent. “The research shows [teenagers] can’t get to sleep earlier than 11 p.m. We were concerned about the health of the kids.” Start School Later’s argument is buttressed by numerous medical studies, and at least one economic one, reporting that teenagers aren’t getting enough sleep. Critics of early start times say the situation is not only detrimental to teens’ physical and mental health, but is also hindering their ability to learn and, potentially, their future earnings as adults.

“The pillars of being healthy include eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep.We are delivering sleep-deprived children for four or more years, at a time when their brains are completely rewiring themselves. The level of stress and the pressure to perform is so much higher now, and when you’re sleep deprived, it’s harder.” — Lisa Hamaker, Massachusetts chapter president, Start School Later

The American Academy of Pediatrics took up the cause three years ago, saying it “urges middle and high schools to aim for start times that allow students to receive 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours of sleep a night,” which it says likely translates into a start time of 8:30 a.m. or later. Other medical organizations supporting a later start time include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the National Association of School Nurses, and the Society of Pediatric Nurses. The Sports Medicine Committee of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), which sponsors athletic activities in nearly 400 private and public high schools in the Bay State, also endorsed later school start times, saying: “Student-athletes in these schools [with later start times] are more likely to perform better, which can lead to reduced incidence of injury.” The most recent study supporting later start

times, from the RAND Corporation, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based research organization, noted that up to 60% of “U.S. middle and high school students” sleep less than what’s recommended for their age, 8-10 hours a night. This lack of sleep, the RAND study said, can lead to a number of adverse outcomes for teenagers, “including poor physical and mental health, behavioral problems, suicidal [ideas] and attempts, attention and concentration problems, and suboptimal academic performance.” The Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank, estimated that moving school start times for middle and high school kids could lead to increased earnings of $17,500 per student, over the course of their lifetime.

The counter argument But not everyone buys into the belief that teenage health problems are solved by delaying the start of the school day. “When schools try it out and collect the data to see if it makes a difference — where they actually tracked before and after within a school district and measured how much sleep teenagers were getting before and after [the adjustment in start time] — teens got more sleep the first year [following the change]. But a year later, they had shifted their bedtime to later at night and were getting the same amount of sleep,” said Ian Campbell, a researcher at the University of California at Davis Sleep Lab. He cited a 2010-2104 study, published in 2016 in the Oxford University Press journal Sleep, which examined how a delayed start time impacted students at a Glens Falls, N.Y., high school. There’s “no evidence to suggest that a change in school start times from earlier to later was associated with either improvement or decline in academic performance,” the study’s authors wrote, and “there’s no compelling evidence to indicate that the change in school start times resulted in a positive shift in standardized [test] assessment scores.” The authors also learned that in subsequent years, following the change in start time, Glens Falls high school students delayed going to bed and, eventually, all gains in sleep time were “followed by a loss of those gains.”

Bay State high schools & start times This academic year, Ashland High School changed its start time from 7:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. “The faculty are saying [first-period students are] talking zombies, but that’s better than being just zombies,” Ashland Public Schools Superintendent James Adams reports, noting the move was prompted by more than a concern about adequate sleep. “We looked at student health and well-being, and their stress and anxiety. We had a number of hospitalizations among the students. We looked at the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey and what were some of the causes.” Among the causes: “Electronics, homework, and kids being overscheduled,” he said. Prior to changing the start time, the first school bus BAYSTATEPARENT 31


pickup for an Ashland High student was 6:15 a.m. With the new start time, Ashland tweaked its bus run so middle school and high school students started riding together. In addition, some bus pickup times were adjusted, so students who wanted to eat breakfast at school could do so before class. Sharon adjusted its high school start time from 7:25 a.m. to 8:05 a.m. seven years ago, but Principal Jose Libano says it’s not the only approach to making kids healthier. “There are other topics and issues that need to be addressed that are equally important,” he said. “Are you giving kids the tools to cope with stress and their schedules? In Sharon, we built time in the day, every day, when our kids can get homework done and see their guidance counselor or a teacher.” Libano acknowledged that despite the reported benefits, changing high school or middle school start times is not universally supported. “When people object to it, it’s all about the inconvenience,” he said. “They’ll say, ‘It impacts my child care, my drive to work.’ But the goal is to create healthier kids, and that supersedes all of the issues around convenience. That said, you’ll never see a high school revert back to an early start time.” People also object to delaying a start time because they think it will

impact sports, forcing the school to dismiss all teams earlier so they arrive at games on time. “The team that gets dismissed [early] the most often is the golf team, and that’s because we’re at the mercy of the courses,” Libano said. “But we have a rotating schedule so the dismissal doesn’t hit the same class every time.” Some advocates say a later start time will reduce tardiness, but Ed MacDonald, Eastham’s Nauset Regional High School principal, added: “As usual, kids acclimate, and it’s the same old, same old. [In the years following the change] the tardiness rate went right back up.” Nauset changed its start time from 7:25 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. five years ago. While MacDonald said the later start time has been beneficial to his students, he added: “There are kids who are very motivated, and you could start school at 6 a.m. and they’d be fine. There are those who are middle of the road and they won’t perform as well some days, and then there are those that, no matter what you do, it is what it is.”

Cellphones, teens, and parents A 2006 National Sleep Foundation poll said 87% of all teens were sleep deprived, meaning they weren’t getting 8-10 hours of sleep each

night. Nearly 10 years later, Stanford University Medical School offered a reason: 92% of all teenagers own a cellphone, and more than 70% use them in their bedroom — after they’ve allegedly gone to sleep. “Parents have to parent in this situation,” said Tufts Medical Center Pediatrician Dr. Laura Grubb. “Their teenager doesn’t need their phone at two in the morning. Parents need to set a structure and collect all electronics [at night].” Still, she says, many parents have told her they can’t bring themselves to take away their child’s cell phone. Teenagers have “more sleep demands” because they’re going through puberty and growing, she noted. “Their circadian rhythms are shifting, and they naturally fall asleep later and wake up later,” Grubb said. “When teens are allowed to work with later school start times, they improve their performance in school.” In addition, she said, they may have obligations, such as an afterschool job or sports, preventing them from starting homework until after dinner. As for a lack of sleep contributing to depression and risky behavior, Grubb said, “A lack of sleep doesn’t allow you to regulate your behavior and your thinking, and you might have an out-of-proportion emotional reaction. But mood can also affect

your sleep. If you’re anxious and the wheels are turning in your head, you’re worried about this and that and your mind can’t slow down, you’re not sleeping.” Grubb tells her patients that a lack of sleep “can make homework challenging. If a school assignment takes four hours because they’re unrested, it might take two or three if they’re rested. You need sleep to think.” She also recommends her patients stick to a schedule when it comes to sleep, telling them napping after school will prevent them from falling asleep at night. “A lack of sleep can make for a more impaired driver. You need sleep to have improved reaction times and to be able to concentrate. A lack of sleep can make you more impulsive and a lot less resilient [to life’s challenges],” Grubb said. Doug Page is a Medfield father of two and award-winning writer whose newspaper career started in high school. He’s written stories, sold ads, and delivered newspapers during the morning’s wee hours. He’s covered stories as shocking as the crash of Delta flight 191 in Dallas many years ago to the recent controversy involving Common Core and standardized testing in Massachusetts.

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entered into the worksheet discussed above. The worksheet can be used to develop a daily task list. Doing so helps school work flow smoothly and keeps your student on track.

THE EDUCATION ISSUE

4 Skills Students Need for High School Success BY CARY J. GREEN

Transitioning from middle school to high school can be exciting and intimidating for students and their parents. Due to the increased academic rigor, most students quickly discover the need to work harder and smarter in high school than they did in middle school. Working harder means more hours of studying, and working smarter means developing and utilizing essential academic success skills. Parents can begin to prepare their middle-schooler for future success in high school by helping them understand the need to ramp up their effort and by facilitating their development of essential academic success skills. Organization Personal organization is an academic success skill that will greatly benefit your student. Organizing all assignments into a central location reduces the likelihood of misplaced assignments and can save time otherwise lost trying to find that elusive math homework sheet. Your student can use a simple manila folder for hard-copy assignments and can set up a homework directory on their computer for electronic assignments. Students can further organize their school work by creating a worksheet to record the due date, completion date, and submission date for each assignment, paper, and project. Test dates should be entered, as well. They can review the worksheet every evening to stay aware of upcoming deadlines. Help your child organize their study time by designating a specific time each day. Doing so is more efficient than trying to wedge academics into a busy schedule. Find a quiet place for him or her to study, and mini-

mize distractions by prohibiting cell phones in the study area. Break 90- or 120-minute study sessions into 20- or 30-minute blocks. Tailor the sessions to optimize your student’s study time. Begin with shorter time blocks as needed, and assess progress based on the child’s learning, rather than solely on time spent studying. A 5- or 10-minute break between blocks can be used to take a walk, kick a soccer ball, or similar activity to boost energy levels. Help children build in goals for each study session. For example, for the first 20-minute block, set a goal to outline a term paper. After a break, the child can spend 30 minutes conducting research on the topic. Reward him or her with something enjoyable after study sessions. Ultimately, they should develop the responsibility to manage their own study sessions and meet deadlines. Time management For several years, I taught an orientation/academic success course for college freshmen. I asked students to discuss a significant challenge they faced, and every semester, time management was the most common answer. Time management is an essential skill for high-school and college students. They can be set up for success by helping them learn to manage time effectively. The organization techniques listed above contribute to effective time management. Outlining the steps needed to complete term papers and similar large projects is another useful time management technique. The time required to complete each step and the deadline for each can be

Note-taking Note-taking is another essential academic success skill because notes often serve as a significant source of information for study and test review. Help your student find a note-taking system that works for them. The Cornell method and mind-mapping are highly effective techniques to capture and review notes. The Cornell method was developed at Cornell University and is used to capture notes, highlight key points, and create a summary on a single sheet of paper. Mind maps are used to visually summarize and organize class material. Mind maps can be used to take notes during class, or to summarize and organize notes after. Numerous videos demonstrating the Cornell method and mind mapping are available online. Students should review their notes daily. Encourage your child to highlight key points and also mark confusing material for further discussion with the teacher. Study skills In an ideal world, grades indicate how well your student understands

the class material. In reality, however, they also indicate how well your child studies for and takes tests. Help your student understand that studying for tests is an ongoing learning process rather than a night-before activity. Children benefit from a daily review of material from each class. Starting a week or so prior, students should dedicate as much time as needed to learn the material. Constructing sample test questions is an effective study technique. Students can then ask their teacher to review their answers. Studying with a small group allows peers to help each other learn. Study groups also can create sample test questions and collaboratively discuss how to answer each question. Helping your middle school student develop these essential academic success skills will ease their transition to high school and also provides a solid foundation for success in college. Cary J. Green, PhD, empowers students to enhance their academic performance while building careerreadiness skills that employers seek. Visit caryjgreen.com for information on his new book, Success Skills for High School, College, and Career.

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THE EDUCATION ISSUE

How to Turn Around a Tough School Year

BY KATHERINE FIRESTONE

Sometimes the start of the school year just doesn’t go your child’s way. The new year is a great opportunity to turn that around! Here are four tips to make the rest of the year brighter at school.

volunteer tutors, or a friend who is just really good at math. No matter what is causing the difficult year, find someone who can dedicate their time to help your child succeed in that area.

1. Find that motivation The first step is to make sure your child is motivated to turn the school year around. A tough start can be a bit demoralizing, so you want to make sure your child is in the right mindset when he or she goes back to school. There are three components of motivation: • Autonomy: We want to be in control. • Mastery: We want to be good and get better at something. • Purpose: We want to do things that matter

4. Work on developing a child’s grit/growth mindset Your child is just not good at science — yet. Adjusting his mindset to think this way will help him feel comfortable asking for help and trying harder. Dr. Caren BaruchFeldman wrote an excellent workbook, The Grit Guide for Teens, to help them adjust their mindset, build their grit, and achieve their goals. Working through the activities in this book will also help develop that motivation (Tip #1) to turn the year around. Once kids learn they can adjust course mid-year, they may start to realize they can turn around any day that starts off sour. (Actually, this works great both ways. If we can teach our kids to turn around their day, they will learn they can turn around much larger things, too.)

To help your child find that internal motivation, help them set goals that matter to them academically. Let him choose what his goal is (autonomy). Set up a plan for success so he gets some small wins quickly (mastery). Ask your child why he chose his goal, and talk about its importance (purpose). 2. Get your friends and family (maybe even teacher) on board Change is hard. Having a strong support system will help. Encourage your child to talk to her friends about her new goal, and maybe even her teacher. Saying the goal aloud increases accountability because friends will ask how it’s going, plus they are there to help if she falls off track.

34 JANUARY2018

3. Find a tutor If it’s a particular subject your child needs help with, a professional can help. Maybe that’s a tutor, a therapist, an after-school program with

Katherine Firestone had a hard time in school because she suffered from undiagnosed ADHD until her junior year of high school. What made her successful during this time was the support system she had around her. After college, she worked as a teacher, and saw that parents wanted to help their kids at home, but didn’t know what to do. She started the Fireborn Institute (fireborninstitute.org) to give parents ideas on how to help. She is also the host of The Happy Student, a podcast for parents on promoting happy academic and social lives (fireborninstitute.org/podcast).


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VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE • THE EDUCATION ISSUE

Autism and Education: What Can You Expect From Your Town’s School System? BY JEFFREY R. ROBINSON, PH.D.

