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MEET NH’S TOP TEACHERS • TEACHING CODING FOR KIDS

JANUARY 2020

COMPLIMENTARY

40 ideas for

winter fun


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EDITOR:

Melanie Hitchcock, x5157 editor@parentingnh.com GROUP ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR:

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Heather Rood, x5110 hrood@mcleancommunications.com DIGITAL MEDIA SPECIALIST:

Morgen Connor, x5149 mconnor@mcleancommunications.com SALES SUPPORT COORDINATOR:

INSIDE features

22

Cracking the code

JANUARY 2020 16 40 things to do this winter Get ready for family fun – inside and out

Kids are learning the language of the future

8 Meet PNH’s top teachers for 2019 Five educators making a difference in NH schools

departments 2 From the editor’s desk 4 The short list 6 I want that 31 Dad on board 32 Never a dull moment 33 House calls 34 Out & about 36 Time out

Angela LeBrun, x5120 alebrun@mcleancommunications.com

150 Dow Street, Manchester, NH 03101 (603) 624-1442, fax (603) 624-1310 www.parentingnh.com SUBSCRIPTION: ONE YEAR (12 ISSUES) $15 ©2020 MCLEAN COMMUNICATIONS, LLC

ParentingNH® is published by McLean Communications, 150 Dow St., Manchester, NH 03101, (603) 624-1442. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher is prohibited. The publisher assumes no responsibility for any mistakes in advertisements or editorial. Statements/opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect or represent those of this publication or its officers. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, McLean Communications, LLC.: ParentingNH disclaims all responsibility for omission and errors.

www.parentingnh.com www.parentingnh.com

JANUARY 2020 2020 1 | JANUARY


from the editor’s desk THE FUTURE IS NOW Consider what we have in 2020 that we didn’t have at the end of 2009: Alexa and Siri and smart appliances; Uber and Lyft, the iPad, Netflix streaming, Spotify, Venmo, even self-driving cars. All of these inventions and developments have altered how we get places, how we are informed and entertained, how we communicate, and how we work and how we raise our families. Technology has made tasks easier. You don’t have to leave your house to rent a movie. You can shop for anything you want at home. You don’t even have to get out of your chair — just ask Alexa to turn on the thermostat. You can use a ride-sharing service instead of owning a car. Online education gives those far from cities, and working parents, a way to get a degree on their own time. But technology has its downside, especially when it comes to managing time. More people telecommute thanks to increased broadband speeds, but ask any work-at-home parent just how challenging that can be sometimes. More is expected of us in any given day from everyone; we are fully tethered at all times. It also raises questions — how much is too much? Is it safe for my child? Is my information secure? Are we losing our communities? Is the information I’m receiving true or false? I am far from being a technophobe. I believe in the power technology gives us to be smarter, healthier and connected. But any type of change can be overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like everything is moving way too fast, especially in our schools. Classrooms were once home to chalkboards and encyclopedias; now students use tablets and access information from around the world. Learning truly extends beyond the classroom. Phonics, handwriting, and memorizing “times tables” all have fallen out of favor. With artificial intelligence and automation changing our economy, education needs to keep evolving. Not everyone will be, or should be, in the computer-science field, but learning digital skills like coding (or programming), networking and data analysis has benefits that are broad. When kids are learning coding, they are learning computational thinking — or how to communicate logically. Problem-solving and critical thinking skills, which have taken on a new importance, are learned through coding. Kids are also forced to innovate and collaborate. And while it may seem like a relic in this new age, knowing how to write well is more important than ever. No one could have predicted what has happened in the last 10 years. Who knows how many ways the digital skills we teach now will benefit our kids? But what is known for sure is that technology will continue to change our world and we need to adequately prepare future generations with a digital education. For more on teaching kids how to code, see our story on Page 22.

MELANIE HITCHCOCK, EDITOR

2 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020

contributors • JANUARY JACQUELINE TOURVILLE is a freelance writer, children’s book author and longtime contributor to ParentingNH. Her specialty is discovering and writing about fun activities and events for families in New Hampshire.

KRYSTEN GODFREY MADDOCKS is a former journalist and marketing director who now regularly writes for higher education and technology organizations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Mom to 4-year-old Everett, she has lived in the Seacoast for the past 20 years.

KENDAL J. BUSH traveled the world as an editor and videographer for the National Geographic channel and NBC before moving to New Hampshire. She combines years of experience as a photojournalist with her film school education to yield colorful and creative portraits. Her work has been featured on the cover of ParentingNH since 2009, and also in sister publication, New Hampshire Magazine. View more of her work at www. kendaljbush.com.

BILL BURKE has been writing the awardwinning Dad on Board column since 2008, and is the author of the Mousejunkies book series. Bill is also the managing editor for custom publications for McLean Communications in Manchester.


g Acceptin r s fo n o ti a Applic 21 2020-20

St. Christopher School Pre-Kindergarten 3’s to Grade 6

Character development begins in PreKindergarten. Faith matters at St. Christopher School. Academic achievement is a top priority. Teachers are not constrained by Common Core requirements. Buddy Program connects students and develops leadership.

Attend a Drop-In Open House! January 26, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM & January 30, 9:30 - 11:00 AM

s

ris ophe ChSCHOOL r 20 Cushing Ave. • Nashua, NH 03064 • 603-882-7442 StChrisSchoolNH.org

She’s Not Just Pretty in Pink...

She’s Dancing Smart Dance and music classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers

Visit BYPC.org or call (603) 472-3894 to register. www.parentingnh.com

| JANUARY 2020 3


the short list

WANTED: ASPIRING YOUNG ARTISTS We are looking for talented kids from NH to bring color and personality to ParentingNH’s summer camp issue. On a 8 ½ x 11 inch piece of white paper in landscape orientation, have your child age 6 and older draw and color in a summer camping scene. Let their imaginations fly as they draw what they love about camping and/or the outdoors. We will choose the most creative entries to feature in the March issue. Parents: Mail the drawing, along with your name, child’s name and age, address, phone number and email. Deadline to enter is Monday, Feb. 10. Mail entries to ParentingNH Editor, McLean Communications, 150 Dow St., Manchester, NH 03101 or email the entry as a PDF to editor@parentingnh.com. Questions? Email editor@parentingnh.com. CHILDREN OF YANKEE PUBLISHING INC. OR MCLEAN COMMUNICATIONS EMPLOYEES ARE NOT ELIGIBLE.

Leadership change at Girls Inc. of New Hampshire Girls Inc. of New Hampshire has named Sharron McCarthy its new Chief Executive Officer; she will assume the role on Jan. 6. McCarthy will replace Cathy Duffy Cullity, who is retiring after 23 years. Under Duffy Cullity’s leadership, Girls Inc. of NH expanded its reach and impact. Girls Inc. has grown from one center in Nashua serving 40 girls a day to yearround centers in Nashua and Manchester with programs in more than 40 schools, serving 2,000 girls each year. For more than 20 years, McCarthy served as the publisher & president of McLean Communications — a subsidiary of Yankee Publishing — which owns several publications including ParentingNH. Girls Inc. of New Hampshire is a nonprofit organization for girls ages 5 to 18, and provides an experience that consists of people, an environment and programming that empower girls to succeed. For more information: www. girlsincnewhampshire.org.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE TO HELP BRAIN-INJURED VETERANS On January 25, the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire will host its Vertical Challenge Winter Event at Bretton Woods Ski Resort.

There are two fun ways to participate: ski and find the letters to solve the anagram or snowshoe and receive a poker hand. You

4 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020

can participate as an individual or as a team of 2 to 4. An all-day lift ticket/trail pass, shirt, lunch and one beverage ticket is included

with registration. Proceeds from the event will help support brain-injured veterans. For more information: www.bianh.org.


