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BACK TO SCHOOL 2021

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Hydration Hero Challenge

CMY Do you have what it takes to be a Hydration Hero?

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Join Charlie Cucumber’s Hydration Challenge! According to the Institute of Medicine, kids ages 4 to 8 need seven 8-ounce cups of water to stay hydrated during an average day. For every cup of water you drink, color in a section of the drawing below and record what time you finished it. After drinking all your water, you’ll get to see your drawing come to life!

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Do you have what it takes to be a Hydration Hero?

Fruits and vegetables don’t just make yummy snacks, they also give us some nutrients we need to grow up smart, healthy, and strong like the Snack Pals. Challenge yourself with the Snack Pals badge program and you’ll earn badges to celebrate how super you are! For every badge you earn, unlock a fun, new coloring page! All kinds of fun adventures are waiting for you - just follow your Snack Pals!

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KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

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Join Charlie Cucumber’s Hydration Challenge! According to the Institute of Medicine, kids ages 4 to 8 need seven 8-ounce cups of water to stay hydrated during an average day. For every cup of water you drink, color in a section of the drawing below and record what time you finished it. After drinking all your water, you’ll get to see your drawing come to life!

Hydration Hero Challenge 5

4 7 6 3 5 2

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Super Stretcher Challenge

Hey there! When you stretch, how low can you go? Let’s learn some great stretches with your pal, Maggie Mango. Maggie stretches every morning and evening to stay limber and wants you to join in on the fun! If you complete the challenge, you’ll earn the Super Stretcher badge. Let’s get started!

Super MORNING ROUTINE Stretcher Challenge

Butterfly Stretch Sit on the floor and bring your feet together in front of you. Bend your knees while keeping your feet together and on the floor, your knees should lift off the floor. Slowly and gently wiggle your knees up and down like butterfly wings.

Calf Stretch Stand facing a wall and put your hands flat on it to help you stay balanced while you step your right foot back behind you. Your left foot should stay grounded where it started. Hold this stretch for 20 – 30 seconds and don’t forget to switch sides!

Hey there! When you stretch, how low can you go? Let’s learn some great stretches with your pal, Maggie Mango. Maggie stretches every morning and evening to stay limber and wants you to join in on Quadricep Stretch the fun! If you complete the challenge, you’ll earn Stand up tall with your feet the Super Stretcher badge. Let’s started! shoulder-width apart.get Bend

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Great work, pal — you completed the challenge! Click the “I Rocked That!” button in your personal Badge Bank to receive your Hydration Hero badge.

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Great work, pal — you completed the challenge! Click the “I Rocked That!” button in your personal Badge Bank to receive your Hydration Hero badge. hannafordsnackpals.com

your knees a little and raise your right foot towards your

MORNING ROUTINE right behind you. Gently pull Butterfly Stretch Sit on the floor and bring your feet together in front of you. Bend your knees while keeping your feet together and on the floor, your knees should lift off the floor. Slowly and gently wiggle your knees up and down like butterfly wings.

Calf Stretch Stand facing a wall and put your hands flat on it to help you stay balanced while you step your right foot back behind you. Your left foot should stay grounded where it started. Hold this stretch for 20 – 30 seconds and don’t forget to switch sides!

the heel of your foot as close as you can get it to Quadricep Stretch your body while staying Stand balanced. Try to hold theup tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend stretch for 10 – 15 seconds, your knees a little and raise then switch to the other your right foot towards your side. This will stretch the right behind you. Gently pull the heel big muscle on the front of of your foot as closefor as you can get it to your leg which is great your body while staying people who love to run! balanced. Try to hold the stretch for 10 – 15 seconds, then switch to the other side. This will stretch the

Cross-body Toe Touches big muscle on the front of youryour leg which is great for Stand up tall and keep people arms out by your sides towho love to run! help you balance. Step your right foot across your left foot and move yourCross-body arms in Toe Touches front of you before Stand you up tall and keep your arms out by your sides to slowly and gently bend help you balance. Step your forward. If you can right stretch foot across your left all the way to the floor, youmove your arms in foot and of you before you can put your handsfront on the floor in front of you.slowly Holdand gently bend forward. If you can stretch the stretch for 20 – 30 all the way to the floor, you seconds, then do the same can put your hands on the stretch with the other floorleg. in front of you. Hold the stretch for 20 – 30 seconds, then do the same stretch with the other leg.

Continued on next page Continued on next page

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EDITOR’S NOTE

QUESTION FOR CONTRIBUTORS’ KIDS: ROSS SHEEHAN

STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS

What are you excited about this school year? To learn about ART AND PLAY. And do a lot of stuff. Too much stuff.

COPUBLISHER/ EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Cathy Resmer

CORALINE, 5

cathy@kidsvt.com COPUBLISHER

Getting BOOKS and sharing them.

Colby Roberts

colby@kidsvt.com

BO, 4

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Alison Novak

I’m excited to learn new MATH and get better at READING.

ART DIRECTOR

Kirsten Thompson MARKETING & EVENTS DIRECTOR

Corey Grenier

LEO, 11

corey@kidsvt.com

I’m excited to be going back FIVE DAYS A WEEK.

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Kaitlin Montgomery kaitlin@kidsvt.com PROOFREADERS

FELIX, 13

Carolyn Fox, Martie Majoros PRODUCTION MANAGER

I’m excited to SEE MY FRIENDS and that we can do “share” in class again, because a lot of fun things have happened, and I want to share them.

John James CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Don Eggert DESIGNERS

John James, Rev. Diane Sullivan CIRCULATION MANAGER

Matt Weiner BUSINESS MANAGER

Marcy Carton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Keegan Albaugh, Rebecca Bell, Cat Cutillo, Heather Fitzgerald, Astrid Hedbor Lague, Elisa Järnefelt, Maria Munroe, Ken Picard PHOTOGRAPHERS

Andy Brumbaugh, Cat Cutillo ILLUSTRATORS

Ross Sheehan

P.O. BOX 1184 • BURLINGTON, VT 05402 802-985-5482 • KIDSVT.COM

Published 4x per year. Circulation: 46,000 at 600+ locations throughout northern and central Vermont. © 2021 Da Capo Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Editorial content in Kids VT is for general informational purposes. Parents must use their own discretion for following the advice in any editorial piece. Acceptance of advertising does not constitute service/product endorsement. Kids VT is a proud member of the Parenting Media Association. Kids VT distribution is audited for accuracy. Da Capo Publishing shall not be held liable to any advertiser for any loss that results from the incorrect publication of its advertisement. If a mistake is ours, and the advertising purpose has been rendered valueless, Da Capo Publishing may cancel the charges for the advertisement, or a portion thereof as deemed reasonable by the publisher. Da Capo Publishing reserves the right to refuse any advertising, including inserts, at the discretion of the publishers.

Twists and Turns

REMY, 8

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y biggest worry in August 2019 was whether my kids had all the clothes they needed to start school. Back then, they were excited to see their friends and maybe a little nervous about getting along with their teachers. Seems like a lifetime ago. This is a different kind of year. When I asked Ivy and Graham what they were looking forward to, both said basically the same thing: being in school fi e days a week. Not the answer you might expect from teenagers. And it’s not just because they want to see their friends. After a year and a half of remote and hybrid learning, they crave being in the same room as their teachers and peers, even if they all have to wear masks. They’ve realized they learn better that way and that being together makes school much more fun. Like many parents, I’m hoping their schools can stick with in-person classes fi e days a week. So are Vermont pediatricians, according to Rebecca Bell’s essay in this issue, “Going Back to School During Delta” (page 26). Bell offers some helpful and hopeful guidance for navigating the return to school while the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 complicates the process. The essay pairs nicely with our abstract cover illustration by Ross Sheehan. Going back to school isn’t the only change we’re navigating here at Vermont’s only parenting publication. After a summer of conversations and planning, we’ve decided to print four issues of Kids VT each year instead of 11, and to organize our issues thematically. This is the Back to School Issue; the next one, which will hit the streets on November 17, will be the Holiday Issue. We’ll be investing more time and resources into each one. Between editions, we’ll be covering news affecting kids and families, as well as events and activities, but we’ll be delivering that information online — through our email newsletter, social media channels and Seven Days, our Burlington-based newsweekly, published every Wednesday. You may have noticed that Seven Days is now regularly reporting news about K-12 education, often written by staff wri er — and former Kids VT managing editor — Alison Novak. Seven Days should also be where you turn for the latest, most up-to-date information about events such as concerts and harvest festivals. The pandemic has made it hard to plan, so it doesn’t make sense right now to print a calendar of events a month or more in advance. We’re still as committed to our readers as ever, though. And we’ll continue to put out a publication that reflects our c eative and vibrant community — one that inspires all of us to engage with it, and with each other. Enjoy this issue. And if you haven’t already, sign up for our email newsletter at kidsvt. com, or follow us on Instagram and Facebook. Got ideas for us? Share them by emailing us at ideas@kidsvt.com. Thanks for reading!