T

he Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Massachusetts law require school districts to provide each child with a disability a free, appropriate, and public education. In addition, in July 2006 An Act To Address the Special Education Needs of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders took effect. This law required Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) teams to consider and address seven specific areas of need that often affect children with autism:

• The student’s sensory needs. • Needs resulting from resistance to environmental or changes in routine. • Needs resulting from exhibiting repetitive, self-stimulatory, or stereotyped movements. • The need for positive behavioral supports and interventions to address interfering behaviors.

• The verbal and nonverbal communication needs of the student.

• Other areas of need consistent with the Autism Spectrum Disorder that impacts their social and emotional development and their ability to be educated within the general educational curriculum.

• The need to develop social interaction/social skills.

Regardless of the diagnosis and any evaluations conducted prior to

your child’s enrollment in public school, the school district will want to conduct their own assessments to determine your child’s abilities and deficits, and the extent to which it will impact his/her ability to benefit from regular education. Once their assessments are completed, a team of professionals (e.g., classroom teacher, speech therapist, school psychologist, occupational therapist, and others depending upon your child’s needs) will come together to discuss their findings and recommendations. These professionals, along with the school administration and you, the parents, will form the nucleus of your child’s IEP Team. The IEP Team is charged with the responsibility of developing specific objectives and goals, and incorporat-

ing them into the educational plan. The IEP is a legally binding contract between the school district and the parents to provide a specific set of services, supports, and interventions that are designed to instruct your child to meet the identified objectives and goals. Each service your child receives is enumerated by duration of contact (with professional staff), the setting, and the frequency (e.g., times per week). Parents should consider a few other IEP components. Will your child require an extended school year? If your child is at risk of substantial regression because of the time away from school during the summer, the IEP team should consider services during the summer. Many school districts have summer programs for children who are at risk of

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Art by Filly Mastrangelo, an artistentrepreneur living with autism 36 JANUARY2018

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it provides the educational blueprint for your child during that year. Other aspects of the IEP process include quarterly reporting of progress toward meeting the objectives and goals by all service providers and the classroom teacher. Most importantly, parents should be

meeting the substantial regression criteria. Another consideration is whether your child’s disability results in behavior that would be a violation of the school district’s code of conduct. Some children with autism exhibit behavioral extremes resulting from frustration, an inability to effectively communicate, and visual and auditory experiences that adversely affect their sensory system. If this describes your child, it is highly recommended to discuss the school’s response to your child’s behavior in advance. Too often parents are called to remove their child from school due to behavioral excesses that negatively impact the child’s classroom. Should this be the school response, it may be a signal that the school is ill-equipped to effectively address the behavioral challenges your child presents. A third consideration is transportation. A school district is obligated to offer transportation services. It may be in the form of specialized transportation or a monitor on the regular school bus (e.g., depending upon the age of the child and the parent’s ability or willingness to provide transportation). Once all terms of the IEP have been agreed upon, both the school district representative and parents sign the agreement. The term of the IEP is one year, and

Autism services in public school at its best are supportive and nurturing, delivering the requisite academic and support services that enable your child to be successfully educated with their typically aged peers in an inclusive setting.

aware of their rights as it pertains to their child’s IEP. Regardless of the timing, parents have the right to reconvene the team at any point during the year. The request must be made in writing to the special education director or administrator. The right to reconvene the team is two-way. The

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school may also request to reconvene the team if there’s been a significant and unexpected change in the child’s behavioral or educational presentation. During the supplemental meeting, if the school district proposes a change to the signed IEP, parents have the right to reject

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turing, delivering the requisite academic and support services that enable your child to be successfully educated with their typically aged peers in an inclusive setting. At its worst, the process is divisive, antagonistic, and incredibly adversarial, rife with rejected educational plans, independent evaluations by content experts, legal bills, and hearings with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals. As with most things in life, the educational experience for parents of children with autism is somewhere in the middle. As a parent, you are your child’s best and most important advocate. If you begin to feel overwhelmed by the process, know there are resources you can access to help you through the process. The Federation for Children with Special Needs (fcsn.org) is an organization that can provide guidance as you navigate the special education maze. Jeffrey R. Robinson, Ph.D. is CEO of Behavioral Concepts (bciaba. com). BCI provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to Central Massachusetts children with autism and their families.

the proposal and exert their “stay put” right. In essence, nothing can change until there is an agreement reached through the team process or the result of a bureaucratic decision through the Bureau of Special Education Appeals. Autism services in public school at its best are supportive and nur-

Storytime

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“…Mary was a bookworm. Sometimes when her siblings went out to play, she’d stay at home reading. Other times when she joined them, as often as not she’d eventually slip away to a secluded spot where they’d find her later, engrossed in a book.” — From A World More Bright: The Life of Mary Baker Eddy by Isabel Ferguson and Heather Vogel Frederick

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THE EDUCATION ISSUE

Families Can Find the Key to a Great School Year at Their Local Library BY KRISTIN GUAY

Public libraries sport a wealth of resources for public, private, or home-schooled students of all ages, as well as those simply seeking enrichment activities to their regular academic program. The key is finding what your local library offers and taking advantage of the services. Yes, libraries offer books, but they also provide so much more. Many have enrichment materials that can support comprehension of a topic or simply provide a broader scope. Libraries have books on tape, book packets that include a book and a corresponding audio version, music CDs, videos, magazines, newspapers, reference materials, study guides, and travel guides. Many libraries now loan out materials such as games, stacking blocks, stuffed animals, puppets, dolls, instruments, telescopes, flash cards, sensory balls, magic kits, sports equipment, cooking kits, art sets, and other enrichment items. Check with your local library to see what “non-book” items are available on loan. One of the many wonderful aspects about a library is that there is a variety of materials on one subject. For example, let’s look at the topic of trees or the forest. Maybe a family is planning a New England drive to view fall foliage and wants a few books to plan for the trip. There are plenty of non-fiction books on different kinds of trees and tree identification based on leaf shape and bark. 38 JANUARY2018

There are also books on the logging and paper industry that explain the use of wood, and conservation books explaining the need to protect and preserve forests around the world. A picture book, The Lorax, outlines the importance of conservation. There are even arts and crafts books that show how to make interesting items using materials found in nature (leaf rubbings, fairy houses, leaf people) and musical CDs that feature the sounds of nature, such as trees rustling in the wind, birds chirping, or a babbling stream. DVDs provide a glimpse of amazing nature areas around the world. Some libraries also offer telescopes or magnifying glasses to borrow. So, for just one subject of “trees and nature,” you can find a variety of materials to explore the topic further. Reference materials Reference materials can be used to gain quick information about a subject that can help guide further research. Students can easily utilize library materials such as newspapers, magazines, maps, travel guides, almanacs, atlases, dictionaries, directories, thesaurus, and handbooks. Reference materials are a perfect start to a project and help guide further research and investigation. Even though a wealth of information is available on the Internet, many students are still required by teachers to find paper resources, too.

Try audiobooks for comprehension and enjoyment Listening is a key component of literacy, and this skill can be honed through listening to books on tape. For younger children, many libraries have sets that contain a picture book and the audio version. For more advanced readers, libraries offer audio versions of chapters books such as the Harry Potter series, and many of the Roald Dahl

a little time alone to unwind, plus they are great during a car ride. High school students might benefit from some of the many classic novels available on audiobooks. The high school curriculum includes the writings of John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Langston Hughes, and William Shakespeare, and all could be better enjoyed or understood while listening to an audiobook version. Educational games and activities Many libraries offer a variety of educational games — both electronic and board games. You can

“The most important thing I want students and families to know is that we are here and what we offer — all for free.” —Molly Hancock, coordinator of youth services Pollard Memorial Library, Lowell and Rick Riordan books. Audiobooks allow children to hear expressive interpretations of the material and develop the important literacy skill of critical listening. They are a wonderful alternative to TV or video games when a child simply needs

usually find a good supply of games, such as chess, checkers, Scrabble, Bananagrams, or Mancala, along with puzzles of all kinds. Several libraries offer family game nights or sponsor chess clubs to encourage patrons to participate. Many online


educational sites, such as National Geographic Kids, JigZone, Chess KIDS Academy, FunBrain, and ABC Mouse, can be found on library computers. These games offer students a fun, unique way to learn important skills. Younger kids can find games on learning colors, shapes, letters, or sequencing. Older children can find anything from math games to activities that help them learn about countries around the world. Alternative place to stufy Libraries are the perfect environment to encourage quiet homework time or gather with others to work on group projects. Many libraries offer extended hours during the work week as a convenience to working parents and older students. This might be a good time to swing by the library for an alternative place to do homework, meet with other students to work on projects, or use library resources to help with school work. Children are no different than adults, and sometimes a change of scenery can make all the difference. Check into special services offered Check your local library to see what services are offered to the community. Many have volunteers that offer their time for tutoring, computer assistance, English language instruction, standardized test preparation, and career counseling. Boston Public Library branches offer homework help to students in Grades 1 through 8 by using a teen mentor program, according to Farouqua Abuzeit, BPL youth services manager. Mentors are in Grades 10-12, must have a 3.0 GPA, receive training through the SmartTalk program, and many are bilingual. Depending on the need and resources of each branch, tutoring is offered about four days a week. These mentors not only work with the younger students, but they can also communicate information to non-English-speaking parents. Some of the newer branches offer quiet study rooms for students to work individually or in small groups. Many libraries offer online programs to assist older students in learning another language or preparation for standardized tests such as the SAT, GED, and TOEFL. Some libraries offer college planning centers that assist students in selecting the right college, navigating the enrollment process, and finding financial aid or scholarships. Many libraries also offer use of computer and Internet access, printing, 3D printing, copying, scanning, fax machines, delivery for homebound patrons, exam proctoring, interlibrary loans, and meeting rooms. These services can be invaluable for many patrons. “Students come in for homework related reasons, including use of our computers. There are many

people in Lowell who cannot afford computers and printers, so students will often come here to do online research and assignments, as well as printing out homework and reports,” said Molly Hancock, coordinator of youth services at Lowell’s Pollard Memorial Library. Explore the ways libraries target specific age groups Mark Malcolm, Maynard Public Library children’s librarian, created two programs specifically for the middle school population. “Around three years ago, I noticed that [the school] did not have a newspaper,” he said. “With that in mind, we began a newspaper club that enlisted [Grade 4-7] students to meet every other week at the library throughout the school year. Each session, we covered a different type of newspaper-related writing [editorials, interviews, articles, etc.], and I encouraged the members to submit material for the paper.” He also launched a photography club that meets once a month and takes pictures around the community. The results are displayed in an exhibit at the end of the year. Malcolm said it’s important to have a welcoming area for teens through teen-friendly furniture or by creating teen advisory boards where teens can offer guidance and suggestions. “I believe that a vital way that students can use the library is just for them to come in and socialize throughout the school year,” he said. “This way, they can work together on projects, do homework, or just collaborate with one another about the many activities they do.” In addition to programs, libraries will also develop collections of materials geared toward the needs of specific student populations. Maynard Public Library has made additions to their collections to encourage younger patrons to visit the library: The graphic novel section has been developed, along with the addition of more Spanish books to help support the elementary schools’ Spanish immersion classes.

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OTHER IMPORTANT FEATURES ARE:

• Two outstanding educators in each • A commitment to family involvement core classroom • An appreciation of diversity • A longer school day and year • Comprehensive programs for students with • An emphasis on college and career readiness special needs or English language learning • An enriched curriculum including character needs education, integrated arts and technology Applications are available in our main office and on line at sevenhillscharter.org starting September 1, 2017. Application deadline: February 2, 2018. Lottery will be held on March 9, 2018 Location: Seven Hills Charter Public School, 51 Gage Street Worcester MA EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR CERTIFIED TEACHERS

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Learn a new skill or explore a favorite hobby Babysitting, salsa dancing, computer coding, learning a language, gardening, STEM projects, knitting, learning a musical instrument, improving writing skills, sewing, financial planning, tech support, quit making, and yoga are all courses that may be offered at a public library. Many libraries also support a variety of clubs for hobbies, such as drawing, Pokemon, chess, photography, Mahjong, Anime, video gaming, book clubs, Legos, and selected films. Check the events calendar of BAYSTATEPARENT 39


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a few of your local libraries to see if something would interest your child. Also, feel free to suggest a club to the librarian. Many times patrons may have expressed an interest, and the library might decide to start a new program or club.

information can be shared with other patrons. For example, a librarian might not be familiar with graphic novels for middle school students, but they can at least provide some guidance based on what other kids have said about the books.

Take advantage of enrichment programs Libraries offer many programs for free or at a reduced cost. Common programs include author talks, storytimes, craft activities, musical performances, art exhibits, puppet shows, historical presentations, science experiments, dance and movement, English language classes, reading to a therapy dog, and magic shows. Some are tailored to the needs of special age groups, such as lap programs for infants, drop-in storytime for preschool children, and books clubs for teens. Libraries also provide passes to many local museums and attractions, such as the Boston Children’s Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, the Museum of Science, Mystic Aquarium, and Plimoth Plantation. The value of these passes can range from free to reduced admission.

Student and family support Many may not realize all the free resources and support that libraries have to offer the public. “One of the interesting things about Lowell is that we are an immigrant city. We have new residents every day that arrive from all over the world. It is not unusual for families to come from a place where there are no free libraries,” said Pollard Memorial Library’s Hancock. “I always love it when I conduct a tour or make a school visit, and later that day one of the children that came for a tour or that I visited, brings her family to the library. The most important thing I want students and families to know is that we are here and what we offer — all for free.”