New location for children’s clothing retailer

WHAT’S NEW Get in the zone The Disney Junior Play Zone is open at the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem. Part of Simon’s larger collaboration with Disney Junior, the tactile play environment allows kids to experience their favorite Disney Junior shows. The Disney Junior Play Zone has ageappropriate activities, mobile device charging

Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem enter the Disney Junior Play Zone at The Mall at Rockingham Park, complete with a balloon drop, at the grand opening in November. PHOTO BY JENN PLANTE PHOTOGRAPHY

Carter’s recently opened a new location at the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua. The co-branded store is designed to be a one-stop shop for families featuring Carter’s baby and children’s clothing, gifts, and accessories along with favorites from OshKosh B’gosh, whose trend-right styles are grounded in authentic American heritage.

stations, lounge seating, and an open concept floor plan that allows strollers to stay by the caregivers’ side while watching or playing.

Bringing the outdoors indoors Thrive Outdoors, a wilderness survival and life navigation organization that specializes in working with kids and families, teen groups, corporate team-building, stress management, and more, is opening a leadership and community center in Manchester. The organization is renovating the basement of an old train station downtown. With the help of local mural artists and builders, it is bringing the outdoors indoors, and giving the city a unique experience. The 4,000-square-foot center will be a place for educational programming and Lunch & Learn sessions. It will also feature low ropes course elements, a boulder wall, a Ninja Warrior-style course and more. The grand opening at 190-200 Elm Street — a family fun event — will be held Saturday, Jan. 25, from noon to 5 p.m. For more information: www.thriveoutdoorsnh.com.

Thrive Outdoors has almost completed renovations on its new space in downtown Manchester. COURTESY PHOTO

www.parentingnh.com

| JANUARY 2020 5


I want that

TOYS FOR STEM LEARNING

Liquid Reactor Super Lab The Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab lets kids conduct bubbling reactions revealing collectible creatures from another planet. The working lab set also comes with the equipment and instructions needed to perform real-world science experiments. Age 5 and older. AVAILABLE AT AMAZON; $24.99

Math Slam

Harlow’s Harvest

Read the question, jam to the beat, scan the possible answers, and slam the one that’s correct. Math slam has three levels, flashing lights, and fun sound effects that will keep players interested. Ages 5-9.

Harlow’s Harvest’s monthly, STEMbased, subscription box contains recipe cards, a science project, background on the dish they are making, and an online game for kids that is connected to that month’s theme. Ages 4-15. AVAILABLE AT WWW.HARLOWSHARVEST.COM; STARTS AT $19 PER MONTH

AVAILABLE AT AMAZON; $39.99

6 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020

Electric Motors Catalyst

Coding Critters Meet your child’s first coding friends. These interactive pets introduce preschoolers to critical thinking, problem-solving, and other STEM skills with fun play sets and storybook coding adventures. Age 4 and older. AVAILABLE AT WWW.LEARNINGRESOURCES.COM; $39.99

Tinkering Labs’ Electric Motors Catalyst challenges a child’s problem-solving capabilities and creativity and empowers them with invention and project-based learning. Kids can build doodling robots, power electric model cars and more. Ages 8-12. AVAILABLE AT WWW.TINKERINGLABS. COM; $55


Gymnastics Village offers a safe place to build confidence, self-esteem and a healthy foundation for life. Make it part of your New Year’s schedule. Register Today! Call us at 603.889.8092 or visit gymnasticsvillage.com for more info.

Gymnastics and Ninja Challenge Classes for Girls and Boys, Birthday Parties and more!

MAKE THE MOST OF PLAYTIME LAUNCH RIGHT IN WITH . . .

a SUPER SPACECRAFT!

GATHER THESE MATERIALS:

Pencil

2 toilet paper tubes

Paper towel tube

2. Draw a rounded 1. Lay a toilet

paper tube on top of a piece of cardboard. Trace it.

nose to the traced shape. Then draw two rounded triangles for wings.

Small piece of cardboard

Markers or paint

3. Cut out the shape.

Scissors

(with an adult�s help)

Paper

Glue

5. Glue your cut tube on top of the cardboard in the shape of a spacecraft, and let it dry.

4. Trace the bottom of a

toilet paper tube on top of another. Then cut out the round shape.

6. Color or paint your spacecraft. You

can also decorate it with stickers. Place a small toy inside and go for a ride. Tell a story about where you’re going!

TinkerActive Workbooks cover essential skills using curriculum-based exercises and interactive tinkering, making, and engineering activities using common household materials!

The Active Way to learn through play

Odd Dot

An imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

AVAILABLE WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD

www.parentingnh.com

| JANUARY 2020 7


Meet NH’s Top Marilyn Mitchell

W

e are pleased to introduce you to New Hampshire’s Top Teachers for 2019. The number and quality of submissions from our readers was overwhelming. Each told us about a teacher that has made a difference in their school and community. We have selected five Granite State educators to feature in our third-annual Top Teacher issue. The nomination essays written about these talented people are included here, alongside a short profile about each teacher. We look forward to honoring our Top Teachers in an on-the-field ceremony before a New Hampshire Fisher Cats game in May 2020 (look for details in a future issue of ParentingNH ). Note: Some essays may have been shortened or edited for print, but the full version of the nominating essays will be sent to the teachers after publication. – MELANIE HITCHCOCK, EDITOR OF PARENTINGNH

PHOTOS BY KENDAL J. BUSH / WWW.KENDALJBUSH.COM

8 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020

Chester Academy, Chester Grade 1 Marilyn Mitchell has been teaching for 36 years, 35 of them at Chester Academy. Marilyn is an avid winter sports enthusiast, especially skiing. When she’s not in school, she loves to cook, bake, read and work in her yard. Marilyn says: “Our days in first grade are filled with active learning and lots of laughter. There’s never a dull moment in our busy classroom. I have loved getting to know many of the wonderful families in Chester.”


Teachers 2019 NOMINATOR: JONATHAN ECKERMAN, PARENT OF FORMER STUDENT

Mrs. Mitchell is truly one of NH’s best teachers. She has been teaching at Chester Academy for 35 years and has touched the lives of several generations of Chester families, our own included. Each of our four children has had the opportunity to learn from Mrs. Mitchell and each has come home so enthusiastic to tackle whatever comes next as a result of her positive attitude and encouragement. Mrs. Mitchell’s classroom is a welcoming environment for all learners and has laid the foundations of learning, respect, and a love of exploration both in the classroom and beyond. It is not uncommon to see Mrs. Mitchell surrounded by current students, but even more touching her former students. In addition to her classroom duties, Mrs. Mitchell has been in charge of the school’s ski program introducing students to her love of the outdoors and the exhilaration of skiing. She can also be found working diligently to improve the lives of her fellow teachers through her work on several committees within the school. Mrs. Mitchell demonstrates daily how living your values and working hard can build a strong foundation in education that will serve one well throughout his or her educational career and beyond.

www.parentingnh.com

| JANUARY 2020 9


Andrew Bengtson Next Charter School, Derry Mathematics; second, third and fourth-year students Andrew Bengtson earned a Master’s in Education from Keene State College in 2001 and taught middle school in Derry and Walpole, NH for 12 years. He has taught at Next Charter School since it opened in 2013. Andrew says: “Building relationships with my students is the most important thing I do as an educator. School can be challenging at times, and it’s important that students feel safe and valued. This allows them to focus on their academics and seek help when they need it.” Andrew Bengston with Chauncey McGovern (L) and Juliana Stefanile (R).