I’m excited about being in the FIFTH GRADE! ROSE, 10

Super excited for the opportunity to take more ADVANCED ART

CLASSES entering

my freshman year of high school. NOLA, 14

CONTRIBUTOR’S NOTE Ross Sheehan is an artist, illustrator, writer and psychogeographer living and working in South Burlington and Vergennes. Through mixed methods of experimental cartography, he documents everyday activities, situations and societal observations. He can often be found in his backyard gardening or on a local adventure with his wife, Kids VT contributor Cat Cutillo, daughter Remy and son Bo.

CATHY RESMER EDITOR/COPUBLISHER KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

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Welcome Editor’s Note 5 Staff Question Contributor’s Note

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Back to School During Delta

Columns Pop Culture 9 11 Secondhand Style 13 Art Project 15 Good Nature 17 Checkup 18 Mealtime 20 Mom Takes Notes 23 Vermont Visionaries 34 Upcoming Events

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A pediatrician with young children offers a road map — and survival strategies

Just for Kids 37 Coloring Contest 38 Word Puzzle 39 Coloring Contest Winners 39 Puzzle Answers

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33

Can You Dig It?

Mr. Fix-It

Make your own worm farm with these simple steps

Marty Spaulding works behind the scenes to help students learn on campus

On the Cover

Artist Ross Sheehan attempted to capture some of the hope, fear, anxiety and humor of this back-to-school season, as we navigate a tricky landscape together.

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POP CULTURE B Y KE E GA N A L BA UGH

Lending a Hand

Volunteering in your kid’s classroom benefits everybody

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BENEFITS OF VOLUNTEERING Still on the fence about being a parent volunteer? Consider these benefits. • SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOUR STUDENT: Those early years go by quickly, so why not take this opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your child? • DEVELOP A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER: A lot of times, teachers spend more time with our children during the week than we do. It makes sense to develop a stronger relationship with this influential professional.

schedule that allows you to spend time at school on a weekday, I recommend you do, too. Volunteering in my kids’ classrooms excites me for a handful of reasons. First off, my oldest child is starting kindergarten and I’m feeling a range of expected emotions: happiness, fear, excitement, anxiety and so on. Although I had a very positive experience with school throughout my childhood, I’ve connected with many adults who describe the whole thing as fairly traumatizing. I feel confide t that Coraline will adapt quickly and hope that she will thrive, but having an hour in her school each week to develop stronger relationships with her teacher, peers and other folks in the school community will put me more at ease. And it will allow me to better process challenges that might arise. Other kids benefi , as well. According to a 2004 study published in The Journal of Educational Research by Cheryl L. Porter DeCusati and James E. Johnson, “Kindergarten children within the same classroom who have regular opportunities to work with parents on literacy-related activities perform better on word recognition at the end of the year, compared with children assigned at random who do not work with parents on these activities.” In other words, being a caregiver in the classroom can have a signifi ant impact on the larger community. Holly McLane saw this in action. A Williston parent, she volunteered in her daughter’s kindergarten class during the 2019-20 school

At the start of my visit, I felt a little nervous. By the end, I didn’t want to leave.

• GET TO KNOW YOUR KID’S PEERS: Has your child ever come home after having a conflict with a peer at school, looking for answers? When you know the other students in the classroom, you develop a deeper understanding of the social environment, which allows you to do a better job processing the dynamics. • HELP OTHER CHILDREN SUCCEED: As mentioned above, facilitating activities that free up teachers allows them to better serve students who could benefit from additional support.

year. She felt that it was a “rewarding experience for me and everyone involved (in my opinion). The kids were able to get more one-on-one help if needed.” Teachers notice the impact that parent volunteers have, too. According to Jackie Reno, program manager and preschool director at the Janet S. Munt Family Room in Burlington, caregiver volunteering “can allow teachers to provide more specialized approaches to smaller groups of kids or individuals while a volunteer can give more generalized attention to others.” So, during that time you’re reading a book or leading an art activity, you may be creating space for a teacher to better assist a child struggling to read or write. I’ve been an educator for the majority of my professional life, and the number of times I wished another adult were in the room to help out borders on infini y. When I was in fi st grade, my mother volunteered regularly in my classroom. I saw her helping my peers time and time again. I remember feeling grateful that she was there, and thinking, Oh, cool, my mom’s here to see me at school. That transitioned very quickly to Oh, cool, my mom’s helping my friends who need help. I hope my daughters will look back on their early education with similar memories. K

© 9GEORGE | DREAMSTIME.COM

uring the winter of 2019-20, I volunteered in my daughter’s preschool classroom for the fi st time and unexpectedly found myself in the spotlight, holding a ukulele. “All right, so who wants to hear the ABCs?” I excitedly asked the dozen preschoolers sitting in front of me. “Me! Me! Me!” responded the crowd of eager children. I felt a little anxious but also kinda like a rock star — a rock star with very mediocre ukulele skills and a less-than-impressive singing voice. But it didn’t matter. These kids were stoked. I began strumming my tiny instrument. “A, B, C, D, E, F, G,” I sang, and the group joined in. Kids were clapping, swaying their bodies, really feeling the music. It was a pretty awesome way to kick off a ednesday morning. I spent the next 15 minutes playing a handful of easy songs that I knew and attempting to answer questions about the ukulele that I didn’t know. At the start of my visit, I felt a little nervous. By the end, I didn’t want to leave. I was really excited about the next performance. A few weeks later, COVID-19 shut down schools. Life was turned upside-down, everybody shifted into survival mode, and helping out in my child’s classroom quickly vanished into the deepest regions of my brain. Fast-forward nearly 18 months. My oldest daughter, Coraline, is about to enter kindergarten. My youngest daughter, Penelope, is making the transition to preschool. I recently reduced my work hours in an attempt to find mo e balance in life, and I’m fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s still not clear how or when Vermont schools will open back up to parent volunteers, but once that opportunity is there, I’ll jump on it. If you’re fortunate enough to have a fl xible

• MODEL COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND PRIORITIZE EDUCATION:

When you volunteer in the classroom, you’re letting kids know education and community involvement are important.

• BOOST YOUR SENSE OF SELF: Kids think adults are superheroes! When’s the last time you led an activity while 10 humans stared at you in awe, then clapped and cheered when you finished? Spoiler alert: It feels awesome.

KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

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SMILE for BACK TO SCHOOL!

MOVING FOUR-WARD... KIDS VT WILL PUBLISH FOUR TIMES A YEAR!

For 26 years, Kids VT has been Vermont’s only parenting magazine, a reliable, trusted resource for parents, grandparents, caregivers, educators and visitors to the state in search of family-friendly fun.

ORTHODONTICS

DRS. PETERSON, & EATON DRS. RYANRYAN & EATON

Ten years ago, Seven Days acquired and redesigned Kids VT, making it into an award-winning publication created by and for a new generation of parents. 2021/2022 SCHEDULE: Now it’s time for another refresh. Starting with the August 2021 issue, Kids VT will be published in print four times a year and inserted into Seven Days. We’re planning changes to our weekly newsletter and website, too.

Back-to-School Issue:

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reimagine Education EARLY CHILDHOOD • GRADES 1-8 • HIGH SCHOOL

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SECONDHAND STYLE

B Y M ARIA M UN RO E

These stores often curate their merchandise to fit a certain s yle or era. They also do the work of fil ering out quality pieces for you. And we are lucky to live in a state full of great consignment options, including Boho Baby, Style Encore and Once Upon a Child in Williston; Karen’s Closet in Essex Junction; and Junebug in Middlebury. Play It Again Sports in South Burlington is a great fi st stop for kids’ sporting equipment.