Librarian knowledge Librarians not only know about the books they have read, but also the books patrons have read. Librarians constantly get feedback on books, authors, and illustrators, and this

Kristin Guay lives on Cape Cod with her husband, two daughters, and beloved black lab. A former middle school language arts teacher, she is currently Youth Services Director at Centerville Library.

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THE EDUCATION ISSUE

Parents, Lawmakers Push For Later Public School Start Times BY DOUG PAGE

30 JANUARY2018


Mary Hamaker, a Southborough mom, lawyer, and president of the Massachusetts chapter of Start School Later, wants a law preventing the Commonwealth’s public high schools from starting classes earlier than 8:30 a.m., saying it’s the remedy to a significant health issue. “The pillars of being healthy include eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep,” Hamaker said. “We are delivering sleepdeprived children for four or more years, at a time when their brains are completely rewiring themselves. The level of stress and the pressure to perform is so much higher now, and when you’re sleep deprived, it’s harder.” Hamaker said she was scheduled to meet with a Beacon Hill legislator, whom she refused to name, about the proposed law, and the issue is gaining traction. A year ago, State Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) filed a bill that, if passed, would form a commission to study and recommend daily start times for Massachusetts public elementary and secondary schools. “We have a moral obligation to the young citizens of the Commonwealth to give them the best advantages of success, and if starting school after 8:30 in the morning will give them that advantage, we should at least be talking about it,” McMurtry said. “[My proposal] doesn’t call for a change. It calls for a review of the medical and scientific research to see if moving back the start time helps kids succeed.” McMurtry said he wasn’t sure when his colleagues in the state House of Representatives would vote on the bill. With 17 chapters in Massachusetts and more than another 80 in the United States, Start School Later (startschoollater.net), a volunteer organization, is experiencing growing interest in its grassroots efforts to make school start times later. “The momentum for change is growing,” said Start School Later Spokeswoman Jenny Cooper Silverman, a Wayland mom and nurse. “Start School Later has seen an increase in the number of inquiries on this issue and the number of media articles reporting on start time discussions in [school] districts around the country.” The organization recently announced the opening of its 100th chapter — in Fairbanks, Alaska. By Start School Later’s count, more than 10 Massachusetts public high schools have adjusted their start times, the last two being Ashland High School (from 7:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m.) and Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.). Both introduced later start times this academic year. The most controversial vote to change school start times was in Boston, where the city’s School Committee last month voted to move up start times at more than 80% of its schools for the 2018-2019 academic year. Many parents, upset that some Boston elementary schools will end their day at 1:15 p.m., say their children shouldn’t have to go to school earlier so the city’s high schools can start after 8 a.m. Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang said he will review the School Committee’s decision. In November, Burlington’s School Committee agreed to move its high school start time for the 2018-2019 academic year up by more than an hour, to 8:35 a.m. “The biggest reason for the change was the

Youth Risk Behavior Report, which showed an increase in depression and risky behavior among teens and big connections with staying up late,” said Patrick Larkin, Burlington’s assistant public schools superintendent. “The research shows [teenagers] can’t get to sleep earlier than 11 p.m. We were concerned about the health of the kids.” Start School Later’s argument is buttressed by numerous medical studies, and at least one economic one, reporting that teenagers aren’t getting enough sleep. Critics of early start times say the situation is not only detrimental to teens’ physical and mental health, but is also hindering their ability to learn and, potentially, their future earnings as adults.

“The pillars of being healthy include eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep.We are delivering sleep-deprived children for four or more years, at a time when their brains are completely rewiring themselves. The level of stress and the pressure to perform is so much higher now, and when you’re sleep deprived, it’s harder.” — Lisa Hamaker, Massachusetts chapter president, Start School Later

The American Academy of Pediatrics took up the cause three years ago, saying it “urges middle and high schools to aim for start times that allow students to receive 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours of sleep a night,” which it says likely translates into a start time of 8:30 a.m. or later. Other medical organizations supporting a later start time include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the National Association of School Nurses, and the Society of Pediatric Nurses. The Sports Medicine Committee of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), which sponsors athletic activities in nearly 400 private and public high schools in the Bay State, also endorsed later school start times, saying: “Student-athletes in these schools [with later start times] are more likely to perform better, which can lead to reduced incidence of injury.” The most recent study supporting later start

times, from the RAND Corporation, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based research organization, noted that up to 60% of “U.S. middle and high school students” sleep less than what’s recommended for their age, 8-10 hours a night. This lack of sleep, the RAND study said, can lead to a number of adverse outcomes for teenagers, “including poor physical and mental health, behavioral problems, suicidal [ideas] and attempts, attention and concentration problems, and suboptimal academic performance.” The Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank, estimated that moving school start times for middle and high school kids could lead to increased earnings of $17,500 per student, over the course of their lifetime.

The counter argument But not everyone buys into the belief that teenage health problems are solved by delaying the start of the school day. “When schools try it out and collect the data to see if it makes a difference — where they actually tracked before and after within a school district and measured how much sleep teenagers were getting before and after [the adjustment in start time] — teens got more sleep the first year [following the change]. But a year later, they had shifted their bedtime to later at night and were getting the same amount of sleep,” said Ian Campbell, a researcher at the University of California at Davis Sleep Lab. He cited a 2010-2104 study, published in 2016 in the Oxford University Press journal Sleep, which examined how a delayed start time impacted students at a Glens Falls, N.Y., high school. There’s “no evidence to suggest that a change in school start times from earlier to later was associated with either improvement or decline in academic performance,” the study’s authors wrote, and “there’s no compelling evidence to indicate that the change in school start times resulted in a positive shift in standardized [test] assessment scores.” The authors also learned that in subsequent years, following the change in start time, Glens Falls high school students delayed going to bed and, eventually, all gains in sleep time were “followed by a loss of those gains.”

Bay State high schools & start times This academic year, Ashland High School changed its start time from 7:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. “The faculty are saying [first-period students are] talking zombies, but that’s better than being just zombies,” Ashland Public Schools Superintendent James Adams reports, noting the move was prompted by more than a concern about adequate sleep. “We looked at student health and well-being, and their stress and anxiety. We had a number of hospitalizations among the students. We looked at the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey and what were some of the causes.” Among the causes: “Electronics, homework, and kids being overscheduled,” he said. Prior to changing the start time, the first school bus BAYSTATEPARENT 31


pickup for an Ashland High student was 6:15 a.m. With the new start time, Ashland tweaked its bus run so middle school and high school students started riding together. In addition, some bus pickup times were adjusted, so students who wanted to eat breakfast at school could do so before class. Sharon adjusted its high school start time from 7:25 a.m. to 8:05 a.m. seven years ago, but Principal Jose Libano says it’s not the only approach to making kids healthier. “There are other topics and issues that need to be addressed that are equally important,” he said. “Are you giving kids the tools to cope with stress and their schedules? In Sharon, we built time in the day, every day, when our kids can get homework done and see their guidance counselor or a teacher.” Libano acknowledged that despite the reported benefits, changing high school or middle school start times is not universally supported. “When people object to it, it’s all about the inconvenience,” he said. “They’ll say, ‘It impacts my child care, my drive to work.’ But the goal is to create healthier kids, and that supersedes all of the issues around convenience. That said, you’ll never see a high school revert back to an early start time.” People also object to delaying a start time because they think it will

impact sports, forcing the school to dismiss all teams earlier so they arrive at games on time. “The team that gets dismissed [early] the most often is the golf team, and that’s because we’re at the mercy of the courses,” Libano said. “But we have a rotating schedule so the dismissal doesn’t hit the same class every time.” Some advocates say a later start time will reduce tardiness, but Ed MacDonald, Eastham’s Nauset Regional High School principal, added: “As usual, kids acclimate, and it’s the same old, same old. [In the years following the change] the tardiness rate went right back up.” Nauset changed its start time from 7:25 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. five years ago. While MacDonald said the later start time has been beneficial to his students, he added: “There are kids who are very motivated, and you could start school at 6 a.m. and they’d be fine. There are those who are middle of the road and they won’t perform as well some days, and then there are those that, no matter what you do, it is what it is.”

Cellphones, teens, and parents A 2006 National Sleep Foundation poll said 87% of all teens were sleep deprived, meaning they weren’t getting 8-10 hours of sleep each

night. Nearly 10 years later, Stanford University Medical School offered a reason: 92% of all teenagers own a cellphone, and more than 70% use them in their bedroom — after they’ve allegedly gone to sleep. “Parents have to parent in this situation,” said Tufts Medical Center Pediatrician Dr. Laura Grubb. “Their teenager doesn’t need their phone at two in the morning. Parents need to set a structure and collect all electronics [at night].” Still, she says, many parents have told her they can’t bring themselves to take away their child’s cell phone. Teenagers have “more sleep demands” because they’re going through puberty and growing, she noted. “Their circadian rhythms are shifting, and they naturally fall asleep later and wake up later,” Grubb said. “When teens are allowed to work with later school start times, they improve their performance in school.” In addition, she said, they may have obligations, such as an afterschool job or sports, preventing them from starting homework until after dinner. As for a lack of sleep contributing to depression and risky behavior, Grubb said, “A lack of sleep doesn’t allow you to regulate your behavior and your thinking, and you might have an out-of-proportion emotional reaction. But mood can also affect

your sleep. If you’re anxious and the wheels are turning in your head, you’re worried about this and that and your mind can’t slow down, you’re not sleeping.” Grubb tells her patients that a lack of sleep “can make homework challenging. If a school assignment takes four hours because they’re unrested, it might take two or three if they’re rested. You need sleep to think.” She also recommends her patients stick to a schedule when it comes to sleep, telling them napping after school will prevent them from falling asleep at night. “A lack of sleep can make for a more impaired driver. You need sleep to have improved reaction times and to be able to concentrate. A lack of sleep can make you more impulsive and a lot less resilient [to life’s challenges],” Grubb said. Doug Page is a Medfield father of two and award-winning writer whose newspaper career started in high school. He’s written stories, sold ads, and delivered newspapers during the morning’s wee hours. He’s covered stories as shocking as the crash of Delta flight 191 in Dallas many years ago to the recent controversy involving Common Core and standardized testing in Massachusetts.

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entered into the worksheet discussed above. The worksheet can be used to develop a daily task list. Doing so helps school work flow smoothly and keeps your student on track.

THE EDUCATION ISSUE

4 Skills Students Need for High School Success BY CARY J. GREEN

Transitioning from middle school to high school can be exciting and intimidating for students and their parents. Due to the increased academic rigor, most students quickly discover the need to work harder and smarter in high school than they did in middle school. Working harder means more hours of studying, and working smarter means developing and utilizing essential academic success skills. Parents can begin to prepare their middle-schooler for future success in high school by helping them understand the need to ramp up their effort and by facilitating their development of essential academic success skills. Organization Personal organization is an academic success skill that will greatly benefit your student. Organizing all assignments into a central location reduces the likelihood of misplaced assignments and can save time otherwise lost trying to find that elusive math homework sheet. Your student can use a simple manila folder for hard-copy assignments and can set up a homework directory on their computer for electronic assignments. Students can further organize their school work by creating a worksheet to record the due date, completion date, and submission date for each assignment, paper, and project. Test dates should be entered, as well. They can review the worksheet every evening to stay aware of upcoming deadlines. Help your child organize their study time by designating a specific time each day. Doing so is more efficient than trying to wedge academics into a busy schedule. Find a quiet place for him or her to study, and mini-

mize distractions by prohibiting cell phones in the study area. Break 90- or 120-minute study sessions into 20- or 30-minute blocks. Tailor the sessions to optimize your student’s study time. Begin with shorter time blocks as needed, and assess progress based on the child’s learning, rather than solely on time spent studying. A 5- or 10-minute break between blocks can be used to take a walk, kick a soccer ball, or similar activity to boost energy levels. Help children build in goals for each study session. For example, for the first 20-minute block, set a goal to outline a term paper. After a break, the child can spend 30 minutes conducting research on the topic. Reward him or her with something enjoyable after study sessions. Ultimately, they should develop the responsibility to manage their own study sessions and meet deadlines. Time management For several years, I taught an orientation/academic success course for college freshmen. I asked students to discuss a significant challenge they faced, and every semester, time management was the most common answer. Time management is an essential skill for high-school and college students. They can be set up for success by helping them learn to manage time effectively. The organization techniques listed above contribute to effective time management. Outlining the steps needed to complete term papers and similar large projects is another useful time management technique. The time required to complete each step and the deadline for each can be

Note-taking Note-taking is another essential academic success skill because notes often serve as a significant source of information for study and test review. Help your student find a note-taking system that works for them. The Cornell method and mind-mapping are highly effective techniques to capture and review notes. The Cornell method was developed at Cornell University and is used to capture notes, highlight key points, and create a summary on a single sheet of paper. Mind maps are used to visually summarize and organize class material. Mind maps can be used to take notes during class, or to summarize and organize notes after. Numerous videos demonstrating the Cornell method and mind mapping are available online. Students should review their notes daily. Encourage your child to highlight key points and also mark confusing material for further discussion with the teacher. Study skills In an ideal world, grades indicate how well your student understands

the class material. In reality, however, they also indicate how well your child studies for and takes tests. Help your student understand that studying for tests is an ongoing learning process rather than a night-before activity. Children benefit from a daily review of material from each class. Starting a week or so prior, students should dedicate as much time as needed to learn the material. Constructing sample test questions is an effective study technique. Students can then ask their teacher to review their answers. Studying with a small group allows peers to help each other learn. Study groups also can create sample test questions and collaboratively discuss how to answer each question. Helping your middle school student develop these essential academic success skills will ease their transition to high school and also provides a solid foundation for success in college. Cary J. Green, PhD, empowers students to enhance their academic performance while building careerreadiness skills that employers seek. Visit caryjgreen.com for information on his new book, Success Skills for High School, College, and Career.