Scott Dunlop Spaulding Youth Center, Northfield All subjects; primarily eighth through 10th grade Scott Dunlop joined Spaulding Youth Center in 1995 as a special education teacher following his time as a student teacher. Almost 25 years later, Scott still faces something new and challenging in his neurobehavioral classroom every day, which is one of his favorite things about working at Spaulding Youth Center. Scott said that seeing some of his previous students excel outside of school and in the community makes the time he has spent at the organization especially worthwhile. 10 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020

NOMINATOR: COLLEEN SLIVA, PRINCIPAL

… Scott’s neurobehavioral classroom includes youth and young adults in middle school through early high school. Students in his class have moderate to severe cognitive deficits, including neurological and developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder. Many of these children often display aggressive and sometimes dangerous behavior, and some are nonverbal. Within this uniquely challenging atmosphere, Scott embraces each and every day with positivity and dedication and accomplishes truly legendary outcomes for our extraordinary students. Beyond his work with our students, Scott regularly exceeds expectations in other ways. He often takes the lead in organizing school-wide outings, such as trips to Manchester Monarchs and New Hampshire Fisher Cats games, to create opportunities for our students to participate in their community and create positive and memorable childhood memories. Scott’s impact also reaches beyond the Spaulding campus. Since 1997, he has served as the beloved head coach of the Concord High School boys’ varsity soccer team. His guidance, support and commitment has been an inspiration to the many student-athletes he has coached over the past 20-plus years. Scott also coordinates Spaulding employee teams to play in various fundraising events, such as an annual wiffle ball tournament, including securing matching SYC spirit teams. Anyone who knows Mr. Dunlop and is familiar with his wholehearted efforts to not let our students be defined by their disabilities. He is deeply committed to the belief that his students can achieve success in and out of a school setting and prepares them to do so. Throughout his tenure, Scott has played an instrumental role in creating opportunities for several of our most challenging students to successfully complete trips to public locations, community events and other activities many of us take for granted. If I could, I would hire 10 more of him. Scott Dunlop has made an incredibly positive impact on his students, colleagues and community and we are exceedingly lucky to have him.


NOMINATOR: LYNDA SABBIO, PARENT OF CURRENT STUDENT

Mr. Andrew Bengtson is so deserving of being teacher of the year for many reasons. Next is a competency-based high school with approximately 70 students. This environment is perfect for a teacher like Mr. B (as his students call him) because he wants to get to know his students for the people they are and help them grow into strong individuals. He promotes independent thinking amongst his students and helps them feel confident being true to who they are. If a student is having an issue, whether it is academic or personal, he takes notice, reaches out. He has the ability to engage them in a meaningful discussion about it and he’ll ask questions that make them think. He knows just how much to push them and he’s always encouraging them. My daughter struggles with anxiety. She had a very challenging sophomore year and he was always there for her. He is a very patient teacher and always listens to what his students have to say. He offered up helpful suggestions on how to cope with her anxiety that have proved to be invaluable. Mr. B is a teacher that his students will not only remember with respect but I know will carry with them all the lessons learned by him, both academic and preparing for life as an adult.

St. Thomas Aquinas School, Derry, NH teaching hearts and minds to be FutureReady!

Learn more at www.STADerry.com (603) 432-2712

www.parentingnh.com

| JANUARY 2020 11


Kelly Gagnon Derry Village School, Derry Grade 2 Kelly Gagnon has been a classroom teacher since 2009, and has taught all 10 years in the Derry School District. She also has a Master’s degree in Reading and Writing. Kelly says: “Working with my second grade students is such a gift. They inspire me to be the best I can be. In my classroom, I want my students to know that anything is possible and feel comfortable and able to try new experiences. I enjoy their smiles each day and I learn at least as much from them as they do from me. Every child is different and it is rewarding to see them grow as learners and individuals in their own unique, special ways.”

NOMINATOR: TARA COLLINS, PARENT OF CURRENT STUDENT

Mrs. Gagnon is the type of teacher you hope and wish for. She is kind, caring, patient, fair, intelligent, and compassionate. She meets her students where they are at, instead of trying to make them fit into a mold. She somehow has the ability to teach an entire classroom while providing the individual help that each child needs. She encourages kids to advocate for themselves and celebrates their differences, instead of asking them to all be the same. She is the type of teacher that her students will remember their entire lives, and that the parents of her students will be forever grateful for.

NOMINATOR: MANDY WATTS, PARENT OF CURRENT STUDENT

…She is an amazing teacher and goes above and beyond for her students. My daughter has really bad social anxiety and she has done everything possible to make her comfortable and excited to come to school. She has taught her a lot of techniques that have helped her with her math. My daughter absolutely adores her. She has made her the most comfortable she has ever been. She is the most caring teacher and really does want all her students to succeed in life.

Kelly Gagnon, in the classroom, with Isabelle Collins (L) and Karlee Watts (R — off camera).

12 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020

My daughter smiles every day she goes to school and says how much she loves Mrs. Gagnon. She will ask for help now when she is stuck and sits with the teacher when she needs help. My daughter has grown so much in just this short time this year with her as her teacher. The world needs more teachers like this. This teacher deserves to be recognized for the amazing work she does. She cares for her students like they are her own.


Winter Open House — Saturday, January 25 at 11am Your child will develop a passion for learning in the areas of technology, science, visual and performing arts, foreign language and daily physical education.

Inspiring students through hands-on learning Infants through 8th grade in Londonderry, NH Flexible tuition program

Visit the Possibilities • Tour our bright, modern classrooms • Learn what makes Montessori magnificent! • Visit our Middle School Makerspace • Meet teachers, staff, and families

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Amanda Eaton Clark-Wilkins Elementary School, Amherst • Grade 1 Amanda Eaton has had the pleasure of teaching at Clark-Wilkins for 16 years. She is thankful for the supportive families of Amherst and being part of a collaborative team who inspire her. Amanda strives to spread kindness in her school and in her community. She lives in Mason with her husband David and their two labs.

NOMINATOR: KELLY COMTOIS, PARENT OF FORMER STUDENT

…My daughter grew leaps and bounds with Amanda. You can tell from her weekly write ups how much she cares about each and every one of her students. We as parents get photos each week with what they worked on. I always felt like I knew everything they were doing. To my surprise, I received a phone call from Amanda Eaton about 60 days into the school year with a message asking me to call her

back. I thought ‘Oh no, I wonder what happened or what did my daughter do.’ I called her back and she cheerfully greeted me and said: ‘I just like to place phone calls and tell you all the things that make your child so special.’ Through the school year, I volunteered many times within the classroom. Amanda has this amazing way of captivating her students’ attention. I have never heard her yell.

She speaks to them with respect and calmness — in turn they respect her. Every day my daughter was always so excited for school. Never once did she not want to go. She would always say she has so much fun growing her brain and seeing Mrs. Eaton.

talk about how she was going to do amazing things when she’s grown and she wants to be a teacher exactly like Mrs. Eaton. A teacher like this comes along every now and again if you are lucky. We were so lucky to have had her in our lives.

One of the most important things about Amanda is she teaches kindness and self-love. My daughter would often come home and

Above: Amanda Eaton with some of her grade 1 students.

Past ParentingNH Top Teacher honorees:

• Kathy Litch, World Academy, Nashua

• Lauren Asmega, Strafford School

• Holly Lubelczyk, James Mastricola Elementary School, Merrimack

• Lindsay Bliznik, Moultonborough Academy

• Michelina Madden, New Durham Elementary School, New Durham

• Matt Bryant, Windham High School, Windham

• Kathleen Pappalardo, Dr. Lewis F. Soule Elementary School, Salem

• Marilyn Byron, St. Joseph Regional Catholic School, Salem

• Srilakshmi Sankar, World Academy, Nashua

• Mary Guidoboni, World Academy

• Patricia Silvia, Strong Foundations Charter School, Pembroke

• Gail Boucher Lewis, Auburn Village School

• Shauna Webber, Smyth Road Elementary, Manchester

14 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020


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From Habits of Mind to Computational Thinking: Teaching and Learning for the Future

I

n order to prepare today’s students to become tomorrow’s innovators, leaders, and global citizens, schools must develop a dynamic vision for the future of education. In addition to a strong academic foundation, this requires an intentional focus on providing opportunities for our students to become resilient risk-takers, flexible thinkers, and collaborative problem solvers. At World Academy, Dr. Lisa Dias, Head of School we’ve been focused on developing well-rounded students for 40 years — and the results for our alumni have been overwhelmingly positive. As advancements in technology have led to a rapidly changing world, our students will require a wide range of habits and skills in order to be competitive and successful in their future. An intentional focus on developing computational thinking skills in young children helps lay the foundation for critical thinking and problem-solving needed for computer science. Habits of mind such as persisting through challenging tasks; listening and understanding with empathy; thinking flexibly with the ability to change perspectives; and creating, imagining, and innovating are also all essential components of a transformative 21st-century education.