MAKE A THRIFT LIST I like to keep a couple of running lists of things I want to thrift. I have a list for my wardrobe, one for my daughter and one for our future home, and I add to them

I love the unique finds, the prices and the fact that I’m reducing our collective waste. Maria Munroe and her 9-month-old daughter, Malia, shopping at Boho Baby

Thrifting for Parents 101 Where and how to find good deals

B

SHOP ONLINE If you’re already shopping online, switching to secondhand is a pretty easy transition. I typically recommend ThredUp, a large online thrift store, because it has a website similar to large retail stores, meaning the shopping experience is essentially the same. Whenever possible, I also like to find econdhand options from fellow Vermonters. Being able to pick up locally makes buying larger items a lot easier. While Facebook Marketplace

is a great option, I find I h ve a bit more success — and less competition — in dedicated Facebook groups. My favorite discovery so far is KiD sWaP VeRmOnT, which is a group for parents to buy, sell or trade kids’ items.

SHOP AT CONSIGNMENT STORES If online isn’t your thing, but you’re new to the world of secondhand shopping, a giant Goodwill or cluttered charity shop can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, there is a middle ground: consignment stores. PHOTOS: CAT CUTILLO

efore my baby was born, I had countless hours to spare in thrift stores, and that time was often the key to my success. My fi st piece of advice for new thrifters used to be to go through and touch everything. But my fi st trip back to a thrift store after my girl was born made it pretty clear that I wouldn’t have the time to do that for a while, so I had to rethink my approach. I still like to prioritize shopping secondhand. I love the unique find , the prices and the fact that I’m reducing our collective waste. But I’ve adapted to save time — and save my daughter from a meltdown in the middle of a Goodwill. If you’re a new parent or one who’s looking to make the transition from buying new to buying used, here are a few options to try.

as I think of things. Having a list makes my trips a lot more effici t. If I know I’m just looking for a cream-colored turtleneck, for example, I can bypass any other colors or necklines quickly. A rack with hundreds of options suddenly has just three or four. Having a list has also made me a more intentional shopper. I no longer bring home things I won’t use or wear simply because I thought they were cute in the store. If you’re making a back-to-school list, don’t forget to include things like backpacks, composition books and binders, which you can find in la ger thrift stores like Goodwill. I usually bypass those sections in thrift stores myself, but they’re often full of completely usable stuff. I remember being a kid and wanting brand-new school supplies every year, but I think “new to me” would have worked just fine!

KEEP THE KIDDOS ENTERTAINED When I bring my 9-month-old along with me to thrift stores, I try to make her feel like she’s involved in the process. This is in part out of my own selfis desire to raise a little thrifter, but it also keeps her engaged. We “discuss” what we’re looking at, and sometimes I’ll push the cart up close to the racks to let her “shop” on her own. I make sure she’s well-fed before we head out the door to buy myself time before her next feeding, and I bring some snacks just in case. Another thrifty mama gave me some advice about shopping with older kids: If there’s a toy section, let them pick a couple to play with while you shop. For some reason, someone else’s toys are always more fun! K KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

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Build Creative Confidence! Looking for family-friendly

ACTIVITIES? Find information about local events and parenting resources every Thursday in the Kids VT Wee-Mail. To subscribe today, visit

kidsvt.com/wee-mail.

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ART PROJECT B Y CAT CU TI L L O Judah Jackson

Making Their Mark Lincoln and Bristol youth update Garlands Bridge mural

A

It’s a public project. It’s not for anybody to keep; it’s to share. RORY JACKSON Painting the mural

days inside Rory’s Bristol-based art studio and painting on-site. In the studio, they projected Judah’s comics onto huge pieces of paper, hand-cutting intricate stencils that they later transferred onto the mural wall, 86 feet in width. Some sections are more than nine feet tall. Rather than start fresh, they kept the background of the old mural. The layering effect represents the way young people grow up and graduate to the next stage of their lives, while new youth arrive to take their places, said Rory. “It captures that layering and that weaving of energies.“ Though Rory organized the sessions, Judah worked with the kids. “He took responsibility for everything,” said Rory. “He did amazingly well encouraging and including everyone equally and working with the kids who weren’t as confide t to make them feel like they had a role to play that was important.” The groups also crafted horizontal lines of quotes that the children proposed themselves and voted on. “We wanted to help the kids understand that a quote is not just what somebody said, but how someone affected the way you think about things and how someone moved your perspective,” said Judah. He contributed a quote by Tupac Shakur: “They got money for wars, but can’t feed the poor.“ Despite the stormy July weather and the physical challenges of the steep terrain, the group managed to complete the project on July 31. “It’s a public project. It’s not for anybody to keep; it’s to share. For me, that’s a beautiful thing to see,” said Rory. “It’ll be there for a long time. When these kids are off o college, it’ll still be there, shining with their little names stenciled on the bottom.” K See the mural under the bridge at the intersection of Lincoln Gap Road and South Lincoln Road. Find more of Judah’s work at judahjacksonart.com. KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

13

PHOTOS COURTESY OF RORY JACKSON

t the beginning of summer, the mural beneath Garlands Bridge in Lincoln was faded and peeling. Created six years ago as part of a summer camp led by Lincoln artist Rory Jackson, it featured overlapping colorful silhouettes depicting both community elders and youth. This summer, Jackson organized a new group project to refresh the mural. It wasn’t just the peeling paint that prompted it; he wanted to bring local kids together to “work on a community project that would unify them,” he said. “We needed to put energy back into the community that’s been given this cloak of separation for the past two years.” To find th t energy, he collaborated with another local artist: Judah Jackson, his 15-year-old son. A sophomore at Mt. Abraham Union High School, Judah has been drawing comics for years; he exhibited some of his work last year at Bristol Cliffs afé. The new mural design includes some of those drawings, as well as new ones he whipped up on the spot. “His illustrations capture the joy that is in young people,” his dad explains. “They give off lig t and youthful joy and a certain perspective of reality that you start to lose as you get older.” Although Judah comes from a lineage of artists that includes his dad, his grandmother Anne Cady and great-uncle Woody Jackson, his style is all his own. Said Rory: “I just stay out of the way and provide him with the materials.” Judah draws his inspiration from cartoons like “Calvin and Hobbes” and “Peanuts.” “I’ve always been into reading comic books,” he said. “I remember, as a kid, going into that whole world and feeling happy because the characters could be someone that I could learn from and look up to.” He also draws from life; many of his illustrations are based on his former peers at Lincoln Community School. “I like to think about how characters in my life might be someone that I would read about,” he said. “I like to look at little experiences I’ve had or little moments I’ve shared with other people.” To share those moments with a wider audience, Rory recruited kids from Lincoln and Bristol, ages 9 to 14, to participate in the mural project. Eight different young artists took part in each of three weeklong sessions. They alternated between spending


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GOOD NATURE B Y H E AT H E R F I TZ GE RA L D

Signs of Fall

Yellow flowering goldenrod

Using free apps and phenology to track the rhythms of the year

© RUUD MORIJN | DREAMSTIME.COM

W

Vermont Commons students recording nature observations

COURTESY OF PETER GOFF

hen I was younger, my awareness of the rhythms of the year revolved around getting things: at Halloween, my birthday, Christmas. I always loved back-to-school time, which meant new school clothes and supplies. I can still remember the jeans with the Miss Piggy patch and the blue Trapper Keeper I received in the fifth g ade. With a kid in school and an academic work schedule, I continue to enjoy the rituals of fall, but I’ve also been trying to support my family in developing a stronger awareness of the rhythms of nature. There are lots of changes taking place all around us that can help us mark the passage of time. And there are some great resources that make it easier to predict and document these cycles. One way into this world is to catch the identifi ation bug. Once you start noticing the plants and animals around you and learning their names, you may find i hard to stop. That used to mean investing in a set of field guide . But now, with a smartphone, you can use apps. There are a lot of them out there, but my favorite ones are INATURALIST, MERLIN BIRD ID by Cornell Lab, SEEK by iNaturalist and EBIRD by Cornell Lab. They’re all free. The fi st three are quite user-friendly — basically, they’ll help you identify plants, fungi and wildlife you encounter. In most cases, it’s as easy as taking a photo of something and receiving an instantaneous identifi ation. iNaturalist is perhaps the best all-purpose app, and Merlin is my favorite one for birds. It has a new feature that allows you to record a bird’s sounds, which comes in handy when you can’t locate it or get a good photo — which, for