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THE EDUCATION ISSUE

How to Turn Around a Tough School Year

BY KATHERINE FIRESTONE

Sometimes the start of the school year just doesn’t go your child’s way. The new year is a great opportunity to turn that around! Here are four tips to make the rest of the year brighter at school.

volunteer tutors, or a friend who is just really good at math. No matter what is causing the difficult year, find someone who can dedicate their time to help your child succeed in that area.

1. Find that motivation The first step is to make sure your child is motivated to turn the school year around. A tough start can be a bit demoralizing, so you want to make sure your child is in the right mindset when he or she goes back to school. There are three components of motivation: • Autonomy: We want to be in control. • Mastery: We want to be good and get better at something. • Purpose: We want to do things that matter

4. Work on developing a child’s grit/growth mindset Your child is just not good at science — yet. Adjusting his mindset to think this way will help him feel comfortable asking for help and trying harder. Dr. Caren BaruchFeldman wrote an excellent workbook, The Grit Guide for Teens, to help them adjust their mindset, build their grit, and achieve their goals. Working through the activities in this book will also help develop that motivation (Tip #1) to turn the year around. Once kids learn they can adjust course mid-year, they may start to realize they can turn around any day that starts off sour. (Actually, this works great both ways. If we can teach our kids to turn around their day, they will learn they can turn around much larger things, too.)

To help your child find that internal motivation, help them set goals that matter to them academically. Let him choose what his goal is (autonomy). Set up a plan for success so he gets some small wins quickly (mastery). Ask your child why he chose his goal, and talk about its importance (purpose). 2. Get your friends and family (maybe even teacher) on board Change is hard. Having a strong support system will help. Encourage your child to talk to her friends about her new goal, and maybe even her teacher. Saying the goal aloud increases accountability because friends will ask how it’s going, plus they are there to help if she falls off track.

34 JANUARY2018

3. Find a tutor If it’s a particular subject your child needs help with, a professional can help. Maybe that’s a tutor, a therapist, an after-school program with

Katherine Firestone had a hard time in school because she suffered from undiagnosed ADHD until her junior year of high school. What made her successful during this time was the support system she had around her. After college, she worked as a teacher, and saw that parents wanted to help their kids at home, but didn’t know what to do. She started the Fireborn Institute (fireborninstitute.org) to give parents ideas on how to help. She is also the host of The Happy Student, a podcast for parents on promoting happy academic and social lives (fireborninstitute.org/podcast).


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VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE • THE EDUCATION ISSUE

Autism and Education: What Can You Expect From Your Town’s School System? BY JEFFREY R. ROBINSON, PH.D.

T

he Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Massachusetts law require school districts to provide each child with a disability a free, appropriate, and public education. In addition, in July 2006 An Act To Address the Special Education Needs of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders took effect. This law required Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) teams to consider and address seven specific areas of need that often affect children with autism:

• The student’s sensory needs. • Needs resulting from resistance to environmental or changes in routine. • Needs resulting from exhibiting repetitive, self-stimulatory, or stereotyped movements. • The need for positive behavioral supports and interventions to address interfering behaviors.

• The verbal and nonverbal communication needs of the student.

• Other areas of need consistent with the Autism Spectrum Disorder that impacts their social and emotional development and their ability to be educated within the general educational curriculum.

• The need to develop social interaction/social skills.

Regardless of the diagnosis and any evaluations conducted prior to

your child’s enrollment in public school, the school district will want to conduct their own assessments to determine your child’s abilities and deficits, and the extent to which it will impact his/her ability to benefit from regular education. Once their assessments are completed, a team of professionals (e.g., classroom teacher, speech therapist, school psychologist, occupational therapist, and others depending upon your child’s needs) will come together to discuss their findings and recommendations. These professionals, along with the school administration and you, the parents, will form the nucleus of your child’s IEP Team. The IEP Team is charged with the responsibility of developing specific objectives and goals, and incorporat-

ing them into the educational plan. The IEP is a legally binding contract between the school district and the parents to provide a specific set of services, supports, and interventions that are designed to instruct your child to meet the identified objectives and goals. Each service your child receives is enumerated by duration of contact (with professional staff), the setting, and the frequency (e.g., times per week). Parents should consider a few other IEP components. Will your child require an extended school year? If your child is at risk of substantial regression because of the time away from school during the summer, the IEP team should consider services during the summer. Many school districts have summer programs for children who are at risk of

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Art by Filly Mastrangelo, an artistentrepreneur living with autism 36 JANUARY2018

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it provides the educational blueprint for your child during that year. Other aspects of the IEP process include quarterly reporting of progress toward meeting the objectives and goals by all service providers and the classroom teacher. Most importantly, parents should be

meeting the substantial regression criteria. Another consideration is whether your child’s disability results in behavior that would be a violation of the school district’s code of conduct. Some children with autism exhibit behavioral extremes resulting from frustration, an inability to effectively communicate, and visual and auditory experiences that adversely affect their sensory system. If this describes your child, it is highly recommended to discuss the school’s response to your child’s behavior in advance. Too often parents are called to remove their child from school due to behavioral excesses that negatively impact the child’s classroom. Should this be the school response, it may be a signal that the school is ill-equipped to effectively address the behavioral challenges your child presents. A third consideration is transportation. A school district is obligated to offer transportation services. It may be in the form of specialized transportation or a monitor on the regular school bus (e.g., depending upon the age of the child and the parent’s ability or willingness to provide transportation). Once all terms of the IEP have been agreed upon, both the school district representative and parents sign the agreement. The term of the IEP is one year, and

Autism services in public school at its best are supportive and nurturing, delivering the requisite academic and support services that enable your child to be successfully educated with their typically aged peers in an inclusive setting.

aware of their rights as it pertains to their child’s IEP. Regardless of the timing, parents have the right to reconvene the team at any point during the year. The request must be made in writing to the special education director or administrator. The right to reconvene the team is two-way. The

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turing, delivering the requisite academic and support services that enable your child to be successfully educated with their typically aged peers in an inclusive setting. At its worst, the process is divisive, antagonistic, and incredibly adversarial, rife with rejected educational plans, independent evaluations by content experts, legal bills, and hearings with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals. As with most things in life, the educational experience for parents of children with autism is somewhere in the middle. As a parent, you are your child’s best and most important advocate. If you begin to feel overwhelmed by the process, know there are resources you can access to help you through the process. The Federation for Children with Special Needs (fcsn.org) is an organization that can provide guidance as you navigate the special education maze. Jeffrey R. Robinson, Ph.D. is CEO of Behavioral Concepts (bciaba. com). BCI provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to Central Massachusetts children with autism and their families.

the proposal and exert their “stay put” right. In essence, nothing can change until there is an agreement reached through the team process or the result of a bureaucratic decision through the Bureau of Special Education Appeals. Autism services in public school at its best are supportive and nur-

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The Education Issue 30 33 34

Parents, Lawmakers Push For Later Public School Start Times

36 38

Autism and Education: What Can You Expect From Your Town’s School System?

4 Skills Students Need for High School Success How to turn around a tough school year

Families Can Find the Key to a Great School Year at Their Local Library

BAYSTATEPARENT 29


THE EDUCATION ISSUE

Parents, Lawmakers Push For Later Public School Start Times BY DOUG PAGE

30 JANUARY2018


Mary Hamaker, a Southborough mom, lawyer, and president of the Massachusetts chapter of Start School Later, wants a law preventing the Commonwealth’s public high schools from starting classes earlier than 8:30 a.m., saying it’s the remedy to a significant health issue. “The pillars of being healthy include eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep,” Hamaker said. “We are delivering sleepdeprived children for four or more years, at a time when their brains are completely rewiring themselves. The level of stress and the pressure to perform is so much higher now, and when you’re sleep deprived, it’s harder.” Hamaker said she was scheduled to meet with a Beacon Hill legislator, whom she refused to name, about the proposed law, and the issue is gaining traction. A year ago, State Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) filed a bill that, if passed, would form a commission to study and recommend daily start times for Massachusetts public elementary and secondary schools. “We have a moral obligation to the young citizens of the Commonwealth to give them the best advantages of success, and if starting school after 8:30 in the morning will give them that advantage, we should at least be talking about it,” McMurtry said. “[My proposal] doesn’t call for a change. It calls for a review of the medical and scientific research to see if moving back the start time helps kids succeed.” McMurtry said he wasn’t sure when his colleagues in the state House of Representatives would vote on the bill. With 17 chapters in Massachusetts and more than another 80 in the United States, Start School Later (startschoollater.net), a volunteer organization, is experiencing growing interest in its grassroots efforts to make school start times later. “The momentum for change is growing,” said Start School Later Spokeswoman Jenny Cooper Silverman, a Wayland mom and nurse. “Start School Later has seen an increase in the number of inquiries on this issue and the number of media articles reporting on start time discussions in [school] districts around the country.” The organization recently announced the opening of its 100th chapter — in Fairbanks, Alaska. By Start School Later’s count, more than 10 Massachusetts public high schools have adjusted their start times, the last two being Ashland High School (from 7:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m.) and Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.). Both introduced later start times this academic year. The most controversial vote to change school start times was in Boston, where the city’s School Committee last month voted to move up start times at more than 80% of its schools for the 2018-2019 academic year. Many parents, upset that some Boston elementary schools will end their day at 1:15 p.m., say their children shouldn’t have to go to school earlier so the city’s high schools can start after 8 a.m. Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang said he will review the School Committee’s decision. In November, Burlington’s School Committee agreed to move its high school start time for the 2018-2019 academic year up by more than an hour, to 8:35 a.m. “The biggest reason for the change was the

Youth Risk Behavior Report, which showed an increase in depression and risky behavior among teens and big connections with staying up late,” said Patrick Larkin, Burlington’s assistant public schools superintendent. “The research shows [teenagers] can’t get to sleep earlier than 11 p.m. We were concerned about the health of the kids.” Start School Later’s argument is buttressed by numerous medical studies, and at least one economic one, reporting that teenagers aren’t getting enough sleep. Critics of early start times say the situation is not only detrimental to teens’ physical and mental health, but is also hindering their ability to learn and, potentially, their future earnings as adults.

“The pillars of being healthy include eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep.We are delivering sleep-deprived children for four or more years, at a time when their brains are completely rewiring themselves. The level of stress and the pressure to perform is so much higher now, and when you’re sleep deprived, it’s harder.” — Lisa Hamaker, Massachusetts chapter president, Start School Later

The American Academy of Pediatrics took up the cause three years ago, saying it “urges middle and high schools to aim for start times that allow students to receive 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours of sleep a night,” which it says likely translates into a start time of 8:30 a.m. or later. Other medical organizations supporting a later start time include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the National Association of School Nurses, and the Society of Pediatric Nurses. The Sports Medicine Committee of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), which sponsors athletic activities in nearly 400 private and public high schools in the Bay State, also endorsed later school start times, saying: “Student-athletes in these schools [with later start times] are more likely to perform better, which can lead to reduced incidence of injury.” The most recent study supporting later start

times, from the RAND Corporation, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based research organization, noted that up to 60% of “U.S. middle and high school students” sleep less than what’s recommended for their age, 8-10 hours a night. This lack of sleep, the RAND study said, can lead to a number of adverse outcomes for teenagers, “including poor physical and mental health, behavioral problems, suicidal [ideas] and attempts, attention and concentration problems, and suboptimal academic performance.” The Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank, estimated that moving school start times for middle and high school kids could lead to increased earnings of $17,500 per student, over the course of their lifetime.

The counter argument But not everyone buys into the belief that teenage health problems are solved by delaying the start of the school day. “When schools try it out and collect the data to see if it makes a difference — where they actually tracked before and after within a school district and measured how much sleep teenagers were getting before and after [the adjustment in start time] — teens got more sleep the first year [following the change]. But a year later, they had shifted their bedtime to later at night and were getting the same amount of sleep,” said Ian Campbell, a researcher at the University of California at Davis Sleep Lab. He cited a 2010-2104 study, published in 2016 in the Oxford University Press journal Sleep, which examined how a delayed start time impacted students at a Glens Falls, N.Y., high school. There’s “no evidence to suggest that a change in school start times from earlier to later was associated with either improvement or decline in academic performance,” the study’s authors wrote, and “there’s no compelling evidence to indicate that the change in school start times resulted in a positive shift in standardized [test] assessment scores.” The authors also learned that in subsequent years, following the change in start time, Glens Falls high school students delayed going to bed and, eventually, all gains in sleep time were “followed by a loss of those gains.”