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| JANUARY 2020 15


40 fun things to do this winter Cool ideas for family fun in New Hampshire in January and February BY JACQUELINE TOURVILLE

T

here’s plenty of wintertime family fun to be had in New Hampshire — both inside and outdoors. Take your pick from any these 40 family-friendly activities and don’t be surprised if winter becomes your favorite season.

On your next visit to Portsmouth, go for a glide around picturesque Puddle Dock Pond, Strawbery Banke’s outdoor ice skating rink.

Too cold to lace up outside? Take a spin around one of New Hampshire’s many indoor ice rinks. Plentiful public skating hours can be found at the Dover Ice Arena and Tri-Town Ice Arena in Hooksett.

All you need are a few sleds and a hill and voila — instant fun for kids that can last for hours or at least until everyone’s toes and fingers get too cold. Favorite Granite State sledding spots include Roby Park in Nashua and Wagon Hill in Durham. For more spots near you, check out ParentingNH’s list at www.parentingnh.com

Check out the Living Shores Aquarium, which recently opened at Story Land in Glen. It’s an indoor walk-through adventure that allows the whole family to discover the wonders of the ocean year round. The aquarium includes over 32,000 square feet of interactive tide pools, exhibits and immersive activities.

16 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020

Jackson’s 20th annual Snow Sculpting Competition in January is an amazing display of snow-sculpting artistry. Bonfires, marshmallow roasting and a scavenger hunt make this a fun event for all ages.


 Nashua’s Gate City Striders’ annual Freeze Your Buns Off 5K is a winter running series for families that will get you all off the couch. There’s even a special race division for kids.

Break out the bathing suits and go for a family swim at virtually any local YMCA branch in New Hampshire. Look for special family “open swim” times.

 In New Hampshire, winter means one thing for many families: skiing. If you’re new to the slopes, McIntyre Ski Area in Manchester offers family lessons to learn how to downhill ski or snowboard together (for families with kids ages 4 and older).

 Ring in 2020 with outdoor adventure by going on a First Day Hike organized by the NH State Parks system. Locations for this year’s First Day Hikes on Jan. 1 include Odiorne State Park and Monadnock State Park. For more locations, go to www. nhstateparks.org.

 If you prefer cross-country skiing, Jackson XC in Jackson offers family group lessons to teach you how to kick and glide through the beautiful White Mountains landscape.

 Snowshoeing is a fun and active way to get kids out exploring the winter landscape. On Saturdays, check out the guided snowshoe tours at Purity Springs Resort in Madison. Rentals are available.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ICECASTLES.COM/NEW-HAMPSHIRE

 Ready to be amazed? Visit Ice Castles in North Woodstock, a dazzling seasonal attraction created from thousands of icicles lit with LED lights. Explore the frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, and fountains — and don’t forget your camera.

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| JANUARY 2020 17


AUDUBON MURAL PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRIER MUSEUM

 Travel up Mount Washington aboard the SnowCoach, a van that uses special rotating tracks — not tires — to travel along the mountain’s snow-encased auto road. Tours take you past the tree line to experience Mount Washington’s wild weather.

 

Get artsy with a trip to the Currier Museum in Manchester. Marvel at the collection’s masterpieces then unleash your own creativity in the family art studio.

What’s growing in New Hampshire in winter? Find out at area indoor winter farmers markets. The Seacoast Growers Market, alternating between Wentworth Greenhouse in Dover and Exeter High School, offers kid-friendly activities and live music. Find a winter farmers market near you at www. agriculture.nh.gov

 There’s nothing quite like the cheery, playful (and educational!) atmosphere of a children’s museum. Be sure to schedule a trip to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover, the Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum in North Conway or the Cheshire’s Children Museum in Keene.

  Watch hockey the way it used to be played — outdoors and on a frozen pond or lake — at the 2020 New England Pond Hockey Classic, held in Meredith from January 31-Feb. 2.

 Later this winter your kids may be literally ready to climb the walls, so harness that energy and take them to an indoor rock climbing gym. Evo Rock + Fitness in Concord and Vertical Dreams in Manchester and Nashua are two family-friendly picks.

18 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020

If there’s an official drink of winter, it’s hot chocolate. For a delicious mug of hot cocoa goodness, head to L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates in Walpole.

SNOWCOACH PHOTO COURTESY OF MT WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD

Find out what happens when you say, “Mush!” Muddy Kennel Dog Sledding in Jefferson offers 1.5-hour dog sled rides through the snowy terrain. Rides include a personal meet-and-greet (and pet) with the sled dogs.

 Nordic skating is like cross-country skiing on ice skates. Want to give it a try? Head to Occom Pond in Hanover where the Dartmouth Cross-County Ski Center rents out special Nordic Skates for curious newbies.

 Visit your local library for free fun. Winter is a great time to cozy up with a good book. Plus, public libraries offer so much more, including museum passes, DVDs, board games and story times.

 Find out how farm animals spend the winter by taking a self-guided tour of Stonewall Farm in Keene. Explore the farm’s grounds for free. Snowshoe rentals are available.


Who says zip lining is only for summer? At Bretton Woods, a special winter zip line tour descends over 1,000 feet through gorgeous winter scenery.

Keep jingling all the way in January and February with a sleigh ride across the fields and woods of the Charmingfare Farm in Candia. Special sleigh ride “socials” take you to a bonfire where warm drinks and food await.

If you haven’t been on a bike since before the snow started flying, try fat tire biking. Wider tires offer greater stability in the snow, hence the name. Great Glen Trails offers bike rentals.

Break out of the winter doldrums and get your minds STEM-ulated by the hands on science, technology, engineering and mathbased exhibits at SEE Science Center in Manchester.

 You and your kids have skied your heart out, so go ahead and saddle up at Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill (near Franconia) for a stack of pancakes, fresh and topped with local maple syrup, that you won’t soon forget. You’ll definitely be making a return trip.

 Bowling, anyone? Whether you prefer candlepin or ten-pin, you are guaranteed to have a great time at one of New Hampshire’s many bowling alleys. Grab a lane with bumpers and even your youngest will have fun.

 Get ready for a family-friendly foot stomping good time when Recycled Percussion kicks off a special New January tour in the Granite State with stops in Manchester, Plymouth, Keene and Lebanon.

 If you aren’t headed on vacation to a tropical island, try the next best option — a trip to Kahuna Laguna, the tropics-themed indoor water park in North Conway. Splash all day in the park’s slides, tubes, pools, waves, buckets and tree houses and, bonus, it is only a car ride away.

 Snow tubing is popping up at more and more ski resorts, probably because it’s so much fun to glide and bounce down a slope in a big rubber tube. Find snow tubing at Cranmore, Loon, Bretton Woods and other ski areas.

 On the first Friday of each month, head to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord for Super Stellar Fridays. Enjoy an evening of astronomy with Discovery Center educators and special guest speakers. Each program is followed by an optional planetarium show.

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| JANUARY 2020 19


Ready for an adrenaline rush? Line up at the Big Swing at Cranmore Ski Resort. Four people at a time are strapped in and winched up higher and higher until the swing is released to fly through the sky.

Fishing isn’t just a warm weather activity — extend the season by trying out ice fishing. If you aren’t sure where to start, New Hampshire Fish & Game offers free ice fishing classes across the state. Classes are geared toward first-time anglers, 8 and older. Find classes at www. wildlife.state.nh.us.