me, is usually. If you see the bird, you can answer three multiple-choice questions — about its size, color and behavior — and the app will tell you what kind you’ve found. Some apps let you make your sighting public. I am not a fan of sharing my data with any apps, especially free ones, but in this instance I make an exception. These apps are not commercial enterprises; they’re more like a giant citizen science project. Peter Goff, a teacher at Vermont Commons School in South Burlington, agrees. He uses iNaturalist to map native animals and plants with his seventh-grade students. “I also use it as a way to introduce our kids to the world, and value, of citizen science,” he says. “To date, VCS has added more than 200 observations to the iNaturalist

platform.” Goff ’s students also used the Merlin bird-ID app last year to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Erin Talmage, executive director of Birds of Vermont Museum, explained to me that the data that iNaturalist and eBird collect are what makes Seek and Merlin run. She also pointed out that the data enable scientists and managers to make more informed conservation decisions. So, if you have the bandwidth, go ahead and make an iNaturalist profil and upload your data points for the public good. Every last dandelion and robin matters. Another way to become more aware of the natural world is through phenology, the study of cyclical natural phenomena. The best definition I ve seen comes from the USA National Phenology Network website: Phenology is essentially “nature’s

calendar,” tracking the day the fi st baby robin hatches, for example. This event tends to happen at pretty much the same time every year, when the food baby robins eat is most abundant. The rhythms of nature are tightly linked, and scientists today are comparing phenology data from Henry David Thoreau and many others to current-day observations to see if food webs are being maintained — whether species that need each other are arriving, blooming and hatching at the same time, for example. Your observations and contributions today could also help piece together what is shifting due to climate change. The eBird app can help you clue into the phenology of the birds in your area. In general, I find eBi d a bit less userfriendly than the other apps I mentioned, but it has a feature that allows you to see users’ observations in graphical form. I really like to explore these bar charts for my county. It helps me get an idea of what I’m likely to see and proactively look for these birds, rather than just reacting to the ones I encounter. If you live in Burlington, Gustave Sexauer, the cartographer for Burlington Wildways, has developed a hyper-local opportunity to collect and study phenology data called the Burlington Phenology Clock, also known as the Burlington Seasons Clock or the City Nature Clock. You can see what events have been recorded and when in recent years. You can also find out wh t particular species you’re likely to see at any given time. You can contribute to the clock, too, by uploading photos of your sightings to iNaturalist. Find more information at burlingtonwildways.org/ get-involved/city-nature-clock. The fall species should be posted soon. If you make a practice of observing these species over the years, they’ll worm their way into your family’s consciousness. Fall will become the time of fl wering goldenrod, woolly bear caterpillars, increased beaver activity and the arrival of common mergansers — not just another season of buying or receiving new stuff. K Heather Fitzgerald teaches field ecology and environmental science at the Community College of Vermont, University of Vermont and Saint Michael’s College. Find iNaturalist, Merlin, Seek and eBird in the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

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CHECKUP WIT H D R. D AV I D RE TT E W - I N T E RV I EW C O M PIL ED & C O N DEN S ED B Y K EN PIC AR D

How Can Parents Ease Kids’ COVID-19 Anxieties About Returning to School?

T

his month, thousands of schoolchildren throughout Vermont will return to full-time, in-person classroom learning, many for the fi st time since the start of the pandemic. In addition to the typical jitters that come with starting a new school year, many kids and parents are feeling heightened anxiety about COVID-19, the spread of the more contagious Delta variant and the fact that children under 12 cannot get vaccinated yet. Dr. David Rettew is a child psychiatrist and associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine. Here’s his advice for helping kids manage the transition. KIDS VT: Have you seen more children experiencing anxiety due to their return to in-person school this fall? DAVID RETTEW: Across the board, we’re seeing more kids struggling with their mental health: anxiety, depression, eating disorders. One of the tricky issues when it comes to a reluctance to reengage is that many parents are feeling pretty anxious, too. Sometimes it can be hard to disentangle whether it’s the child’s anxieties that are the driving factor or the parent’s.

KVT: Are there risks in pushing kids too hard to return to school — or in not pushing them hard enough? DR: We talk about this a lot in parenting anxious kids. There’s this sweet spot that you have to find, and it s different for different kids. If you completely back off and n ver nudge your kid to face what they’re nervous about, the mountain gets bigger and bigger, every step feels scarier and scarier, and ultimately it never happens. Staying in your safe bubble only reinforces it and makes it harder to break out of. Then again, if you push too hard and you put your child into a situation where they’re going to crash and burn, then you just set them up for failure and confirm their orst fears. It’s hard to make global statements that apply to all kids, but it can be helpful for parents to have that frame of mind and try to find that balance. KVT: Has kids’ increased screen time during the pandemic affected their ability to transition back to in-person learning and interactions? DR: It’s been pretty well documented by now that many kids have had a lot more screen time than is healthy during the pandemic. There are legitimate reasons for it, and I don’t feel like we need to be judging parents at this point. What the heck else would you have your kids do? They were staying home, they couldn’t play with other kids and their parents had to work. How many options did they have? But now, as more things are opening up and kids can be around others their own age, we can’t just accept the additional screen time as the new normal. For a lot of kids, it’s worthwhile to nudge things back and put reasonable limits in place, because screens are an easy out. They can occupy an unbelievable amount of time if you let them. So, let’s not point fin ers and make parents feel bad. But let’s adopt some strategies to bring things back into balance. If that results in a kid at home saying, “It’s so boring here!” that’s OK. It may be something to get kids outside and engaged more. © SATHISHVISCOMM | DREAMSTIME.COM

KVT: What advice do you give them? DR: First, the key is to distinguish between your kid’s anxiety and your own. A parent’s anxiety can feed a child’s anxiety. If you’re a parent and recognize that you’re a little uncomfortable about everything that’s going on, but your goal is for your child to go back to school, then communicate those concerns about COVID-19 and the Delta variant to people other than your child. Obviously, you still want to adhere to safe public-health practices, but you shouldn’t harp on your own anxieties around your child. Also, be aware of the media that your child is exposed to. If you’re the type of parent who likes to have CNN playing all the time, that could be fueling your child’s anxiety. Communicate truthful reassurance as much as possible. Don’t make huge promises and blanket statements. But you can say, “In Vermont, at least 85 percent of people who are eligible have received at least one dose of a vaccine.”

probably a good sign that they’ll be able to jump to the next grade easily. However, if your child has been saying, “I’m not going to camp! I don’t want to do this!” that should be a pretty loud indicator that the transition this fall is also going to be challenging.

If you’re the type of parent who likes to have CNN playing all the time, that could be fueling your child’s anxiety.

KVT: How do parents differentiate between a child’s normal returning-to-school jitters and something more serious? DR: One way is to look at what’s gone on during the summer. A possible proxy is kids’ experiences going to camps. For a kid who has the routine level of anxiety — “Well, this is new. I don’t know what to expect” — but they still do it, that’s

KVT: Where else can parents seek help? DR: The schools are very much aware that a subpopulation of students are going to struggle. They’re ready to help, and they’re ready to be fl xible, in ways that they may not have been before. So, it may make sense to reach out to the school in advance and not wait for the fi st day of school to get help. K

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MEALTIME BY A S T RI D H E D B OR L A GUE

Spring Rolls Three Ways Think outside the sandwich

I

’ve always loved to pack lunches for my kids, even when that means early mornings. I’ve found that skipping the cafeteria line gives them longer to eat lunch. It’s also been a great way to let my type 1 diabetic son know exactly how much insulin to take, instead of having to look at the school menu with him and make wild guesses. I used to write a lunch-packing blog, and every day when he was in the earliest years in school I would send the school nurse a blog post in the morning to let her know how many carbs he had in his lunch for proper dosing. Now that he’s a sophomore in high school, he’s much more independent, and I send in a Post-it note with carb counts on it for him. When the kids were little, I did a lot of Americanstyle bento lunches, using cookie cutters and cupcake picks to decorate food. I stockpiled EasyLunchboxes, my favorite simple three-compartment lunch box. As the kids got older, I started packing more standard meals — sandwich, fruit or vegetable, plus an extra snack. But sometimes I like to think outside the sandwich. Recently, I made a variety of Vietnamese-style spring rolls, for example. The Vietnamese name for spring rolls translates as “salad roll.” I’m not pretending that my take on them here is necessarily authentic, but these are fun to eat and delicious. The trickiest part of making spring rolls is the wrapping. Most recipes call for dipping the rice paper in water to soften them, but I prefer the precision and ease of using a spray bottle of water instead. If you can roll a burrito, you can make a spring roll. The concept is much the same: Don’t overstuff them, and keep the fillin s in the middle. Rice paper behaves differently than tortillas, though; once moistened, it gets fragile and sticky. Just be gentle with it. One of the neat things about spring rolls is that the rice paper is translucent, so fillin s can become decorative elements. For instance, I put thin slices of radish on the outside layer of the vegetable rolls and kiwi fl wers with mint leaves on the outside of the fruit ones. Of course, these rolls are delightful for any meal, but if you’re making them ahead of time for lunch packing, you’ll want to tightly wrap the rolls individually in plastic wrap so they don’t dry out. You can get your ingredients at an Asian market, but I was able to find all of them t a regular supermarket. There are generally about 12 to 16 wrappers in each package, and they keep well, so just make however many you want and save the rest for later. Have fun, and happy packing! K 18

KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

HOISIN CHICKEN SPRING ROLLS (Serves 4-6)

INGREDIENTS:

Chicken:

Dipping sauce:

• 1/2 cup hoisin sauce

• 1/4 cup hoisin sauce

• 1 avocado, sliced thinly

• 1/2 cup orange juice

• 2 tablespoons orange juice

• 1/2 cup shredded carrots

• 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

• 1 teaspoon honey

• Rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to package directions

• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped • 1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into thin slices • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Other roll fillings:

• Chopped peanuts (optional — be sure your school allows them) • Spring roll wrappers (rice paper rounds) • Spray bottle of water

DIRECTIONS: 1. Combine hoisin, orange juice, ginger and garlic, and add chicken. Toss to coat. Heat oil in a sauté pan (or wok) over mediumhigh heat, then add the chicken, stirring constantly until cooked through. This should take just a few minutes, as the pieces of chicken are small. 2. Make the sauce by whisking together hoisin, orange juice and honey. Set aside. 3. To make spring rolls: Lay wrapper on a flat surface, and mist evenly with water on both sides. Wait a few seconds until the wrapper is soft and flexible, then lay

fillings in the center, leaving room on the ends. Put ingredients with sharper ends, like carrots, inside the roll, so that their sharper edges don’t poke through the thin rice paper. Fold the ends tightly over the fillings, then roll it up like a burrito, making sure to wrap firmly but gently so the wrapper doesn’t rip. Repeat until you have made the desired number of rolls. Wrap leftover rolls tightly in plastic wrap. Tip: Leftover chicken, veggies, noodles and sauce make a delightful noodle salad for lunch, too!


PHOTOS: ANDY BRUMBAUGH

Filling the vegetable spring roll

VEGETABLE SPRING ROLLS

(Serves 4-6)

INGREDIENTS: Roll fillings:

Dipping sauce:

• 1/2 cup shredded red and green cabbage

• 1 teaspoon honey

• 1/2 cup shredded carrots

• 2 tablespoons white or yellow miso paste

• 1/2 cup bean sprouts • 1 mini cucumber, cut into matchstick slices • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into matchstick slices • 2-3 radishes, sliced as thinly as possible (I use a mandoline slicer — carefully!)

• 1/4 cup plain yogurt

• 1 teaspoon lemongrass purée (from a tube, found in the produce section of larger grocery stores) • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar • 1 teaspoon olive oil • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger

• 1 package marinated baked tofu, cut into thin slices (optional; whatever flavor you like best) • Spring roll wrappers (rice paper rounds) Folding the vegetable spring roll

• Spray bottle of water

DIRECTIONS: 1. Whisk together ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside. 2. Prepare rice paper wrappers as described on opposite page, arranging vegetables in the middle of the wrapper — put the thinly sliced radish on the bottom as a decorative touch, if you like. Wrap. Repeat until you have the desired number of rolls. Wrap leftover rolls tightly in plastic wrap.

FRUIT SALAD ‘DESSERT’ SPRING ROLLS

(Serves 4-6)

INGREDIENTS: Roll fillings: The vegetable spring roll

• 2 kiwis, sliced and cut into flower shapes with a small cookie cutter if desired • Fresh mint leaves • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cut into matchstick slices • 1 mango, peeled and cut into matchstick slices • 4-5 strawberries, thinly sliced • Spring roll wrappers (rice paper rounds) • Spray bottle of water

Dipping sauce: • 1 6-ounce cup yogurt in your favorite flavor (we like lemon)

DIRECTIONS: 1.

Prepare rice paper wrappers as described on opposite page, arranging fruit in the middle of the wrapper with the thinly sliced kiwi on the bottom, mint leaves just on top of them, then other ingredients. Wrap. Repeat until you have the desired number of rolls. Wrap leftover rolls tightly in plastic wrap.

KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

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MOM TAKES NOTES BY E L I S A J Ä RN E F E LT

MOM TAKES NOTES BY E LI S A JÄ R NE F E LT

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VERMONT VISIONARIES BY CAT CU TI L L O

Emma Makdessi, Camp Outright Codirector

A

s the community engagement director for Burlington-based Outright Vermont, Emma Makdessi works with youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning and their allies. The nonprofit organization hosts weekly peer-support groups; provides workshops, education and training for schools and colleges; and organizes annual events like the Queer & Allied Youth Summit. But one of Makdessi’s favorite parts of her job is putting on Camp Outright. Every summer since 2011, Outright Vermont has run a weeklong residential summer camp for LGBTQ+ youth and allies ages 13 to 17, held at the Common Ground Center in Starksboro; Makdessi is a codirector. The camp is one of 16 such camps recommended by PFLAG, a national organization for LGBTQ+ youth, their parents and families. Campers and staff come f om all over the state and country.

ON WHAT MAKES CAMP OUTRIGHT UNIQUE

Emma Makdessi

COURTESY OF OUTRIGHT VERMONT

Makdessi first got involved with Outright through camp; she started there as a counselor in 2013, then returned the next two summers as the codirector. When COVID-19 struck, Makdessi was working full time at an LGBTQ+ organization in Florida; she reconnected with Camp Outright as a remote contractor to help implement its virtual 2020 summer program. At the beginning of 2021, she moved to Burlington and joined the year-round Outright Vermont staff. This year, for the fi st time, Camp Outright hosted two one-week sessions of 50 campers each, rather than a single session for 75 campers. And it piloted a new partnership with the University of Vermont Medical Center that allowed residents to receive credit while offering medical support at the camp. What follows are quotes distilled from a conversation with Makdessi during the second session of camp.

a video Watch ring featu essi at Makd nd Emma .com a kidsvt X-TV. A on WC

CAT CUTILLO

We want queer youth to find resilience in their identity, resilience in their community.

discussions. Yesterday, we talked about a spectrum of power. Do you feel powerless in your school? Do you feel powerful in your school? We want queer youth to find that resilience in their identity, resilience in their community, but also to understand that different folks hold power. How do we change the system? How do we navigate power?

Campers at Camp Outright

ON WATCHING THE EVOLUTION OF CAMP OUTRIGHT

The fi st time I came to Camp Outright as a counselor, I was just blown away. When my friend told me there was a queer camp, I didn’t believe her. I was like, No, that doesn’t exist. And it did. My fi st summer as a counselor, back in 2013, my mind was blown, and I just fell in love. It was still very new. It’s exciting to be part

of a baby camp, as I like to call it, because you still have so much time to shape the culture and create the traditions and make it be what you envision this “queertopia” to be. ON THE CAMP’S DAILY SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVITY

This week, we’re focusing on power and resilience. We have small-group

We have different cabin options. We have a transfemme or femme-identified cabin, a transmasculine or a masculine-identifie cabin, a nonbinary or a gender-liberated cabin. Campers get to decide where they want to go. Our staff eflects our ampers, so we have staff in the abins that reflec all the identities. We have names and pronouns on all the name tags. There’s a lot of downtime here, and soul time. We have licensed mental health professionals on-site to talk to the youth at any moment that they need it. Our workshop blocks include kickball, queer sex ed, tie-dye and friendship bracelet-making. There’s always a queer twist, and that’s what makes Camp Outright so different than a lot of other camps. Tonight is our talent show. Last night was our fashion show. Those evening activities really bring campers together. ON GENDER-AFFIRMING CLOTHING