Bay State high schools & start times This academic year, Ashland High School changed its start time from 7:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. “The faculty are saying [first-period students are] talking zombies, but that’s better than being just zombies,” Ashland Public Schools Superintendent James Adams reports, noting the move was prompted by more than a concern about adequate sleep. “We looked at student health and well-being, and their stress and anxiety. We had a number of hospitalizations among the students. We looked at the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey and what were some of the causes.” Among the causes: “Electronics, homework, and kids being overscheduled,” he said. Prior to changing the start time, the first school bus BAYSTATEPARENT 31


pickup for an Ashland High student was 6:15 a.m. With the new start time, Ashland tweaked its bus run so middle school and high school students started riding together. In addition, some bus pickup times were adjusted, so students who wanted to eat breakfast at school could do so before class. Sharon adjusted its high school start time from 7:25 a.m. to 8:05 a.m. seven years ago, but Principal Jose Libano says it’s not the only approach to making kids healthier. “There are other topics and issues that need to be addressed that are equally important,” he said. “Are you giving kids the tools to cope with stress and their schedules? In Sharon, we built time in the day, every day, when our kids can get homework done and see their guidance counselor or a teacher.” Libano acknowledged that despite the reported benefits, changing high school or middle school start times is not universally supported. “When people object to it, it’s all about the inconvenience,” he said. “They’ll say, ‘It impacts my child care, my drive to work.’ But the goal is to create healthier kids, and that supersedes all of the issues around convenience. That said, you’ll never see a high school revert back to an early start time.” People also object to delaying a start time because they think it will

impact sports, forcing the school to dismiss all teams earlier so they arrive at games on time. “The team that gets dismissed [early] the most often is the golf team, and that’s because we’re at the mercy of the courses,” Libano said. “But we have a rotating schedule so the dismissal doesn’t hit the same class every time.” Some advocates say a later start time will reduce tardiness, but Ed MacDonald, Eastham’s Nauset Regional High School principal, added: “As usual, kids acclimate, and it’s the same old, same old. [In the years following the change] the tardiness rate went right back up.” Nauset changed its start time from 7:25 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. five years ago. While MacDonald said the later start time has been beneficial to his students, he added: “There are kids who are very motivated, and you could start school at 6 a.m. and they’d be fine. There are those who are middle of the road and they won’t perform as well some days, and then there are those that, no matter what you do, it is what it is.”

Cellphones, teens, and parents A 2006 National Sleep Foundation poll said 87% of all teens were sleep deprived, meaning they weren’t getting 8-10 hours of sleep each

night. Nearly 10 years later, Stanford University Medical School offered a reason: 92% of all teenagers own a cellphone, and more than 70% use them in their bedroom — after they’ve allegedly gone to sleep. “Parents have to parent in this situation,” said Tufts Medical Center Pediatrician Dr. Laura Grubb. “Their teenager doesn’t need their phone at two in the morning. Parents need to set a structure and collect all electronics [at night].” Still, she says, many parents have told her they can’t bring themselves to take away their child’s cell phone. Teenagers have “more sleep demands” because they’re going through puberty and growing, she noted. “Their circadian rhythms are shifting, and they naturally fall asleep later and wake up later,” Grubb said. “When teens are allowed to work with later school start times, they improve their performance in school.” In addition, she said, they may have obligations, such as an afterschool job or sports, preventing them from starting homework until after dinner. As for a lack of sleep contributing to depression and risky behavior, Grubb said, “A lack of sleep doesn’t allow you to regulate your behavior and your thinking, and you might have an out-of-proportion emotional reaction. But mood can also affect

your sleep. If you’re anxious and the wheels are turning in your head, you’re worried about this and that and your mind can’t slow down, you’re not sleeping.” Grubb tells her patients that a lack of sleep “can make homework challenging. If a school assignment takes four hours because they’re unrested, it might take two or three if they’re rested. You need sleep to think.” She also recommends her patients stick to a schedule when it comes to sleep, telling them napping after school will prevent them from falling asleep at night. “A lack of sleep can make for a more impaired driver. You need sleep to have improved reaction times and to be able to concentrate. A lack of sleep can make you more impulsive and a lot less resilient [to life’s challenges],” Grubb said. Doug Page is a Medfield father of two and award-winning writer whose newspaper career started in high school. He’s written stories, sold ads, and delivered newspapers during the morning’s wee hours. He’s covered stories as shocking as the crash of Delta flight 191 in Dallas many years ago to the recent controversy involving Common Core and standardized testing in Massachusetts.

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entered into the worksheet discussed above. The worksheet can be used to develop a daily task list. Doing so helps school work flow smoothly and keeps your student on track.

THE EDUCATION ISSUE

4 Skills Students Need for High School Success BY CARY J. GREEN

Transitioning from middle school to high school can be exciting and intimidating for students and their parents. Due to the increased academic rigor, most students quickly discover the need to work harder and smarter in high school than they did in middle school. Working harder means more hours of studying, and working smarter means developing and utilizing essential academic success skills. Parents can begin to prepare their middle-schooler for future success in high school by helping them understand the need to ramp up their effort and by facilitating their development of essential academic success skills. Organization Personal organization is an academic success skill that will greatly benefit your student. Organizing all assignments into a central location reduces the likelihood of misplaced assignments and can save time otherwise lost trying to find that elusive math homework sheet. Your student can use a simple manila folder for hard-copy assignments and can set up a homework directory on their computer for electronic assignments. Students can further organize their school work by creating a worksheet to record the due date, completion date, and submission date for each assignment, paper, and project. Test dates should be entered, as well. They can review the worksheet every evening to stay aware of upcoming deadlines. Help your child organize their study time by designating a specific time each day. Doing so is more efficient than trying to wedge academics into a busy schedule. Find a quiet place for him or her to study, and mini-

mize distractions by prohibiting cell phones in the study area. Break 90- or 120-minute study sessions into 20- or 30-minute blocks. Tailor the sessions to optimize your student’s study time. Begin with shorter time blocks as needed, and assess progress based on the child’s learning, rather than solely on time spent studying. A 5- or 10-minute break between blocks can be used to take a walk, kick a soccer ball, or similar activity to boost energy levels. Help children build in goals for each study session. For example, for the first 20-minute block, set a goal to outline a term paper. After a break, the child can spend 30 minutes conducting research on the topic. Reward him or her with something enjoyable after study sessions. Ultimately, they should develop the responsibility to manage their own study sessions and meet deadlines. Time management For several years, I taught an orientation/academic success course for college freshmen. I asked students to discuss a significant challenge they faced, and every semester, time management was the most common answer. Time management is an essential skill for high-school and college students. They can be set up for success by helping them learn to manage time effectively. The organization techniques listed above contribute to effective time management. Outlining the steps needed to complete term papers and similar large projects is another useful time management technique. The time required to complete each step and the deadline for each can be

Note-taking Note-taking is another essential academic success skill because notes often serve as a significant source of information for study and test review. Help your student find a note-taking system that works for them. The Cornell method and mind-mapping are highly effective techniques to capture and review notes. The Cornell method was developed at Cornell University and is used to capture notes, highlight key points, and create a summary on a single sheet of paper. Mind maps are used to visually summarize and organize class material. Mind maps can be used to take notes during class, or to summarize and organize notes after. Numerous videos demonstrating the Cornell method and mind mapping are available online. Students should review their notes daily. Encourage your child to highlight key points and also mark confusing material for further discussion with the teacher. Study skills In an ideal world, grades indicate how well your student understands

the class material. In reality, however, they also indicate how well your child studies for and takes tests. Help your student understand that studying for tests is an ongoing learning process rather than a night-before activity. Children benefit from a daily review of material from each class. Starting a week or so prior, students should dedicate as much time as needed to learn the material. Constructing sample test questions is an effective study technique. Students can then ask their teacher to review their answers. Studying with a small group allows peers to help each other learn. Study groups also can create sample test questions and collaboratively discuss how to answer each question. Helping your middle school student develop these essential academic success skills will ease their transition to high school and also provides a solid foundation for success in college. Cary J. Green, PhD, empowers students to enhance their academic performance while building careerreadiness skills that employers seek. Visit caryjgreen.com for information on his new book, Success Skills for High School, College, and Career.

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THE EDUCATION ISSUE

How to Turn Around a Tough School Year

BY KATHERINE FIRESTONE

Sometimes the start of the school year just doesn’t go your child’s way. The new year is a great opportunity to turn that around! Here are four tips to make the rest of the year brighter at school.

volunteer tutors, or a friend who is just really good at math. No matter what is causing the difficult year, find someone who can dedicate their time to help your child succeed in that area.

1. Find that motivation The first step is to make sure your child is motivated to turn the school year around. A tough start can be a bit demoralizing, so you want to make sure your child is in the right mindset when he or she goes back to school. There are three components of motivation: • Autonomy: We want to be in control. • Mastery: We want to be good and get better at something. • Purpose: We want to do things that matter

4. Work on developing a child’s grit/growth mindset Your child is just not good at science — yet. Adjusting his mindset to think this way will help him feel comfortable asking for help and trying harder. Dr. Caren BaruchFeldman wrote an excellent workbook, The Grit Guide for Teens, to help them adjust their mindset, build their grit, and achieve their goals. Working through the activities in this book will also help develop that motivation (Tip #1) to turn the year around. Once kids learn they can adjust course mid-year, they may start to realize they can turn around any day that starts off sour. (Actually, this works great both ways. If we can teach our kids to turn around their day, they will learn they can turn around much larger things, too.)

To help your child find that internal motivation, help them set goals that matter to them academically. Let him choose what his goal is (autonomy). Set up a plan for success so he gets some small wins quickly (mastery). Ask your child why he chose his goal, and talk about its importance (purpose). 2. Get your friends and family (maybe even teacher) on board Change is hard. Having a strong support system will help. Encourage your child to talk to her friends about her new goal, and maybe even her teacher. Saying the goal aloud increases accountability because friends will ask how it’s going, plus they are there to help if she falls off track.

34 JANUARY2018

3. Find a tutor If it’s a particular subject your child needs help with, a professional can help. Maybe that’s a tutor, a therapist, an after-school program with

Katherine Firestone had a hard time in school because she suffered from undiagnosed ADHD until her junior year of high school. What made her successful during this time was the support system she had around her. After college, she worked as a teacher, and saw that parents wanted to help their kids at home, but didn’t know what to do. She started the Fireborn Institute (fireborninstitute.org) to give parents ideas on how to help. She is also the host of The Happy Student, a podcast for parents on promoting happy academic and social lives (fireborninstitute.org/podcast).


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VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE • THE EDUCATION ISSUE

Autism and Education: What Can You Expect From Your Town’s School System? BY JEFFREY R. ROBINSON, PH.D.

T

he Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Massachusetts law require school districts to provide each child with a disability a free, appropriate, and public education. In addition, in July 2006 An Act To Address the Special Education Needs of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders took effect. This law required Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) teams to consider and address seven specific areas of need that often affect children with autism:

• The student’s sensory needs. • Needs resulting from resistance to environmental or changes in routine. • Needs resulting from exhibiting repetitive, self-stimulatory, or stereotyped movements. • The need for positive behavioral supports and interventions to address interfering behaviors.

• The verbal and nonverbal communication needs of the student.

• Other areas of need consistent with the Autism Spectrum Disorder that impacts their social and emotional development and their ability to be educated within the general educational curriculum.

• The need to develop social interaction/social skills.

Regardless of the diagnosis and any evaluations conducted prior to

your child’s enrollment in public school, the school district will want to conduct their own assessments to determine your child’s abilities and deficits, and the extent to which it will impact his/her ability to benefit from regular education. Once their assessments are completed, a team of professionals (e.g., classroom teacher, speech therapist, school psychologist, occupational therapist, and others depending upon your child’s needs) will come together to discuss their findings and recommendations. These professionals, along with the school administration and you, the parents, will form the nucleus of your child’s IEP Team. The IEP Team is charged with the responsibility of developing specific objectives and goals, and incorporat-

ing them into the educational plan. The IEP is a legally binding contract between the school district and the parents to provide a specific set of services, supports, and interventions that are designed to instruct your child to meet the identified objectives and goals. Each service your child receives is enumerated by duration of contact (with professional staff), the setting, and the frequency (e.g., times per week). Parents should consider a few other IEP components. Will your child require an extended school year? If your child is at risk of substantial regression because of the time away from school during the summer, the IEP team should consider services during the summer. Many school districts have summer programs for children who are at risk of

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Art by Filly Mastrangelo, an artistentrepreneur living with autism 36 JANUARY2018

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it provides the educational blueprint for your child during that year. Other aspects of the IEP process include quarterly reporting of progress toward meeting the objectives and goals by all service providers and the classroom teacher. Most importantly, parents should be

meeting the substantial regression criteria. Another consideration is whether your child’s disability results in behavior that would be a violation of the school district’s code of conduct. Some children with autism exhibit behavioral extremes resulting from frustration, an inability to effectively communicate, and visual and auditory experiences that adversely affect their sensory system. If this describes your child, it is highly recommended to discuss the school’s response to your child’s behavior in advance. Too often parents are called to remove their child from school due to behavioral excesses that negatively impact the child’s classroom. Should this be the school response, it may be a signal that the school is ill-equipped to effectively address the behavioral challenges your child presents. A third consideration is transportation. A school district is obligated to offer transportation services. It may be in the form of specialized transportation or a monitor on the regular school bus (e.g., depending upon the age of the child and the parent’s ability or willingness to provide transportation). Once all terms of the IEP have been agreed upon, both the school district representative and parents sign the agreement. The term of the IEP is one year, and

Autism services in public school at its best are supportive and nurturing, delivering the requisite academic and support services that enable your child to be successfully educated with their typically aged peers in an inclusive setting.

aware of their rights as it pertains to their child’s IEP. Regardless of the timing, parents have the right to reconvene the team at any point during the year. The request must be made in writing to the special education director or administrator. The right to reconvene the team is two-way. The