 Ride a roller coaster in winter in New Hampshire? That’s exactly what you can do at Gunstock Mountain Resort. Gunstock’s winter roller coaster is a six-minute thrill ride that is just as much fun in winter as it is in the summer.

 Try an ‘escape room’ to escape the winter cold. Find clues and solve puzzles to figure your way out of the room in a set amount of time. Great for families and groups. Find them across New Hampshire including Concord, Manchester, Derry and Portsmouth.

 Sometimes it is all fun and games. Spend an afternoon at Fun World in Nashua. Fun World not only features more than 250 video games for all ages, it also has kiddie rides and an indoor playground.

 Celebrate winter and all things snow with your family at a carnival or festival — outdoor fun for everyone in January and Feburary. For a list of our favorites, go to www.parentingnh.com.

For more information: Bretton Woods: www.brettonwoods.com Charmingfare Farm in Candia: www.visitthefarm.com Cheshire Children’s Museum in Keene: www.cheshire childrensmuseum.org Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover: www.childrens-museum.org Cranmore Ski Resort in North Conway: www.cranmore.com Currier Museum of Art in Manchester: www.currier.org Dartmouth Cross-County Ski Center: www.outdoors. dartmouth.edu Dover Ice Arena in Dover: www.dover.nh.gov Evolution Rock + Fitness in Concord: www.evorock.com Fun World in Nashua: www.funworldnh.com Gate City Striders in Nashua: www.gatecity.org

RED FOX IN SNOW PHOTO COURTESY OF SQUAM LAKES NATURAL SCIENCE CENTER

Talk a walk on the “winter” side at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness. Throughout the winter, you can join a staff naturalist for a guided walk on the live animal exhibit trail to see animal ambassadors dressed in their winter coats and discuss how these native animals are well adapted for winter in New Hampshire. Jacqueline Tourville is a long-time contributor to ParentingNH.

20 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020

McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord: www.starhop.com McIntyre Ski Area in Manchester: www.mcintyreskiarea.com Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum in North Conway: www.mwvchildrensmuseum.org Muddy Kennel Dog Sledding in Jefferson: www.dogslednh.com NH State Parks: www.nhstateparks.org Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill: www.pollyspancakeparlor. com Pond Hockey Classic in Meredith: wwwpondhockeyclassic.com Puddle Dock Pond, Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth: www.strawberybanke.org Purity Springs Resort in Madison: www.purityspring.com Recycled Percussion: www.recycledpercussion.com

Great Glen Trails in Gorham: www.greatglentrails.com

Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway: www.redjacketresorts.com

Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford: www.gunstock.com

SEE Science Center in Manchester: www.see-sciencecenter.org

Ice Castles in North Woodstock: www.icecastles.com

SnowCoach tours: www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com

Ice Fishing (NH Fish & Game): www.wildlife.state.nh.us

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center: www.nhnature.org

Jackson Invitational Snow Sculpting Competition in Jackson: www.jacksonnh.com

Stonewall Farm in Keene: www.stonewallfarm.org

Jackson XC in Jackson: www.jacksonxc.org L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates in Walpole: www.burdickchocolate.com Living Shores Aquarium in Glen: www.livingshores.com

Tri-Town Ice Arena: www.tri-townicearena.com Vertical Dreams: www.verticaldreams.com Winter Farmers Markets in NH: www.agriculture.nh.gov YMCA (NH locations): www.ymcasofnh.org


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Granite State kids are learning the language of the future BY KRYSTEN GODFREY MADDOCKS

N

armana Vale started coding in elementary school when her brother introduced her to a block-based coding program called “Scratch.”

In contrast to traditional, text-based programming, block-based coding allows you to drag “blocks” of instructions to create stories, games and animation without typing text commands. In sixth grade, Vale, of Exeter, continued to explore coding through joining the Girls Who Code club at the Wiggin Library in Stratham. Her mom, Sara, started the club, which is a chapter of the national organization focused on introducing middle school girls to the fundamentals of computer coding. “I was interested in how coding was used in the real world. I realized I could create a lot of positive impacts with coding and solve real-world problems with code,” Vale said.

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Today, Vale, 15, is a sophomore at Phillips Exeter Academy, where she’s working on a prototype of an application that aims to connect homeless women with feminine hygiene products. The two-way app allows people to donate products and it points women in need to locations where they can receive them. She’s further developed her coding skills in PEA classes, where she is working on a time management application with her classmates. “Kids should learn code for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s a fun way of creating programs like games and animations. And when you finish coding something cool, you are proud you made it and that it works,” she said. Furthermore, girls and women are underrepresented in the field and have a lot to offer organizations, Vale said. “Apps and software can be used to aid people and change lives. Companies are creating impactful technology with code and need many different perspectives to create this impact. Different perspectives can’t come from one group, they need to come from diverse groups of people,” she said. Computer coding may sound complicated — a task only successfully achieved by mathematically advanced high school students or experienced software developers. But today, kids as young as 6 are learning coding fundamentals at school, online, at after-school clubs, and through for-profit companies that specialize in coding education. Coding refers to the process in which you tell a computer how to perform a task. Computer code is responsible for running the programs, games, and apps we use today. In its simplest form, students can learn “unplugged coding” by establishing a series of directions to get a turtle to a “pond” on a cardboard grid, said Kari Niland, a first-grade teacher at Seacoast Charter School in Dover. Text-based coding requires you to type various characters from a syntax, or list of codes readable by a particular language. “The purpose of it is to get kids to understand directions and sequencing, and how to do things in a particular order,” Niland said.

CODING IN NH’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS Depending where students attend school, they might not be exposed to coding during the school day. Other places students learn to code includes online sites such as code.org, after-school clubs, or the library. During the 2018-19 school year, 49% of New Hampshire high schools taught at least one computing-related course. About a dozen schools offered the Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles test, which covers coding and

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More about Code.org Code.org® is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. Its vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra. Code.org provides curriculum for K-12 computer science in the largest school districts in the United States and also organizes the annual Hour of Code campaign which has engaged 15% of all students in the world. Typically held in December, the Hour of Code started as a onehour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. For more information, go to www.code.org.

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programming, along with computer networking and data analytics. New Hampshire recently added computer science as a curriculum requirement. Much of the push for this came as a result of a bill that passed in 2018, which requires New Hampshire schools to integrate computer science into the curriculum in grades 1 through 8 and offer at least one course in high school. However, in the earlier grades, the law leaves it up to the teachers to incorporate competencies such as coding and computational thinking practice into the curriculum. Mihaela Sabin, professor of computer science at the University of New Hampshire, was a member of a task force that looked at what computer science requirements were already in place throughout the state prior to the law and what types of computer classes districts schools offered throughout the state. (Sabin is a founding member of the Computer Science Teacher Association NH Chapter and a member of the CS4NH Coalition. She also co-chairs the Workforce Development Committee of the New Hampshire Technical Alliance.) The task force’s findings showed that it was

difficult, even at the high school level, to discern whether a course was computing-related. The results of the study showed that computing courses focused more on digital literacy or office productivity programs like Microsoft Word or Excel rather than coding, Sabin said. The main challenge New Hampshire schools face now is preparing teachers to keep pace with the latest computer science technologies. For the first time last year, the state Department of Education offered a computer science teaching certification. As a result, 10 teachers received an additional computer science certification in addition to their initial certifications in elementary education or secondary mathematics, for example. Sabin said these teachers can mentor others who are interested in seeking certification. “You either come from the computer science industry and have the content but don’t have the pedagogy, or you are a teacher and have an excellent pedagogical approach, but you don’t have the content expertise,” she said.