We have the closet where we bring anything from T-shirts to dresses. If campers find omething they like, they can take it home. It’s youth coming out of our closet space and feeling really affirmed in their ender presentation and their gender identity and who they are as a person. It’s a camper running up and saying, “Hey, everyone, I just got my fi st [chest] binder.” For the fashion show, they dress up their counselor. We emphasize consent here. Is this going to be comfortable for your counselor? Have you asked them if it’s OK for you to put makeup on them or wear this outfit? e’ve set up our dining hall with lights and a speaker system. We have a panel of judges and chairs around the runway. One by one, the cabin counselors get announced. You walk the runway with confidence and with fla . You’re at camp! And you’re at queer camp. So, you get silly, and you get out of your shell, and you show campers that you’re in this, too. You’re here. You’re queer. And VERMONT VISIONARIES, P. 24 »

KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

23


Vermont Visionairies

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you’re sticking around. This is the time to have a blast. The dance, our Queer Prom, is on our last night. It’s the time of the week where campers are comfortable; they’re out of their shell. They get a chance to dress up. They start coming down the hill, and some of them are in suits, and some of them are in dresses and they have makeup done. So that’s always what sticks out — is campers just glowing. ON STAFF MODELING THAT GLOW

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Last night, a camper was talking about how the staff is o nice to each other. This is a place where what the youth see are queer adults who are just filled with queer j y. One of the biggest takeaways is: You can be happy in your identity and who you are in your queerness, because here’s a

community of folks who are modeling what that looks like. When we interview staff, they say, “I wish I had something like this when I was younger.” And I fall right into that. I wish I had something like this, because I would be a much different person. It’s creating what a lot of us didn’t get to have when we were growing up, and discovering our identity, and trying to figu e out what’s going on with our body and our sexuality, and how we want to present. It’s creating a summer camp that is like no other. When we talk to the staff t camp, we tell them, “You don’t know when you’re going to have an impact. You don’t know when something you do or something you say just sticks and that camper is going to remember that moment for the rest of their life.” K


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8/13/21 5:07 PM


A pediatrician with young children offers a road map — and survival strategies BY DR. REBECCA BELL

A

summer of uncertainty has given way to a school year full of new questions and concerns. For parents of unvaccinated children, like myself, it has been an especially confusing time. While older children and adults got vaccinated, shed their masks and made travel plans for the “Hot Vax Summer,” families with unvaccinated children moved about hesitantly and experienced a “Not Vax Summer.” We wore masks in solidarity with our kids, checked the vaccination status of everyone we socialized with and reassured our nervous children that there would be a vaccine for them soon, too. Then news of the highly transmissible Delta variant brought more worry. On top of that, data now show that although vaccinated people are very well protected from severe disease, they can become infected and transmit the virus to others, albeit at a much lower rate than unvaccinated people. Many vaccinated parents are 26

KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

FROM THE EDITOR How should parents approach this school year? In the early days of August, as the Delta variant started driving up COVID-19 case counts in Vermont, our Kids VT team came across this essay on Medium. The author, Rebecca Bell, is a pediatric intensivist at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital, taking care of critically ill infants, children and adolescents in the state’s only pediatric intensive care unit. She’s also the president of the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, so she has a good sense of what her pediatric colleagues all over the state and country are seeing. And she’s a local parent; she and her family live in Burlington. Both of her young children have been attending an early childhood education center full time throughout the pandemic. Her oldest is about to start kindergarten. We thought Kids VT readers would appreciate Bell’s thoughtful guidance and pandemic-weary yet encouraging tone. We’re grateful to her for helping us adapt her piece for our Back to School issue. CATHY RESMER

putting masks back on in indoor public places and wondering and worrying what the school year will look like for their children. Parents are understandably frustrated. In the early days of the pandemic, there was a general feeling of shared sacrifice. Child en’s lives were disrupted, and families really struggled. But it felt like we were all in this together. Now we see rising case rates in the U.S. in what officials ve dubbed a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” But the “unvaccinated” includes all children under 12. For families, this no longer feels like shared sacrifice. This eels extraordinarily unfair. So here we are. “Not Vax Kids’ Summer” is coming to an end, and we’re heading into “Not Vax Kids’ Backto-School” season. With rising case rates and variable school guidance across the country and the state, how should parents approach the upcoming school year? The bottom line is that pediatricians believe this year can be safe and productive as long as we recognize that schools are a place where more unvaccinated people will gather, and that we’ll need to take extra steps to make sure schools are accessible to all. Here are the key principles we should be focused on.

ROSS SHEEHAN

BACK TO SCHOOL DURING DELTA


You may wonder why, as a pediatric intensivist, I’m listing in-person school as a top priority. Over the last year and a half, pediatricians in Vermont and across the country have witnessed a signifi ant decline in the health and well-being of some of our patients. Many became less physically active, more socially withdrawn and disengaged from academic learning. The pandemic exacerbated the existing mental health crisis among children and adolescents. The long-term effects of the pandemic on young people are unknown, and pediatricians are worried. This is why we are advocating for students to be physically present in school full time. In-person learning provides a nurturing and stimulating academic and social environment for students. A full-time, inperson schedule gives students consistency and support throughout the school year. For these reasons, the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that physical distancing should not preclude full return to in-person learning. We believe students can have a healthy and safe year even with strict social-distancing guidelines relaxed as long as we rely on other mitigation measures.

2. VACCINATION, VACCINATION, VACCINATION Protection through vaccination is the only way out of this pandemic. I’ve been grateful that Vermont has not lost sight of this despite being the most vaccinated state in the country. The Delta variant has shown us that we need as many people vaccinated as possible, and the Vermont Department of Health continues to offer walk-in and pop-up vaccination sites. You can find opportunities to be vaccinated everywhere you look: county fairs, farmers markets, state parks, school clinics, pharmacies and your doctor’s office. Want to make an appointment? Visit the Vermont Department of Health website for walk-in clinic locations and hours, or call 855-722-7878 to schedule a time to receive your free vaccine. If you work at or attend school and are eligible for the vaccine, please get vaccinated as soon as you can. If you are the parent of an eligible adolescent, please have your child vaccinated as soon as possible.

COURTESY OF KRISTY DOOLEY

1. PRIORITIZATION OF IN-PERSON LEARNING

Rebecca Bell and family

Many parents expressed a desire to “wait and see” when the Pfi er vaccine emergency use authorization was extended to include those ages 12 and older in the spring. But there is more urgency now to protect children before the school year starts, and there is even more compelling evidence that the vaccine is safe and effective in young people. At this point, more than 11 million young people under the age of 18 in the U.S. have received the vaccine. That’s a lot of reassuring data points. More than two-thirds of Vermonters ages 12 to 17 — more than 28,000 Vermont youth — have been vaccinated. Now is a great time to join this evergrowing group of young people who are protected from the serious effects of COVID-19. In Vermont, minors need parental permission to be vaccinated. Pediatricians are happy to talk to parents about why we think it’s important. Helpful tips for young people on how to talk to parents about getting vaccinated can be found at teensforvaccines.org. For parents of children under 12 who are waiting for them to be eligible for vaccination — I feel you. The best way to protect your children from the virus is to ensure that those around them, especially adults, are vaccinated.

HOW TO SURVIVE YET ANOTHER PANDEMIC SCHOOL YEAR MORE ADVICE FROM DR. BELL: • STOCK UP ON MASKS. The best mask is the one your child will wear. Let your child help you pick out the patterns and colors they like best. • HAVE A BACKUP PLAN FOR SICK DAYS. If your child wakes up with a cough and nasal congestion, they will have to be tested for COVID-19 and stay home until symptoms resolve. This will be challenging for most families. I know how hard this is from personal experience, but we have to do this to keep our schools healthy. • BE PREPARED FOR CHANGING GUIDANCE. Recommendations change because variables change during a pandemic. It can be frustrating, but at the same time we should be reassured when it happens, because it means public health professionals are responding to what’s going on around us.

• LOOK TO YOUR CHILD’S MEDICAL PROVIDER FOR HELP. Despite our best efforts at prevention, some of our unvaccinated children will be infected with COVID-19. If it happens — take a deep breath. We are here for you and your family. Most children get better on their own. Your child’s health care provider can guide you through the illness and help you through the back-to-school and return-to-play process. If your child gets really sick and needs more medical support, rest assured that pediatric hospitalists and intensivists, along with our subspecialty colleagues, are very well trained to care for sick children. In the hospital, we work with teams of experts: nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, social workers, child life specialists and rehabilitation professionals. Taking care of sick children is what we do all day, every day, and we’re very good at it. If you need us, we’ll be there to help you and your family. K

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Back to School During Delta If you feel comfortable having a conversation with the unvaccinated adults in your child’s life, you may be able to motivate them to get vaccinated. I would avoid getting into arguments or exhausting yourself disputing misinformation. I would simply say, “Please let me know when you get vaccinated. Otherwise, until my child has had the opportunity to protect themselves with vaccination, we will need to limit contact with you.” For those not connected to schools: If you’re eligible to be vaccinated and have not yet gotten a shot, please know that getting vaccinated now will have a positive impact on the ability of schools to run smoothly this year. Lowering rates of community viral transmission decreases the likelihood that COVID-19 enters the school and childcare settings in our communities. Our children and educators deserve a healthy school year with minimal disruptions.