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turing, delivering the requisite academic and support services that enable your child to be successfully educated with their typically aged peers in an inclusive setting. At its worst, the process is divisive, antagonistic, and incredibly adversarial, rife with rejected educational plans, independent evaluations by content experts, legal bills, and hearings with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals. As with most things in life, the educational experience for parents of children with autism is somewhere in the middle. As a parent, you are your child’s best and most important advocate. If you begin to feel overwhelmed by the process, know there are resources you can access to help you through the process. The Federation for Children with Special Needs (fcsn.org) is an organization that can provide guidance as you navigate the special education maze. Jeffrey R. Robinson, Ph.D. is CEO of Behavioral Concepts (bciaba. com). BCI provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to Central Massachusetts children with autism and their families.

the proposal and exert their “stay put” right. In essence, nothing can change until there is an agreement reached through the team process or the result of a bureaucratic decision through the Bureau of Special Education Appeals. Autism services in public school at its best are supportive and nur-

Storytime

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“…Mary was a bookworm. Sometimes when her siblings went out to play, she’d stay at home reading. Other times when she joined them, as often as not she’d eventually slip away to a secluded spot where they’d find her later, engrossed in a book.” — From A World More Bright: The Life of Mary Baker Eddy by Isabel Ferguson and Heather Vogel Frederick

In this children’s program, young visitors will not only listen to stories but also engage in playful activities. Recommended for bookworms 5 years old and younger with adults. No registration required. 200 Massachusetts Ave., Boston MA 02115 For more information, please contact our Educational Programs Coordinator 617-450-7203 | palladinom@mbelibrary.org BAYSTATEPARENT 37


THE EDUCATION ISSUE

Families Can Find the Key to a Great School Year at Their Local Library BY KRISTIN GUAY

Public libraries sport a wealth of resources for public, private, or home-schooled students of all ages, as well as those simply seeking enrichment activities to their regular academic program. The key is finding what your local library offers and taking advantage of the services. Yes, libraries offer books, but they also provide so much more. Many have enrichment materials that can support comprehension of a topic or simply provide a broader scope. Libraries have books on tape, book packets that include a book and a corresponding audio version, music CDs, videos, magazines, newspapers, reference materials, study guides, and travel guides. Many libraries now loan out materials such as games, stacking blocks, stuffed animals, puppets, dolls, instruments, telescopes, flash cards, sensory balls, magic kits, sports equipment, cooking kits, art sets, and other enrichment items. Check with your local library to see what “non-book” items are available on loan. One of the many wonderful aspects about a library is that there is a variety of materials on one subject. For example, let’s look at the topic of trees or the forest. Maybe a family is planning a New England drive to view fall foliage and wants a few books to plan for the trip. There are plenty of non-fiction books on different kinds of trees and tree identification based on leaf shape and bark. 38 JANUARY2018

There are also books on the logging and paper industry that explain the use of wood, and conservation books explaining the need to protect and preserve forests around the world. A picture book, The Lorax, outlines the importance of conservation. There are even arts and crafts books that show how to make interesting items using materials found in nature (leaf rubbings, fairy houses, leaf people) and musical CDs that feature the sounds of nature, such as trees rustling in the wind, birds chirping, or a babbling stream. DVDs provide a glimpse of amazing nature areas around the world. Some libraries also offer telescopes or magnifying glasses to borrow. So, for just one subject of “trees and nature,” you can find a variety of materials to explore the topic further. Reference materials Reference materials can be used to gain quick information about a subject that can help guide further research. Students can easily utilize library materials such as newspapers, magazines, maps, travel guides, almanacs, atlases, dictionaries, directories, thesaurus, and handbooks. Reference materials are a perfect start to a project and help guide further research and investigation. Even though a wealth of information is available on the Internet, many students are still required by teachers to find paper resources, too.

Try audiobooks for comprehension and enjoyment Listening is a key component of literacy, and this skill can be honed through listening to books on tape. For younger children, many libraries have sets that contain a picture book and the audio version. For more advanced readers, libraries offer audio versions of chapters books such as the Harry Potter series, and many of the Roald Dahl

a little time alone to unwind, plus they are great during a car ride. High school students might benefit from some of the many classic novels available on audiobooks. The high school curriculum includes the writings of John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Langston Hughes, and William Shakespeare, and all could be better enjoyed or understood while listening to an audiobook version. Educational games and activities Many libraries offer a variety of educational games — both electronic and board games. You can

“The most important thing I want students and families to know is that we are here and what we offer — all for free.” —Molly Hancock, coordinator of youth services Pollard Memorial Library, Lowell and Rick Riordan books. Audiobooks allow children to hear expressive interpretations of the material and develop the important literacy skill of critical listening. They are a wonderful alternative to TV or video games when a child simply needs

usually find a good supply of games, such as chess, checkers, Scrabble, Bananagrams, or Mancala, along with puzzles of all kinds. Several libraries offer family game nights or sponsor chess clubs to encourage patrons to participate. Many online


educational sites, such as National Geographic Kids, JigZone, Chess KIDS Academy, FunBrain, and ABC Mouse, can be found on library computers. These games offer students a fun, unique way to learn important skills. Younger kids can find games on learning colors, shapes, letters, or sequencing. Older children can find anything from math games to activities that help them learn about countries around the world. Alternative place to stufy Libraries are the perfect environment to encourage quiet homework time or gather with others to work on group projects. Many libraries offer extended hours during the work week as a convenience to working parents and older students. This might be a good time to swing by the library for an alternative place to do homework, meet with other students to work on projects, or use library resources to help with school work. Children are no different than adults, and sometimes a change of scenery can make all the difference. Check into special services offered Check your local library to see what services are offered to the community. Many have volunteers that offer their time for tutoring, computer assistance, English language instruction, standardized test preparation, and career counseling. Boston Public Library branches offer homework help to students in Grades 1 through 8 by using a teen mentor program, according to Farouqua Abuzeit, BPL youth services manager. Mentors are in Grades 10-12, must have a 3.0 GPA, receive training through the SmartTalk program, and many are bilingual. Depending on the need and resources of each branch, tutoring is offered about four days a week. These mentors not only work with the younger students, but they can also communicate information to non-English-speaking parents. Some of the newer branches offer quiet study rooms for students to work individually or in small groups. Many libraries offer online programs to assist older students in learning another language or preparation for standardized tests such as the SAT, GED, and TOEFL. Some libraries offer college planning centers that assist students in selecting the right college, navigating the enrollment process, and finding financial aid or scholarships. Many libraries also offer use of computer and Internet access, printing, 3D printing, copying, scanning, fax machines, delivery for homebound patrons, exam proctoring, interlibrary loans, and meeting rooms. These services can be invaluable for many patrons. “Students come in for homework related reasons, including use of our computers. There are many

people in Lowell who cannot afford computers and printers, so students will often come here to do online research and assignments, as well as printing out homework and reports,” said Molly Hancock, coordinator of youth services at Lowell’s Pollard Memorial Library. Explore the ways libraries target specific age groups Mark Malcolm, Maynard Public Library children’s librarian, created two programs specifically for the middle school population. “Around three years ago, I noticed that [the school] did not have a newspaper,” he said. “With that in mind, we began a newspaper club that enlisted [Grade 4-7] students to meet every other week at the library throughout the school year. Each session, we covered a different type of newspaper-related writing [editorials, interviews, articles, etc.], and I encouraged the members to submit material for the paper.” He also launched a photography club that meets once a month and takes pictures around the community. The results are displayed in an exhibit at the end of the year. Malcolm said it’s important to have a welcoming area for teens through teen-friendly furniture or by creating teen advisory boards where teens can offer guidance and suggestions. “I believe that a vital way that students can use the library is just for them to come in and socialize throughout the school year,” he said. “This way, they can work together on projects, do homework, or just collaborate with one another about the many activities they do.” In addition to programs, libraries will also develop collections of materials geared toward the needs of specific student populations. Maynard Public Library has made additions to their collections to encourage younger patrons to visit the library: The graphic novel section has been developed, along with the addition of more Spanish books to help support the elementary schools’ Spanish immersion classes.

SEVEN HILLS CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOL APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR

Seven Hills Charter Public School is a free independent public school that offers challenging academic programs for children in grades K through 8.

OTHER IMPORTANT FEATURES ARE:

• Two outstanding educators in each • A commitment to family involvement core classroom • An appreciation of diversity • A longer school day and year • Comprehensive programs for students with • An emphasis on college and career readiness special needs or English language learning • An enriched curriculum including character needs education, integrated arts and technology Applications are available in our main office and on line at sevenhillscharter.org starting September 1, 2017. Application deadline: February 2, 2018. Lottery will be held on March 9, 2018 Location: Seven Hills Charter Public School, 51 Gage Street Worcester MA EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR CERTIFIED TEACHERS

The Seven Hills Charter School is a tuition - free public school serving Worcester’s children. With no admission test, the school serves a student body that is representative of Worcester’s diversity. Seven Hills Charter Public School does not discriminate based on gender, race, religion, gender identity, cultural heritage, linguistic background, political beliefs, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, marital status, or national origin. In the event that there are more applicants than seats, a lottery will be used to select students.

Learn a new skill or explore a favorite hobby Babysitting, salsa dancing, computer coding, learning a language, gardening, STEM projects, knitting, learning a musical instrument, improving writing skills, sewing, financial planning, tech support, quit making, and yoga are all courses that may be offered at a public library. Many libraries also support a variety of clubs for hobbies, such as drawing, Pokemon, chess, photography, Mahjong, Anime, video gaming, book clubs, Legos, and selected films. Check the events calendar of BAYSTATEPARENT 39


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a few of your local libraries to see if something would interest your child. Also, feel free to suggest a club to the librarian. Many times patrons may have expressed an interest, and the library might decide to start a new program or club.

information can be shared with other patrons. For example, a librarian might not be familiar with graphic novels for middle school students, but they can at least provide some guidance based on what other kids have said about the books.

Take advantage of enrichment programs Libraries offer many programs for free or at a reduced cost. Common programs include author talks, storytimes, craft activities, musical performances, art exhibits, puppet shows, historical presentations, science experiments, dance and movement, English language classes, reading to a therapy dog, and magic shows. Some are tailored to the needs of special age groups, such as lap programs for infants, drop-in storytime for preschool children, and books clubs for teens. Libraries also provide passes to many local museums and attractions, such as the Boston Children’s Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, the Museum of Science, Mystic Aquarium, and Plimoth Plantation. The value of these passes can range from free to reduced admission.

Student and family support Many may not realize all the free resources and support that libraries have to offer the public. “One of the interesting things about Lowell is that we are an immigrant city. We have new residents every day that arrive from all over the world. It is not unusual for families to come from a place where there are no free libraries,” said Pollard Memorial Library’s Hancock. “I always love it when I conduct a tour or make a school visit, and later that day one of the children that came for a tour or that I visited, brings her family to the library. The most important thing I want students and families to know is that we are here and what we offer — all for free.”

Librarian knowledge Librarians not only know about the books they have read, but also the books patrons have read. Librarians constantly get feedback on books, authors, and illustrators, and this

Kristin Guay lives on Cape Cod with her husband, two daughters, and beloved black lab. A former middle school language arts teacher, she is currently Youth Services Director at Centerville Library.

KidsCon & CAMP

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EXPO


educational sites, such as National Geographic Kids, JigZone, Chess KIDS Academy, FunBrain, and ABC Mouse, can be found on library computers. These games offer students a fun, unique way to learn important skills. Younger kids can find games on learning colors, shapes, letters, or sequencing. Older children can find anything from math games to activities that help them learn about countries around the world. Alternative place to stufy Libraries are the perfect environment to encourage quiet homework time or gather with others to work on group projects. Many libraries offer extended hours during the work week as a convenience to working parents and older students. This might be a good time to swing by the library for an alternative place to do homework, meet with other students to work on projects, or use library resources to help with school work. Children are no different than adults, and sometimes a change of scenery can make all the difference. Check into special services offered Check your local library to see what services are offered to the community. Many have volunteers that offer their time for tutoring, computer assistance, English language instruction, standardized test preparation, and career counseling. Boston Public Library branches offer homework help to students in Grades 1 through 8 by using a teen mentor program, according to Farouqua Abuzeit, BPL youth services manager. Mentors are in Grades 10-12, must have a 3.0 GPA, receive training through the SmartTalk program, and many are bilingual. Depending on the need and resources of each branch, tutoring is offered about four days a week. These mentors not only work with the younger students, but they can also communicate information to non-English-speaking parents. Some of the newer branches offer quiet study rooms for students to work individually or in small groups. Many libraries offer online programs to assist older students in learning another language or preparation for standardized tests such as the SAT, GED, and TOEFL. Some libraries offer college planning centers that assist students in selecting the right college, navigating the enrollment process, and finding financial aid or scholarships. Many libraries also offer use of computer and Internet access, printing, 3D printing, copying, scanning, fax machines, delivery for homebound patrons, exam proctoring, interlibrary loans, and meeting rooms. These services can be invaluable for many patrons. “Students come in for homework related reasons, including use of our computers. There are many

people in Lowell who cannot afford computers and printers, so students will often come here to do online research and assignments, as well as printing out homework and reports,” said Molly Hancock, coordinator of youth services at Lowell’s Pollard Memorial Library. Explore the ways libraries target specific age groups Mark Malcolm, Maynard Public Library children’s librarian, created two programs specifically for the middle school population. “Around three years ago, I noticed that [the school] did not have a newspaper,” he said. “With that in mind, we began a newspaper club that enlisted [Grade 4-7] students to meet every other week at the library throughout the school year. Each session, we covered a different type of newspaper-related writing [editorials, interviews, articles, etc.], and I encouraged the members to submit material for the paper.” He also launched a photography club that meets once a month and takes pictures around the community. The results are displayed in an exhibit at the end of the year. Malcolm said it’s important to have a welcoming area for teens through teen-friendly furniture or by creating teen advisory boards where teens can offer guidance and suggestions. “I believe that a vital way that students can use the library is just for them to come in and socialize throughout the school year,” he said. “This way, they can work together on projects, do homework, or just collaborate with one another about the many activities they do.” In addition to programs, libraries will also develop collections of materials geared toward the needs of specific student populations. Maynard Public Library has made additions to their collections to encourage younger patrons to visit the library: The graphic novel section has been developed, along with the addition of more Spanish books to help support the elementary schools’ Spanish immersion classes.