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Learning the building blocks of coding can pay off for kids who decide to pursue it as a career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers earned a median annual salary of $103,620 in 2018, and demand is expected to grow a whopping 21% through 2028. However, educators say that you don’t have to want to become a software developer to reap the benefits of learning how to code. Julie Demers, executive director of the New Hampshire Tech Alliance, a statewide technology association that represents more than 60,000 workers and supports companies from start-ups to global enterprises, said leaders throughout New England are looking for employees with problem-solving ability. Through its Tech Women/ Tech Girls and CS4NH initiatives, and outreach to students in New Hampshire schools, the NH Tech Alliance exposes students to STEM careers and advocates technology in school curricula. Eliminating the fear around coding is important, particularly for students who may not have role models working in the field, said Demers. “In terms of increasing talent pipelines, we want to engage students and get them interested at a young age,” she said. “It doesn’t have to translate into a career in technology either — it makes you

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ENGAGING YOUNG WOMEN

More about Girls Who Code The mission of Girls Who Code is to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. Girls Who Code Clubs are free, after-school programs for girls in third grade and up — to join peers and role models using computer science to change the world. They offer 13 books for girls to learn to code and free lesson plans featuring diverse women in tech. For more information, go to www. girlswhocode.com.

more well-rounded as a whole.” This year, 1,000 students in 22 schools interacted with 52 NH Tech Alliance volunteers with backgrounds in computer science during TechWomen Ambassadors week, Demers said. In New Hampshire, technology contributes to 13%-14% of the state’s GDP and the sector is expected to grow 10% in the next five years. Demers said the state averages 2,800 vacancies in technology positions that go unfilled each year because there isn’t enough talent to fill them. “When you talk to employers, they are less specific about coding languages and more interested in your problem-solving ability and work ethic,” Demers said. “Coding is the essence of problem-solving with computations. Computation-based solutions are then further automated by ubiquitous computing power that’s embedded in home appliances, cars and traffic control towers, medical devices, or social media,” said Sabin. The earlier you are exposed to it, the more you understand what it means, she said. Because most of us are used to tapping on an application to get information, we lack the understanding of what’s behind those apps and what makes them work, said Sabin. “In fact, many of those apps are online services, running on globally connected computer networks over which the United States doesn’t have full control,” she said. “That’s why we need to understand what makes all of those things work the way they do.”

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BRINGING CODING TO SCHOOL THROUGH ROBOTICS At World Academy, an independent school in Nashua for infants through eighth grade, Dan Hughes teaches an Intro to Robotics class to students in each grade. A LEGO master builder and robotics coach, Hughes got his start coaching his son’s robotics team and decided to quit his day job as a sales manager in 2009 “to build robots all day.” He started contacting schools throughout the state, offering his services, and coaching robotics teams to compete in events like the Robotics World Championship. Not only does he teach at World Academy, but he also helps mentor robotics teams at after-school programs throughout the state. Because World Academy is an independent school, it has the flexibility to offer a robotics curriculum and host after-school robotics teams. A key to mastering robotics is understanding block-based coding, Hughes said. Right now, coding doesn’t fall into any particular area of the curriculum in most schools, he said, calling it “the wild west.” Meanwhile, World Academy is expanding its goals, looking at what coding languages are most relevant to teach to kids. While right now Python is the one to know, Hughes said, two years from now, it could be something else. “It’s good for kids to experience all kinds of languages,” Hughes said. “While the languages are different, the processes and concepts are always the same.”

To introduce coding to girls, Portsmouth Library sponsored a local chapter of the Girls Who Code program since last fall. Girls Who Code seeks to close the gender gap in computing by offering free curriculum, guidelines for after-school clubs, and coding camps to girls. Now in its second full year, Mollie Mulligan, librarian coordinator for the Portsmouth Library, said the program has seen many girls continue to learn from facilitators who use tools from Girls Who Code and computers at the library for animations, games and apps. “Coding is a huge necessity and we know that for girls, especially, there is a drop-off in middle school when it comes to computer, math and STEM topics,” Mulligan said. “We really wanted to indicate that this was a priority for us as well. No one on our staff had coding experience, so we met in the middle.” Within minutes of posting a need for Girls Who Code facilitators on Facebook, Mulligan said three people responded. One of those facilitators was Michael Roche, who moved to the United States from Ireland in 2011. A data architect at Liberty Mutual, Roche does not yet have a daughter in school (his daughter Evelyn is almost 4) but said he wanted to share his 20 years of experience with students, and to gain an understanding of what Evelyn may face as a woman learning technology. “Computers and gender don’t have to be barriers; you are only limited by your imagination and self-belief,” he said. In a typical session, facilitators address an aspect of technology that is new and interesting, such as self-driving cars, Roche said. Girls are encouraged to look at the pros and cons, as well as any ethical considerations. Girls then learn coding concepts and use them to build their own applications and games. There is a strong emphasis on sisterhood and fun — with snacks and music, he said. “Coding is about creativity and expressing yourself. The ideas may be complex, but if you decompose it into small units of work, it turns a difficult problem into a simple problem.” Sam Lucius, the head children’s librarian at the Wiggin Library in Stratham, another location in which Girls Who Code has been routinely offered, said that libraries are a good place for kids to explore coding, which could be considered another type of literacy. “It’s a foundational skill that you build upon and use in a bunch of different ways,” she said.


CAPITALIZING ON A NICHE If a school or local library isn’t delivering the coding experience your child is looking for, businesses who specialize in coding education can likely bump your child’s interest in programming up a notch. Chuck McNamara of Dunstable, Mass. opened a Code Ninjas franchise in Tyngsborough, Mass. a year and a half ago. Code Ninjas was founded by a software developer in Houston, Texas and has franchises in 38 states and Canada. (There are not yet any franchises in New Hampshire, Maine, or Vermont.) Code Ninjas is not a classroom or a club, but instead offers students between the ages of 7 and 14 an opportunity to tackle progressively difficult coding projects on a drop-in basis. “At Code Ninjas, we teach programming instead of just coding,” McNamara said. “We don’t focus on just one language. Students learn how a computer works, what you can make a computer do. Then, switching languages is easy.” Students learn programs used in the work force, such as JavaScript, C# and Python, and how to monetize and market their apps. “Math and programming are so interconnected in how thinking and logic are applied,” he said. “Kids’ math scores get better and better after attending Code Ninjas. And if they aren’t so good at math, programming will help improve it.” Krysten Godfrey Maddocks is a former journalist and marketing director who now regularly writes for higher education and technology organizations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Mom to 4-year-old Everett, she has lived in the Seacoast for the past 20 years.

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WANTED A D Creative kids! WE ARE SEEKING TALENTED NEW HAMPSHIRE KIDS TO ADD COLOR TO THE PAGES OF OUR MARCH ISSUE! Are you age 6 or older? Then we want you! Just grab your markers or colored pencils and start drawing. Think back to summertime and capture your favorite camping scene on an 8 ½ x 11 inch piece of white paper. We miss summer too — and can’t wait to see what you send us. Plus, one lucky entrant will be selected at random to win a birthday party for 10 jumpers at Altitude Trampoline Park in Pelham. That’s something to get “hoppy” about.

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION This list of nonpublic schools is in alphabetical order. Please contact the school directly for the most up-to-date information on enrollment, tuition, admission deadlines, financial aid and

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TAX PREP 101: As tax season approaches, families will be looking for tips on how to best maximize benefits. We reached out to Jim Moran, CPA, MST, and manager at Melanson Heath, a regional CPA firm with offices in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts, to help us learn how to do just that. What are the benefits of using a CPA to prepare your taxes? Moran: “The U.S. Tax Code has approximately 76,000 pages of rules, rulings, regulations and case law to interpret. A CPA can help a taxpayer navigate these rules to minimize a taxpayer’s liability. In addition to preparing the tax return, a CPA can help during the year with planning for tax withholding and provide tax-efficient savings for retirement and college. CPAs provide the human touch to taxes. Finally, savings realized by using a CPA often cover or exceed any fees they may charge.”