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3. STAYING HOME WHEN SICK This part is going to be hard. Really hard. We will all probably get more colds this year compared to last year. We are currently seeing more cases of upper respiratory infections than we usually do in the summer season. All students and staff, vaccinated or not, should stay home when sick and get tested for COVID-19. Your child’s medical provider and school nurse can help you navigate this process. It’s helpful to note that the health department’s COVID-19 testing sites are open for those who are symptomatic, as well as those without symptoms. This should allow easier access to testing. Workplaces will have to remember that the pandemic is not over. Employers should craft supportive sick and family leave policies. Employees should be encouraged to stay home if they are ill or need to care for sick family members. For families with children, this may mean lots of sick days this year. This is going to be challenging for families, but it’s really important.

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We are more than a year and a half into this pandemic, and we’ve learned a lot about effective mitigation strategies. Masking is a simple and effective tool that reduces the spread of COVID-19, as well as other respiratory viruses that can mimic its signs and

CONTINUED FROM P. 27

symptoms. Students and staff ore masks throughout the school year last year. Continuing the practice makes good, common sense as we start school again in the fall. There is broad consensus among medical and public health experts about the need for universal masking in schools. The Vermont Agency of Education, along with the health department, has recommended that

For parents of children under 12 who are waiting for them to be eligible for vaccination — I feel you. school districts require masking of all students and staff regardless of vaccination status at the beginning of the school year. This recommendation is in line with national recommendations by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as the AAP’s Vermont chapter. Keeping students in school with minimal disruption is our shared goal, and masking can help us do that. Vermont pediatricians recommend continued universal indoor masking in the school setting, regardless of vaccination rates, while we wait for younger children to have the opportunity to be vaccinated sometime this fall or winter.

WE CAN DO THIS! I want to end on a hopeful note. Despite all of the uncertainty, I am very much looking forward to the school year. I’m excited to see my children learn and grow in childcare and school. I know they will gain so much from being around their peers and educators. I know school is the right place for Vermont students to be, and I believe that we can do this successfully. And remember: Teachers, school nurses and administrators are already working hard to prepare for the school year. Early childhood educators have been caring for our children nonstop this entire pandemic. Patience and appreciation for the professionals who educate and care for our kids will go a long way. K


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CAT CUTILLO

Mr.

Fix-It

Marty Spaulding at the new home for two Burlington Technical Center programs, pretech and aviation

Marty Spaulding works behind the scenes to help students learn on campus BY ALISON NOVAK

W

hen Vermont kids go back to school in person this fall, it’s partly thanks to people like Marty Spaulding. As property services director for the Burlington School District, Spaulding oversees the city’s six elementary schools, two middle schools, high school and technical center. Spaulding has maintained educational facilities for 25 years, but the last one was the most challenging of his career — and not just because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last September, Burlington High School and Burlington Technical Center closed abruptly because of contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Once the city inked a deal with local developers to transform the former Macy’s department store into a campus, the district had to outfit a n w high school in a hurry. Following a monthslong renovation, students relocated to 67 Cherry Street in March. Burlington School District Superintendent Tom Flanagan praised Spaulding’s leadership and work ethic during this difficult time. e helped

principals prepare and update buildings for students during COVID, while also leading the charge to turn an abandoned department store into a 21st-century learning space,” he wrote in an email. In June, the Vermont School Custodians and Maintenance Association recognized Spaulding’s achievement by naming him its Facilities Person of the Year. Spaulding spent the summer completing projects he couldn’t tackle while students and staff ere in the buildings. These include painting classrooms and installing flooring t Edmunds Elementary and paving parking lots and installing a prekindergarten playground at Champlain Elementary. He and his crew also made improvements to the downtown campus of BHS. After students started attending classes there, it became clear that the eight-foot-high walls that partitioned

the space posed acoustical challenges, so the facilities staff is inc easing the height of many of the walls to help lessen noise between classrooms. The Tech Center programs will use sites in Burlington and South Burlington, and Spaulding is also working on bringing them up to code. That includes upgrading the fi e alarms, electrical systems and sidewalks. Last year, his crew spent a lot of time moving furniture out of and into classrooms to accommodate changing social-distancing recommendations and shifts from remote to in-person learning. He said he anticipates hopefully doing less of that this year. The district has also somewhat relaxed its extremely stringent cleaning protocols, as scientists have developed a clearer understanding of how COVID-19 spreads. The biggest challenge Spaulding anticipates this year is actually staffin The labor shortage plaguing Vermont

In June, the Vermont School Custodians and Maintenance Association named Spaulding its Facilities Person of the Year.

businesses has also impacted school districts around the state, including Burlington’s. One example: The district typically has three HVAC technicians on staff. This year, it hasn’t been able to hire even one. Spaulding said the district has had to turn to outside contractors to help meet certain maintenance needs. “We’re really not even getting any applicants in all areas — everything from custodial staff o trades staff,” Spaulding said. Maybe potential applicants don’t realize that working in schools isn’t just about cleaning and maintaining a building: It’s about making it possible for kids to feel welcome, safe and supported at school. Flanagan said that Spaulding embodies that mission. “The most impressive part for me is that, during this work, it is student interest that drives him,” he wrote. “He looks for inequities and looks to create change, and he is passionate about student well-being.” Said Spaulding: “I certainly take pride in the fact that I’m not an educator, but I do play a role in, hopefully, students having a better learning experience.” K KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

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Can You Dig It?

Luca and Lyric

Make your own worm farm with these simple steps BY ALISON NOVAK

PHOTOS COURTESY OF LITTLE DIGGERS WORM FARM

S

ome grandmas do arts and crafts or bake cookies with their grandkids. Kim Ray of Londonderry raises worms. For several years, Ray has been learning about the little wigglers alongside her 9-year-old granddaughter, Lyric, and 6-year-old grandson, Luca. She chronicles their adventures on a website, littlediggerswormfarm.com. A few months ago, Lyric and Luca started hosting informal workshops to teach other kids how to make their own worm farms.

Little Diggers worms

SETTING UP YOUR WORM BIN

• Fill a plastic tub (approximately 10-by-6-by-6 inches) halfway with bedding composed of onethird cocoa coir (hairy fiber from the outer husk of a coconut) and two-thirds shredded cardboard, plus small amounts of ground eggshells, sand, shredded leaves and coffee grounds. The tub should have a lid with air holes.

[We’re] teaching little kids respect for nature and how to care for things and hold them gently.

• Spray bedding with water until moist but not too wet.

KIM RAY Ray, who has a background in art education, said she and her grandchildren fi st became interested in worms in 2019. Lyric and Luca, who live in East Dorset, were visiting her house and got excited when they found a few worms in the backyard. They ran around looking for more, and Ray helped them do online research to learn about the creatures.   “I always follow their lead on whatever they want to do,” Ray said. “Whatever their curiosity is, I try to nurture that.” It wasn’t until an outdoor visit in February, following a period of separation because of the pandemic, that the trio took the fascination to the next level.  “I was thinking, Gosh, you know what we should do? We should start a worm farm, a real one,” Ray remembered. “I thought it would be such a fun learning thing for the kids — a total diversion into something that was not pandemicrelated or wearing a mask, just something back-to-nature and fun for them.” In June, Lyric and Luca ran a workshop in Danby Village, selling kits that included all the materials for kids to make their own mini worm farms, plus 10 pet worms. In August, they held several additional events — at the Vermont State Fair in Rutland and in the town of Londonderry.