SEVEN HILLS CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOL APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR

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• Two outstanding educators in each • A commitment to family involvement core classroom • An appreciation of diversity • A longer school day and year • Comprehensive programs for students with • An emphasis on college and career readiness special needs or English language learning • An enriched curriculum including character needs education, integrated arts and technology Applications are available in our main office and on line at sevenhillscharter.org starting September 1, 2017. Application deadline: February 2, 2018. Lottery will be held on March 9, 2018 Location: Seven Hills Charter Public School, 51 Gage Street Worcester MA EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR CERTIFIED TEACHERS

The Seven Hills Charter School is a tuition - free public school serving Worcester’s children. With no admission test, the school serves a student body that is representative of Worcester’s diversity. Seven Hills Charter Public School does not discriminate based on gender, race, religion, gender identity, cultural heritage, linguistic background, political beliefs, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, marital status, or national origin. In the event that there are more applicants than seats, a lottery will be used to select students.

Learn a new skill or explore a favorite hobby Babysitting, salsa dancing, computer coding, learning a language, gardening, STEM projects, knitting, learning a musical instrument, improving writing skills, sewing, financial planning, tech support, quit making, and yoga are all courses that may be offered at a public library. Many libraries also support a variety of clubs for hobbies, such as drawing, Pokemon, chess, photography, Mahjong, Anime, video gaming, book clubs, Legos, and selected films. Check the events calendar of BAYSTATEPARENT 39


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a few of your local libraries to see if something would interest your child. Also, feel free to suggest a club to the librarian. Many times patrons may have expressed an interest, and the library might decide to start a new program or club.

information can be shared with other patrons. For example, a librarian might not be familiar with graphic novels for middle school students, but they can at least provide some guidance based on what other kids have said about the books.

Take advantage of enrichment programs Libraries offer many programs for free or at a reduced cost. Common programs include author talks, storytimes, craft activities, musical performances, art exhibits, puppet shows, historical presentations, science experiments, dance and movement, English language classes, reading to a therapy dog, and magic shows. Some are tailored to the needs of special age groups, such as lap programs for infants, drop-in storytime for preschool children, and books clubs for teens. Libraries also provide passes to many local museums and attractions, such as the Boston Children’s Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, the Museum of Science, Mystic Aquarium, and Plimoth Plantation. The value of these passes can range from free to reduced admission.

Student and family support Many may not realize all the free resources and support that libraries have to offer the public. “One of the interesting things about Lowell is that we are an immigrant city. We have new residents every day that arrive from all over the world. It is not unusual for families to come from a place where there are no free libraries,” said Pollard Memorial Library’s Hancock. “I always love it when I conduct a tour or make a school visit, and later that day one of the children that came for a tour or that I visited, brings her family to the library. The most important thing I want students and families to know is that we are here and what we offer — all for free.”

Librarian knowledge Librarians not only know about the books they have read, but also the books patrons have read. Librarians constantly get feedback on books, authors, and illustrators, and this

Kristin Guay lives on Cape Cod with her husband, two daughters, and beloved black lab. A former middle school language arts teacher, she is currently Youth Services Director at Centerville Library.

KidsCon & CAMP

Follow us to page 25! 40 JANUARY2018

EXPO


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New Program Helps

Opioid-Addicted

Parents Strengthen Their Families BY MELISSA SHAW, ILLUSTRATION BY ENDIA KNEIPP

42 JANUARY2018

Parents recovering from opioid addiction face the everyday stressors and challenges of raising children on top of those associated with abstaining from substance abuse. A new, free program has launched in Massachusetts, aimed at helping parents in recovery manage both.


“There’s actually a lot of similarities in what somebody in recovery and someone who’s parenting are struggling with. Both struggle with isolation, both of them struggle with stress.” — Ellie Zambrano, clinical director, Parenting Journey

Sober Parenting Journey is a 14-week program based in Somerville. Participants meet two hours a week in a small group setting and focus on strengthening the bonds with their children while maintaining their abstinence from drugs. The program is free, with childcare and a meal provided at each session. The only qualification participants must meet is that they’ve been in recovery for at least 30 days and regularly see a primary provider to support their sobriety. The program is a new offering from Parenting Journey, a 35-year-old Somervillebased nonprofit that offers a series of programs designed to support parents and make families stronger. Officials are quick to point out that Sober Parenting Journey is not an addiction recovery support group, but rather a family support group infused with key elements of addiction recovery. “We’re not a recovery community, we’re not recovery specialists,” Clinical Director Ellie Zambrano noted. ”We are a family support program for people in recovery. We provide the family support, which is unique in that a lot of recovery programs focus on separation and isolation in early stages of recovery. We really want people to be safe in their recovery, but we also want people to realize that family is a wonderful asset to helping people facilitate change. We want to talk about the role of parenting in recovery, it’s really important.” Run by a trained facilitator, the program’s curriculum is based on research, practical recovery experience, and anecdotal experience and input from sober parents who participated in a series of pilot versions and shared their feedback. “People discover who they are as a person, a person in recovery, and

then as a parent,” Group Facilitator Delores Reyes said. Other sessions focus on honesty, trust, stressors, coping skills, selfadvocacy, and the effect substance use disorder has on parents. “We look at what research says as it relates to relapse prevention, motivational interviewing, and harm reduction, and we infuse that with our knowledge and expertise around family work,” Zambrano added. “Relapse prevention is in every session, and in every session we also ask parents where they are at in their recovery,” Reyes said. “One person could be in a different place from another person. We don’t want to tell them where they should be, we want them to tell us. We have really great retention. A lot of people in the program are really dedicated and committed to their recovery, so this is a huge success for parents in recovery.” Zambrano said there is a significant parallel between typical parents and those recovering from substance use: isolation and judgment. “There’s actually a lot of similarities in what somebody in recovery and someone who’s parenting are struggling with,” she said. “Both struggle with isolation, both of them struggle with stress. When parents are dealing with stress, there’s a lot of shame around expressing their challenges. It’s very much related to our culture, society is very judgmental toward parents. Acknowledging that and giving people the safe space to have discussions about what that means to them is so important. I see substance use disorder as a major health issue, but it’s been stigmatized as a personal issue or a social or behavioral issue. That’s been problematic, and as a result of that

we’re dealing with a major crisis. We know there are 11 million Americans impacted by the opioid crisis right now, and it’s really devastating in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” One of the opioid crisis’s devastating characteristics is that it is cutting a swath through all cities and towns, regardless of a person’s status, income, or location. “We see a very diverse group of people who are in need of these types of support services,” Zambrano noted. “We know substance use disorder doesn’t discriminate, it crosses all socioeconomic groups.” While most participants are referred by the Massachusetts

Department of Children & Families, Reyes said any parent at least 30 days sober and actively working on their recovery is welcome. More information can be found at parentingjourney.org or by calling (617) 628-8815. “It’s a safe place to come and talk about things they definitely could not talk about in a regular group,” Reyes said. “I’ve seen a lot of changes: I’ve seen people get housing, jobs, work on their own health problems. Parents are communicating much better with their children, including children who are only months old; they talk about how they can hold their baby. People are having discussions with their older children, because the children are asking them, ‘Why were you gone for three months, Mommy?’ They’re able to talk more, depending on ageappropriateness, about their illness. There’s a really good quality that’s surfacing in the Sober Parenting Journey program — communication with their children — and that’s a real special blessing for this group.”

“Parents are communicating much better with their children, including children who are only months old; they talk about how they can hold their baby.” — Delores Reyes, group facilitator, Sober Parenting Journey BAYSTATEPARENT 43


ASK THE EXPERT

Inside Key First-Aid Skills for New Parents

By Lisa Capra, MD

My first child is due soon and I’m wondering what basic first-aid skills, as a new parent, I should have? What about when my child is older, say, a toddler? A child’s safety is always the top priority for moms and dads alike, but for new parents, this can be an especially frightening topic. Aside from simply purchasing a medical kit, what first-aid skills do expecting, or new, parents need to know? The first step to first aid is figuring out what exactly your child is experiencing. Although you shouldn’t trust all online sources, one reputable site is the American Academy of Pediatrics (aap.org). It has plenty of up-to-date material online, and

44 JANUARY2018

it’s separated by age group as your child’s health — and related first-aid issues — will change throughout their life. AAP also offers a great app you can download. Both sources provide step-by-step guidance to dealing with various symptoms, illnesses, and injuries, while also advising when to take your child to the doctor or emergency room. Once you understand the situation, there are some basic first-aid skills to possess that will always help. Knowing how to perform CPR

is incredibly important; consider taking a first aid and CPR training course to make sure you are prepared. Courses like this can hone your first-aid skills and teach you everything from dealing with burns and bug bites to CPR. Healthychildren.org is a great website with information on a variety of topics. Its first-aid guide is available in English and Spanish, and is also offered in an audio format. If you can’t make it to a first-aid class, this is a reasonable substitution. In a situation that calls for immediate first aid, you might not have time to sit down and surf the internet for answers. Posters and tip sheets that cover basic first-aid skills, including CPR, choking, and common injuries, can be purchased. Even if you feel prepared, other caregivers in your home, such as older children or babysitters, might find these reference sheets helpful. When faced with an emergency, you should always call 911. Additionally, it is always a good idea for you and fellow caregivers in the home to have easy access to a list of emergency contacts. This should not only include your primary care physician, but also poison control and the nearest emergency room. Add the number of an emergency contact who could take care of any other children you have or could accompany you to the hospital.

Most injuries occur at home, so ensure that windows are securely fastened, medication is stored in a child-proof manner, and fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are up to date. The same advice goes for grandparents’ houses or any other home your child may frequent. The key is to be proactive and do what you can to prevent injuries before they happen. Educate yourself about safe-sleep practices, breastfeeding practices, window safety, and weapon storage, to name a few. As your child grows, you will have to continually re-evaluate your childproofing. While certain basics, such as fire alarms or pool fencing, are always relevant, you will want to reevaluate your environment for new dangers as your child develops new skills, such as walking or climbing. As a new parent, or any parent, this can all feel overwhelming. This is simply a guide. Your pediatrician will be talking to you about all of this along the way, and taking steps to educate yourself in the meantime means you are already taking the right steps. Lisa Capra, MD, is assistant division chief, Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine, at Floating Hospital for Children; director, Hospitalist Program, at MetroWest Medical Center; and an assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.


FINALLY FOREVER

January’s Child: Maxxon

Maxxon is a sweet, inquisitive, and kind 9-year-old boy of Caucasian and Hispanic descent. He is generally easy-going and calm. His favorite activities include riding his bike, playing with trucks, and watching television. Maxxon is fascinated with emergency vehicles and likes

the sounds that they make. He also enjoys interacting with adults and loves music. Maxxon has a good sense of humor and will often surprise everyone with a funny joke out of nowhere! Maxxon is very intelligent and has good relationships with his peers. Maxxon is on the Autism spectrum. Legally free for adoption, Maxxon is eagerly awaiting his forever home. His social worker believes that he will thrive in a nurturing family of any constellation, with or without other children in the home. Maxxon has an Open Adoption Agreement, and an adoptive family must be willing to help him visit with his birth parents three times a year. If you would like more information about Maxxon, please call The Department of Children and Families (DCF) Adoption Supervisor Julianne Dillon at (508) 929-1250.

Circle of Friends Tuesday, Jan. 2: Western Region Adoption Info Meeting — Department of Children and Families, 140 High St., 5th Floor, Springfield. 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. (413) 452-3369. No registration required.

Wednesday, Jan. 17: Boston Region Adoption Info Meeting, DCF Boston, 451 Blue Hill Avenue, Dorchester. 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. 617-989-9209. No registration required.

Monday, Jan. 8: Northern Region Adoption Info Meeting, Jordan’s Furniture, 50 Walkers Brook Dr., IMAX Conference Room, Reading. 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. No RSVP required. Email victoriat@ mareinc.org for more information.

Tuesday, Jan. 23: Boston Matching Night. Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, 19 Needham St., Suite 206, Newton. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Waiting families are invited to meet with social workers and learn about children and sibling groups over the age of six who are waiting to be adopted. This event is for families who have completed MAPP training. RSVP by Jan. 22 to emilyg@mareinc.org or 617-964-6273 x123.

Wednesday, Jan. 10: Central Region Adoption Info Meeting — ADLU Worcester. 13 Sudbury St., Worcester. 6 p.m.-7 p.m. (508) 929-2413. No registration required.