What tax credits are available to families with children? Moran: “There are several credits available to families with children. A credit is more valuable than a deduction as it is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax while a deduction only lowers the overall amount of taxable income. Sometimes a credit maybe refundable. CHILD TAX CREDIT: For 2019, the Child Tax Credit (CTC) is $2,000 per qualifying child. The credit applies if the child is younger than 17 at the end of the year, the taxpayer claims the child as a dependent, and the child lives with the taxpayer for more than six months of the year. The qualifying child

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MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR RETURN

must also have a valid Social Security Number before the due date of the tax return, including extensions. Dependents who do not qualify for the CTC may qualify for the Credit for Other Dependents (ODC) of $500 per individual. A person qualifies if they meet all the following conditions: • The person is claimed as a dependent on your return • Is not being used by you to claim the CTC or ACTC • Is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or resident alien The credit begins to phase out at $200,000 of modified adjusted gross income, or $400,000 for married couples filing jointly. Up to $1,400 of the credit can be refundable for each child. This means a taxpayer may get a refund even if they don’t owe any tax. ADDITIONAL CHILD TAX CREDIT (ACTC): This credit is for certain individuals who got less than the full amount of the CTC in cases where the credit exceeded the amount of taxes due. The ACTC may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax. CREDIT FOR CHILD AND DEPENDENT CARE EXPENSES: To be able to claim the credit for child and dependent care expenses, you must file Form 1040 or Form 1040NR, and meet all the tests below: 1. Qualifying Person Test. A qualifying person is: • Your child who is your dependent and under age 13 when the care was provided; • A spouse who was unable to physically or mentally care for themself and lived with you for more than half the year; or • A person who was physically or mentally unable to care for themself, lived with you for more than half the year, and either: a. Was your dependent, or b. Would have been your dependent except that the person received gross income of $4,150 or more, filed a joint return or you or your spouse can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s 2019 return. 2. Earned Income Test. You (and your spouse if filing jointly) must have earned income during the year. 3. Work-Related Expense Test. You and your spouse must have paid child or dependent care expenses so you can work or look for work. 4. You must make payments for child and dependent care to someone you (and your spouse) can’t claim as a dependent. If you make payments to your child, he or she can’t be your dependent and must be age 19 or older by the end of the year. You can’t make payments to: • Your spouse or • The parent of your qualifying person if your qualifying person is your child and under age 13. 5. Joint Return Test. Your filing status may be single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. If married, you must file a joint return, unless an exception applies. 6. Provider Identification Test. You must identify the care provider on your tax return. 7. If you exclude or deduct dependent care benefits provided by a dependent care benefit plan, the total amount you exclude or deduct must be less than the dollar limit for qualifying expenses (generally, $3,000 if one qualifying person was cared for or $6,000 if two or more qualifying persons were cared for). (If two or more qualifying persons were cared for, the amount you exclude or deduct will always be less than the dollar limit because the total amount you can exclude or deduct is limited to $5,000. In addition to the above there are also several educational credits available to parents with children in college.”


dad on board LIVING THE MUSICIAN’S LIFE MY DAUGHTER IS WHERE I WANTED TO BE AT 17 – WITH MY BASS, IN A VAN, EATING A DONUT BY BILL BURKE I’ve always been acutely aware of not living vicariously through my child, but she’s making it very difficult. My daughter is a senior at a high school with an outstanding music program. She plays in orchestras and rock bands and musicals and jazz ensembles. Most of the time she’s packing her red Rickenbacker up, putting on her boots and London Calling T-shirt and heading out to yet another gig or rehearsal. She’s much cooler than her dad was at 17. Back then, I was convinced I was meant to be standing on-stage, my fist wind-milling in the air and swinging my low-slung bass around aggressively while shaking stadiums with unrelenting volume. I had visions of becoming a cross between Lemmy and a handsomer Lemmy. But I’m pretty short, my red hair grew up and out (more Bozo than Bonzo) and I wasn’t, you know, good. So I put down the bass, picked up an AP Stylebook and went down another road. But here’s the thing: Kurt Vonnegut was right when he said, “Virtually every writer I know would rather be a musician.” The urge to jam never went away. I own too many guitars and basses and mandolins and bouzoukis. (Seriously, I own a bouzouki. It’s actually a thing.) None of these things are getting me a fill-in gig at the Enormo-dome, but it is fun. Enter a musically inclined child. She’s been working hard for a very long time on her chops and theory and ear. She’ll rise up like the sun and labor ‘til the work is done. It just never occurred to me that all those hard-earned skills put her where I would’ve loved to have been at her age. Until the donut. She was recently playing in the pit orchestra for a short run of “Cabaret,” which means I saw her for a total of about 15 minutes over 10 days. I’d text her to see how things were going and to see if she made time for dinner before rehearsals. She assured me she did. “We stopped at Dunkin’s. I had a donut.” A donut. Packed into a car with a few other kids, their instruments and her bass. On the way to a gig at a theater. “So you haven’t slept much, you’re eating garbage and you’re constantly on the go.” “Right.” “Listen, I think you’ve become a musician.” Granted, there are countless hours of study ahead with years of woodshedding and learning, but she’s on her way. My job is to get out of the way. I’m watching her head down the road to her future, and at this point it seems like it’s going to be in a van with a few other kids, a bunch of instruments and a donut. All I have to do is step back and let her live it. Bill “Atomsmasher” Burke is a writer (face melting guitar solo goes here) who lives in southern New Hampshire with his wife and musician daughter. He is also managing editor of Custom Publications for McLean Communications.

www.parentingnh.com

| JANUARY 2020 31


never a dull moment I’M KATHLEEN, AND I’M A START-AHOLIC NEW BEGINNINGS ARE GREAT – I OUGHT TO KNOW BY KATHLEEN PALMER

Inspiring the next generation of writers!

Enter the NHPBS Writers Contest Today!

nhpbs.org/kidswrite All entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2020

32 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020

I’m writing this column before Thanksgiving because there is a lot of lead time involved in publishing a magazine. I suspect by the time you’re reading this, we will all already have fatigue at the overworking of “2020 hindsight” or “clarity of vision” or any other pedestrian analogies people will be trotting out, especially in an election year. I also reckon by the time you’re reading this, I will have gone through my standard New Year’s ruminations, regrets and resolutions overthinking-palooza. Being a solo parent adds to the list of things I beat myself up about. Whether I did something I shouldn’t have, or didn’t do something I should have, it’s ruefully amusing how the change between December and January somehow makes everything seem worse than if I was ruminating between July and August. Our Gregorian calendar obsession sets us up for regret. But it also feeds into my love affair with being a “start-aholic.” I am addicted to starting things. Whether it was preparing my tidy new Trapper Keeper with supplies for the new school year, or starting a diet on a Monday morning, or presenting myself as a completely new, calm, organized and capable person at a new job, there were always opportunities to enjoy my startaholism. And if any of those things synced up? Like a new month that starts on a Monday that I’m also starting a diet at a new job? Squeee! I have started so many writing projects, so many diets, so many personality improvement endeavors. I have started campaigns to be a better mom to my kid. The starting is not the problem — the follow-through and the finishing are where I stumble. The New Year is the mother of fresh starts for start-aholics — acknowledged ones or otherwise. We are all going to lose weight! And floss! And stop cursing! And we’re going to get that home improvement project done! And we’re going to go on date night with our spouse once a month! And we’re going to have a better relationship with our offspring! It’s all going to be wonderful! We might do all those things — for a while. But for me, the thrill is unfortunately always in the start; the promise, the hopefulness, the fervent need for change for the better, and the prayer that this time it’s going to happen. Maybe it will, someday. But every day is a new day, and every second a new opportunity. So keep starting, until you finish. Hey, look! I finished my column. Good thing I started in November. Happy New Year. Kathleen Palmer is an award-winning editor and journalist, marketing/ communications content writer, and occasional comedic actress. Nothing makes her happier than making people laugh. She is a single mom to a teenager, so naturally she enjoys a glass of wine, or two.