MAKE A MINI WORM FARM

• Place up to 10 worms on top of the bedding. They’ll immediately start to dig down to the bottom. FEEDING YOUR WORMS

“[We’re] teaching little kids respect for nature and how to care for things and hold them gently, rather than saying, ‘Here’s this yucky worm,’” said Ray. She and her grandkids’ most recent project is making batches of vermicompost — worm castings, or poop, that contain nutrients and soil-friendly bacteria. Gardeners refer to it as “black gold.” Worms, said Ray, are “the ultimate recyclers.” K Read on to learn how to make your own worm farm, with directions courtesy of Kim Ray. Contact Ray at hello@ littlediggerswormfarm.com for more information about mini worm farm and vermicomposting kits. Find Little Diggers on Facebook at Little Diggers Worm Farm.

• Dig a small trench in the bedding at one end of the bin and sprinkle approximately half a teaspoon of worm food in it. For food, Ray recommends mixing Layer Mash chicken feed with bits of vegetable food scraps. • Cover the trench with bedding material. Replenish the food weekly or when the worms have eaten it. Place the food in a different area of the bin each time. KEEPING YOUR WORMS HAPPY

• Put them in a spot that’s not too hot or too cold. Worms like a temperature between 59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. • Check the bedding’s moisture regularly. If it gets too wet or too dry, the worms may die. A wet bin will likely get stinky.  • Create a dark environment by covering the bin with its lid when you’re not looking at or tending to your worms. KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

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COURTESY OF RAE BRONENKANT

Toddlers at an Audubon Vermont nature playgroup

1. TALK A WALK It’s an easy, fun and often free activity that doesn’t require specialized gear. And there are endless routes to try: Whether you stroll through the woods, along the STOWE RECREATION PATH, at SHELBURNE FARMS, on the BURLINGTON WATERFRONT, through the COLD HOLLOW SCULPTURE PARK in Enosburg Falls — open through October 11 — or just down neighborhood streets, you’ll be feeling the breeze and hearing the birds. Download one of the nature ID apps on page 15 to learn more about what you’re seeing and hearing. “Threading the Needle” at Cold Hollow Sculpture Park

2. GO FOR A DRIVE Fall is the best time to cruise Vermont’s roadways. Pretty much the entire state qualifies as “the cenic route,” especially from roughly mid-September to early October when the trees are changing color. Stop at a farmstand or a bakery to grab some cider doughnuts. Looking to learn while you road-trip? Try an episode or two of the Vermont history podcast BEFORE YOUR TIME or Vermont Public Radio’s BUT WHY: A PODCAST FOR CURIOUS KIDS. Both toddlers and their caregivers enjoy socializing at playgroups, but many of the indoor variety have been disrupted during the pandemic. A new outdoor group for children ages 2 to 4 will meet on Wednesday mornings at the ROCK POINT CENTER in Burlington from September 8 through October 13. Both the GREEN MOUNTAIN AUDUBON CENTER in Huntington and the NORTH BRANCH NATURE CENTER in Montpelier plan to host similar groups this fall. CATHY RESMER

7 Things to Do T HI S FA LL

3. JOIN A NATURE PLAYGROUP

BY CATHY RESMER

Autumn in Vermont is glorious. The season is a bit more stressful than usual this year, but try to get out and enjoy it if you can. Even a short drive to see fall foliage can help clear your head and remind you what you love about living here — especially if there are cider doughnuts involved! Here are a few activity suggestions and strategies to help.

34

KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

6. GO TO A SCHOOL SPORTING EVENT Admission is cheap — if you have to pay anything at all — and the players will really appreciate you cheering them on. Find fall sports schedules on your school district’s website, or inquire on your local FRONT PORCH FORUM.


4. CHECK OUT YOUR LIBRARY Vermont libraries are hubs of community connection for people of all ages. They often host free programs for kids and teens — some in person, some virtual. Many libraries also allow cardholders to borrow nonliterary items, such as museum passes and telescopes.

5. PICK SOME APPLES Chances are, there’s an orchard near you. The VERMONT TREE FRUIT GROWERS

ASSOCIATION keeps a list at vermontapples.org. And if you don’t want to pick them yourself, buy a bag or a bushel and make some sauce or pie. Don’t forget the cider.

7. CONNECT WITH KIDS VT ONLINE Want tips about familyfriendly weekend events? Sign up for the WEE-MAIL, Kids VT’s weekly email newsletter, at kidsvt. com. We round up event recommendations from our online calendar and local news for Vermont parents and families. We’ve recently upped our Facebook and Insta game, too. K

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8/20/21 3:25 PM


FALL 2021 CLASSES YOUTH, FAMILY, AND ADULT CLASSES

It takes a village to raise a child. So spread the word to your community! Mark your family’s milestones in Seven Days Lifelines.

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JUST FOR KIDS Coloring Contest! Three winners will each receive an annual family membership to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium. Send Kids VT your work of art by November 1. Be sure to include the info at right with your submission. Winners will be chosen in the following categories: (1) ages 5 and younger, (2) ages 6-8 and (3) ages 9-12. Winners will be named in the Holiday issue of Kids VT. Send your highresolution scans to art@kidsvt.com or mail a copy to Kids VT, P.O. Box 1184, Burlington, VT 05402.

Puzzle Page..........................................38 Coloring Contest Winners..........39

Title _______________________________________ Contest sponsored by

Artist _ _____________________________________ Age _ ______________ Town ___________________ Email ______________________________________ Phone ______________________________________

KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

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JUST FOR KIDS

BACK TO BOOKS BY MARC NADEL

Wow! I just heard that the birds and beasts of Vermont can’t wait to get back to school! They have a lot to catch up on, especially reading, writing and rubbing against trees. So some friends have gotten together to study, but they just can’t figure out the answers to this really tricky crossword puzzle! Can you help them out? (Psst ... the secret is that it’s actually their class roll call!) ACROSS

DOWN

1. Tree Driller

2. Red Crest

4. Striped Imp

3. Masked Ringtail

6. Slim Swimmer

4. Black Cap Cutie

8. Huge Honey Fan

5. Humongous Deer

9. Little Hooter

7. Dome Homer

10. Water Quacker Answers P. 39

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KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021


PUZZLE PAGE ANSWER

JUST FOR KIDS

SEE PAGE 37 FOR PUZZLE

COLORING CONTEST WINNERS Our judges were thrilled by the many fabulous shellections of submissions mailed in as part of this month’s coloring contest! Claire, 10, equipped her snorkeling turtle with purple fins and a face mask. Sevenyear-old Tenlyn dazzled us with a sparkling underwater scene that included fish and colorful coral. Sam, 5, sent us a bright green turtle, surrounded on all sides with vibrant blocks of color. Thanks to all who entered! We can’t wait to see what you send us next.

The winners of annual family memberships to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium are…

W nderfeet Kids’ Museum

Say you saw it in

HONORABLE MENTIONS “DISCO-TURTLE”

Molly Carpenter, 10 Warren “SWIMMING THROUGH THE REEF”

“Sam goes swimming” Sam Revelle, 5

5& under

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BURLINGTON

Marley Waldo, 7 Jericho “TANGLE OCEAN”

Nora Kelsh, 8 Richmond

“THE FAIRY TURTLE”

Meike Gray, 8 Winooski

“UNDERWATER PARKOUR”

Levon James McCuen, 8 Hubbardton

“TURTLE OF MANY COLORS”

Start the School Year off Right with

Jack Boswell, 8 North Danville

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Ellie Mroczek, 3 E. Montpelier

TOP TITLES

“Shine in the Ocean” Tenlyn Wetzel, 7 RIPTON

6 to 8

Benefits of tutoring include: Gain skills Build confidence Succeed in school Personal connection Find the joy in learning!

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“BRING YOUR KID TO WORK DAY”

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Jane Stienss, 3 Bristol

WALKER TUTORING!

“Looking for Treasure” Claire Ramano, 10 FAIRFAX

9 to 12

Our tutors specialize in: Math • Science English and Language Arts Test Preparation Study Skills • Spanish Executive Function • Enrichment

For 15 years, Walker Tutoring has specialized in finding tutors who are the perfect fit for each student’s personality and learning style to help students master concepts, reduce anxiety, and find joy in learning. Our tutors include classroom teachers, special educators, and PhD students. They are passionate about education, and all have extensive teaching experience and expertise.

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KIDSVT.COM BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE 2021

39

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Kids VT, Fall 2021  

The Back to School Issue: Back to School During Delta; Marty Spaulding Works Behind the Scenes to Help Students Learn on Campus; Make Your...

Kids VT, Fall 2021  

The Back to School Issue: Back to School During Delta; Marty Spaulding Works Behind the Scenes to Help Students Learn on Campus; Make Your...

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