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New Study Finds Streaming Platforms’ Parental Controls Severely Lacking

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BY MICHELLE PERRAS-CHARRON Parents leaving broadcast and cable TV for streaming in hopes of finding more family fare are in for disappointment, according to a new report from Parents Television Council. The report, “Over-the-Top or a Race to the Bottom: A Parent’s Guide to Streaming Video,” finds that streaming platforms and content providers are doing a poor job protecting children from inappropriate and adult content. It also notes that youth often have easy access to adult content, even when available parental controls are engaged. Parents Television Council (PTC) is a nonpartisan education organization advocating for responsible entertainment. The report can be found at parentstv.org/ OTT2017M. Melissa Henson, report author and PTC program director, says it was her own experience that prompted her curiosity about streaming content and children. When her child was in kindergarten, Henson wanted more control over the media coming into her home, so she ditched cable and switched to Netflix. She was surprised to find that children’s shows were in close proximity to adult content on the menu screen, and there was nothing she could do about it, she says. The new report rates the effectiveness of parental controls — if any — on the most popular Over-the-Top (OTT) video services — Google Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku — while also noting the availability of child- or family-friendly original programming. The organization also

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studied how OTT services work in conjunction with popular Streaming Video On Demand (SVOD) services, particularly Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix. “Roku has the least parental controls,” Henson says. “There are no added layers of protection.” The PTC report gave Roku a D on its Key Findings Report Card, for offering the leastrobust parental controls of the four studied, noting that although parental controls may be in place on supported apps/channels, they don’t seem to work well within the Roku framework. For example, despite the fact that parents can create a separate user profile for children on Netflix, Roku defaults to the Netflix adult/owner profile. Henson says most surprising of all, PTC found that although Netflix and Hulu allow for a separate user profile for children, there is nothing to stop them from switching over to an adult profile with either service. “It’s surprising how easy it is to switch between the adult and kid profiles,” she says. “A child can still browse adult titles.” Also troubling, she adds, is that sexually suggestive adult titles and cover art are often in close proximity to child-friendly categories. For example, a child using Amazon Prime Video (which offers no option for a separate child profile) may have to scroll past adult-themed titles and cover art to access child-friendly content. And even when parental controls have been deployed to block a child from viewing TV-MA or


R-rated content, titles and cover art are still visible on the menu screen. Hulu had the least problematic titles and cover art of the providers studied, according to the report, earning it a grade of B+ in “Visibility of Adult Titles/Content.” Netflix received a D and Amazon Prime a C in this category. Overall, Henson says that although all SVOD and OTT providers work hard to draw families in with preschool programming, they are not doing much to serve or protect them. Other key findings: • Among SVOD services (Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix), there is no consistency in the application, or visibility of, aged-based content ratings. • Netflix offers categories of content that some viewers may find offensive (pornographic titles and cover art), which often appear in close proximity to child-friendly categories, with no clear way of eliminating them from the menu. • None of the SVOD services studied offer a family plan that would allow parents to block all explicit titles, at all times, across all devices. (Also, a portion of customer subscription fees goes toward underwriting explicit content.) • Most original streaming content is rated TV-MA. For example, on Netflix, 65% of original/exclusive content is rated TV-MA, 8% is PG, and 1% is rated

G. This translates to only 4 minutes out of every hour of original series programming being suitable for a family audience (rated PG or lower).

Which service or platform is best for families?

parents), there are no pre-loaded apps or menu screens. Chromecast is controlled via a mobile app rather than a remote, and content is “cast” onto the television from the mobile app. Therefore, whoever holds the smartphone controls what is cast onto the television. There is no risk of children scrolling past inappropriate content, switching to an adult profile, or viewing menu screens with objectionable content. Overall, Google Chromecast was given an A rating in the PTC report for these reasons. Families with children listening to music and/or podcasts may prefer Apple TV, which received a B in the report because it is the only OTT device that also applies parental controls to music and podcasts, as well as video content, she says. Families with older teens who can watch television independently may prefer Hulu due to its lower proportion of mature content. Also, Hulu uses age-based and content ratings, and rates each episode separately, rather than issuing one rating for the entire series, as Netflix does.

“There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every family,” she notes. “It really depends on the age of your children.” Factors to consider when choosing the service or platform include the ages of children in the home, who is using the services, when they’re using it, and the level of supervision, she adds. Henson says families with young children may prefer Netflix or Amazon Prime with Google Chromecast, because while Chromecast has limited functionality (translation: more control for

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Michelle Perras-Charron is a freelance writer and mother to four boys in Western Massachusetts. A Navy brat and also the wife of a retired Air Force captain, she loves writing about people and all topics related to parenting.

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DIVORCE & CO-PARENTING

4 Ways to Improve Co-Parenting This Year BY ATTY. ANDY P. MILLER

At the start of a new year we reflect upon what has happened in the past and what we would like to see happen in the future. This is especially important for parents who are separated and divorced. Ideally, this is a time for both of you to review your co-parenting arrangement to identify ways to improve your child’s relationship with both parents. Here are some areas to consider:

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Respect Be respectful of the other parent, in your conversations and dealings with that person — especially in front of your child. Remain civil in person and when speaking by phone. Don’t engage in name-calling or make disparaging remarks to or about the other parent — especially when you are within earshot of your child. Think of the message you are sending the co-parent. It also is important for you to foster love and respect, not just in the parent-child relationship, but also as a model for future relationships your child will someday have with his or her spouse and children. Shared time Many couples have a parenting plan written into their divorce agreement that spells out how the child will spend time with each parent during the week, on holidays, during school vacations, etc. While the parenting plan is an important tool for providing consistency in your child’s schedule, it is also important to be flexible when possible to allow for changes in work schedules, vacation plans, and family events. For example, if your former spouse has an out-oftown business trip, offer to switch his/her overnight with the children. If they have a family event on “your” weekend, offer to switch weekends so your child can attend. Remember: The parenting plan is a guide, but co-parents should work together to do what’s in the best interest of their children whenever possible, especially when there’s a scheduling conflict. Acceptance Separation and divorce will change your family’s routines and dynamics, which can be difficult on everyone

involved. Accept that many of these changes will be difficult, on you and your children. Try to help everyone adjust to the new “normal” for your situation. Don’t criticize the other parent just because he or she may have different routines and habits than yours. Ideally, both households should provide consistency with regards to the children’s bedtimes, schoolwork, chores, and the like. But it’s OK if your spouse takes your children out to eat more than you do, or allows them to wear pajamas all day on a rainy weekend. Just because it’s different than what you do doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Also, try to be accepting of your former spouse’s new relationship if that person will be part of your children’s lives as well. This will help you move on and develop a new relationship, especially if you haven’t already begun to do so. Gratitude Be grateful that your child has two parents in his/her life, especially if the other parent is actively involved in the emotional, physical, and financial support of your children. One parent may have primary responsibility for your child, maybe even shouldering the bulk of parenting time, school work, activities, and so on. But any child lucky enough to have two parents actively involved in his/ her life is far luckier than a child who has lost a parent and/or never interacts with an absentee parent. One more thought: As we begin 2018, try to focus on the positive — especially the relationship you have with your children. While your relationship with your ex is over, your roles as mom and dad will last forever. This year, vow to be the best parent you can be for your child. Attorney Andy P. Miller is the founder and managing attorney of Miller Law Group, P.C. (apmillerlawgroup. com). A father himself, Miller focuses on children and their best interests by helping guide parents through the divorce process.


A GOOD PARTY IS ALWAYS IN SEASON Big Joe

the Storyteller

Storytelling fun for Birthday Parties, Schools, Daycare Centers, Library Programs, Special Events and TV Featuring: • Original & Classic Stories • Puppets, Props and Surprises For Bookings and Info Call: 617-713-4349 E-mail: BigJoe@BigJoe.com Visit me on the web at: www.BigJoe.com

All Ages. Birthday Parties, Schools, Fairs, Day Care Centers, Etc.

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www.rosalitaspuppets.com 617-633-2832

January INDEX

Abby Kelley Foster Charter School..................... 32 Advanced Neurotherapy PC............................... 37 Bay State Skating School................................... 14 Big Joe Productions........................................... 49 Big Y Foods, Inc................................................... 5 Boston Paintball................................................ 49 Cafe Espresso.................................................... 46 Children’s Development Network, Inc.................. 6 Children’s Orchard-Westboro............................. 15 Cornerstone Academy......................................... 2 Ecotarium......................................................... 51 Fletcher Tilton PC............................................... 36 FMC Ice Sports..................................................... 4 Harrington Oil................................................... 48 Harvest Grille.................................................... 47 Heywood Hospital............................................. 41 Hillside School................................................... 39 Hunter’s Grille and Tap at the Grafton Inn.......... 23 Legoland Discovery Center Boston..................... 19 Mall At Whitney Field........................................ 11 Mary Baker Eddy Library (The)......................... 37 Millbury Federal Credit Union.............................. 9 New England Cord Blood Bank Inc..................... 28 Olde Post Office Pub......................................... 23 Pakachoag Community Music School................. 47 Parenting Solutions........................................... 18 Providence Children’s Film Festival.................... 15 Reliant Medical Group....................................... 35 Rosalita’s Puppets.............................................. 49 Seven Hills Charter School................................. 39 Shrewsbury Children’s Center............................ 40 Shrewsbury Montessori School........................... 45 Smuggler’s Notch Resort.................................... 17 St. Peter-Marian C.C. Jr./Sr. School.................... 32 St. Vincent Hospital............................................. 3 STEM Beginnings............................................... 33 The Children’s Workshop................................... 48 The Learning Zone............................................ 45 Ultimate Obstacles............................................. 18 UMass Memorial Medical Center..............14,28,52 Village School (The)........................................... 40 Whale Camp..................................................... 16 Whitinsville Christian School.............................. 34 Worcester JCC................................................... 46 Worcester Railers HC......................................... 20

srmallard11@gmail.com 1109519.myubam.com

RESERVE YOUR PARTY PAGE AD TODAY email regina@baystateparent.com

Follow me to page 25! BAYSTATEPARENT 49


TAKE EIGHT

with Victoria Jamieson Author-illustrator Victoria Jamieson’s first novel, 2015’s Roller Girl, was an award-winning smash, detailing the adventures of Astrid, who navigates friendships, junior high, and roller derby camp. Roller Derby veteran Jamieson has released her follow-up, All’s Faire in Middle School, once again returning to the middle-grade market (ages 9-12), the graphic novel format, and a beloved setting from her past: a Renaissance Faire. In her new book, readers meet 11-year-old Imogene, who spends weekends at a Renaissance Faire with her family and weekdays trying to figure out how to fit in at her new school.

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How did you decide that your next book would focus on a Renaissance Faire? It was tough. After Roller Girl I wasn’t exactly sure what to write. I tend to base most of my books on personal experiences. I was a little bit older than middle grade when I worked at a Ren Faire, I was in high school, but I remember having such a good time with my friends. I thought there might be good parallels you could draw between a Ren Faire and middle school. How much of Imogene is you? I’m a lot more like Imogene than I was Astrid. People always told me with Roller Girl they liked that Astrid was so independent and fierce, but I was a lot like Imogene, in that I was really self-conscious, cared what other people thought about me, and didn’t really know how to make friends.

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The book rings so true in terms of the reality of middle school and the experiences of the characters: trying to fit in, wanting to be popular, wanting to wear the “right” clothes. It takes adults right back to that time. I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’ve had the same experiences: wanting the real jeans, but their parents wouldn’t buy them. I think that happened for everybody. It’s easy to feel ashamed about that as a grown-up, or tell kids, “You don’t need to wear the same jeans as everyone else,” but whenever I talked to anybody about middle school they’re, like, “Oh, yeah, I wanted to wear exactly the same jeans, the same brand of shoes.” It was really important at that age.

It’s easy to tell kids to be themselves and not follow along with the cool kids, but we adults forget how hard it was at that age. Imogene was really torn in terms of what to do. Social constructs in middle school can be really complicated; it’s not always cut and dry. Nobody’s 100% evil and nobody’s all good, there’s always some gray area you’re trying to navigate, and you’re not sure what the right thing is to do.

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You didn’t resolve Imogene’s problem right away. She had to deal with the repercussions of her decisions, and the conflict didn’t resolve quickly, which seemed very true to life, more than most youth fiction. That’s something else I tried to take from real life. I feel like if I did something bad and I apologized to my parents, there was always some sort of weird cooling-off period where I felt they were still mad at me, but I didn’t quite know how to get out of being in trouble because I had already said I was sorry. When I’m writing books, I go back to what it was actually like for me at that age. How did you get involved in Renaissance Faires? When I was in high school, we had to do volunteer hours for school, and a friend of mine, her mom owned a shop at the Ren Faire for six weeks during the year. And for some reason, the school said that was alright for our volunteer hours. She had a shop and we would help sell items, but really we just went and ate lots of sugar, goofed around, and had a great time. I was surprised the school fell for it!

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Did you parents support your love of art? My parents definitely encouraged me a lot. My mom was an art teacher and a librarian. She always had art supplies for us to use; we were always drawing and painting. Especially when I was trying to decide on college, my mom was instrumental in saying, ‘Maybe you should think about art school. You’ve always liked to draw.’ I don’t think I would have considered it, I always thought it was too scary to be an artist: You can’t make a living like that. But she helped me get over my fears.

What’s the message you hope readers get from the book? I wasn’t really trying to get a message across. I was trying to say: Middle school can be terrible, and a lot of people have a terrible time in middle school. You’re not alone in feeling like you’re all alone. 50 JANUARY2018

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BAYSTATEPARENT 51


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November 2018 issue

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