house calls COMFORTABLE IN YOUR SKIN HOW TO EMPOWER CHILDREN WITH ECZEMA AND PSORIASIS BY JILLIAN RORK, MD

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Children with chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis often face challenges related to treatment plans and quality of life. Successful management involves educating children about their conditions and encouraging active participation in their skin care. Treatment tips Many children with eczema and psoriasis require topical medications, and there are developmentally appropriate strategies to use when applying them. Infants and toddlers can play with a special, designated toy while a parent applies medication. Using pretend play can also be helpful. Some parents pretend that moisturizers and other topical medicines are “magical” and putting it on makes them healthy and strong. Preschool and early elementary students are often motivated by sticker charts to help follow their skin care. With adolescents and teens, we should focus on empowerment and personal responsibility. This age group benefits from having medications visible (not in a drawer), and anchoring regimens around showering—preferably in the evening, rather than during hectic mornings. Cell phone alarms may help your child remember to take their medication. Parents should ask their child’s dermatologist how to use the medications. If a topical medication hurts, parents should stop using it and contact their provider. One general tip is that ointments tend to not sting and sometimes can be more effective than lotions, gels and creams for children with open areas on their skin. Most topical medications require small amounts and should not be applied too thickly. Children and parents should also be aware that if topical medications are not effective, other options are available. Light therapy such as narrow-band UVB phototherapy and immunosuppressive medications by mouth, such as methotrexate or cyclosporine, can be helpful. There is now FDA approval for several biologic injection treatments for psoriasis (etanercept and ustekinumab) and eczema (dupilumab) in pediatric patients. These options can be further discussed with your child’s dermatologist. Informing peers Providers and parents can help children manage questions from their peers about their eczema and psoriasis. Practice with your child a response that includes that their condition is not contagious, that they are seeing a doctor and end with a closing remark like, “Thank you for asking.” Some children feel better talking openly about their skin condition and may even want to give a class presentation. Talk to your child’s dermatologist about resources for this. For more information, parents and children can benefit from the online resources from the National Eczema Association (www.nationaleczema. org) and National Psoriasis Foundation (www.psoriasis.org). Jillian Rork, MD, practices pediatric dermatology at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Manchester, and serves as an Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Department of Surgery, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Her areas of focus include pediatric eczema, psoriasis, hemangiomas, Down syndrome, and genetic skin diseases.

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Saturday, March 14, 2020 10 a.m.-1p.m. Want to send your child to summer camp but don’t know where to start? Swing by ParentingNH’s Summer Camp & Program Expo. Meet with representatives from overnight, day, arts, sports, and adventure camps.

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| JANUARY 2020 33


COMPILED BY MELANIE HITCHCOCK

PHOTO COURTESY OF DISNEY ON ICE

out & about

Disney on Ice: Celebrate Memories!

TASTE OF BEDFORD

9 THURSDAY — 12 SUNDAY

BEDFORD – Bedford High School, 47 Nashua Road. The Bedford High School DECA club invites you to attend the Taste of Bedford fundraiser. Taste of Bedford gives you the opportunity to sample a dozen Bedford restaurants. Also crafts for kids, raffles, and live music to enjoy. Family ticket deals available. All proceeds go to BHS DECA to offset competition costs. Tickets: $15. 6 to 8 p.m. www.tasteofbedford. org

MANCHESTER – SNHU Arena, Elm Street. Your favorite Disney stories come to life at Disney On Ice presents Celebrate Memories! Sail along with Moana on her high-seas adventure and dance with Woody, Buzz and all the Toy Story friends. Feel inspired when love wins in Frozen and dreams come true for the Disney princesses. Share the excitement and make new memories the whole family will treasure forever! Tickets start at $15. Show times: Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. www.ticketmaster.com

NEW ENGLAND REPTILE EXPO

FROZEN JR.

5 SUNDAY

MANCHESTER – Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St. Frozen Jr. brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life, onstage. A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen JR. expands upon the relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. Go to website for show times. Tickets: Adults, $15; children, $12. 6685588; www.palacetheatre.org

MANCHESTER – Doubletree Hotel Manchester Downtown, Elm Street. Thousands of reptiles on display and for sale as pets. Vendors will also be selling cages, supplies, frozen feeder rodents, feeder bugs, and many other reptile-related items at discounted prices. Admission: Adults, $10; age 7-12, $5; younger than 7 gets in free. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. www.reptileexpo.com

JAN .15-22

34 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020

7 TUESDAY

ROLLERCOASTER DANCE PARTY 11 SATURDAY PORTSMOUTH – 3S Artspace, 319 Vaughan St. Rollercoaster is a dance party for parents and their kids featuring music you listened to before the Moana soundtrack invaded your stereo. A full bar for parents; healthy snacks for the kids. Tickets: $10 for the first child; $5 each additional sibling; parents and children under 2 get in free. 2 to 4 p.m. 766-3330; www.3sarts.org

SKATING EXHIBITION 11 SATURDAY KEENE -- Keene ICE, 380 Marlboro St. Join Keene FSC for its

annual skating exhibition. Keene FSC club Members or Keene ICE Learn to Skate members with a private coach can participate free of charge. Tickets are $5 and are available day of show.7:30 p.m. www.keeneice. com

WINTER FAMILY FESTIVAL 17 FRIDAY MILFORD – Milford Recreation Dept., 1 Union Square. Celebrate the cold and snow at Milford’s Winter Festival. Planned events include ice skating, winter games, music and roasted marshmallows and hot cocoa. Free admission. 6 to 8 p.m. www. milford.nh.gov

WINTER BIRD WALK 18 SATURDAY AUBURN – NH Audubon Massabesic Center, 26 Audubon Way. Winter is a great time to get into birding. Easier visibility (no leaves!) and fewer species (those hardy souls that overwinter in New Hampshire) help ease you into the great sport of birdwatching. We’ll spend some


time inside discussing binoculars and a few keys to bird identification, then head outside to see who we can find. Add to your enjoyment of the visitors to your backyard feeder and participate in the Backyard Winter Bird Survey. Bring your binoculars and come dressed for the weather. Ages 10-plus. Cost: $12 members/$15 non-members. 10 to 11:30 a.m. www. nhaudubon.org

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF JR. 24 FRIDAY – 26 SUNDAY DERRY – Derry Opera House, 29 West Broadway. This special adaptation of the nine-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof Jr. presented

by Majestic Theatre follows Tevye the milkman as he tries to protect his daughters and his way of life from a changing world. Fiddler on the Roof Jr. tackles the universal theme of tradition in ways that reach across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion. Tickets: Adults: $15; seniors, $13; age 17 and younger: $12. Shows on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. 669.7469; www. derryoperahouse.com

FAMILY FUN DAY 25 SATURDAY CONCORD – NH Historical Society, 30 Park St. Bring the family for an afternoon of storytelling, hands-on activities and fun. Get creative with New Hampshire-themed crafts, test your knowledge of Granite State trivia, and explore how people lived in the past. Introduce your kids or grandkids to the special things that make

New Hampshire a wonderful place to live. Family Fun Day is geared to ages 6 to 10 years old, but all ages are welcome. Admission: $5 per family. 1-3 p.m. 228-6688; www.nhhistory.org

BOB GILMAN FUN RUN 26 SUNDAY MANCHESTER – McIntyre Ski Area, 50 Chalet Court. The 4th annual Bob Gilman Fun run is approaching. This ski/snowboard race is for all ages and abilities. Each run will be timed and awards will be given in over a dozen age categories and for each gender for first, second and third places. There will also be an outdoor tiki bar and raffles, money from which will be donated to local charities. Registration for the race is $20 and includes a full-day lift ticket. 10 a.m. www. bobgilmanfunrun.com

RAGTIME JAN. 31 TO FEB. 29 PORTSMOUTH – Seacoast Repertory Theatre, 125 Bow St. This sweeping musical portrait of early-twentieth-century America tells the story of three families in pursuit of the American dream as their lives intersect and they navigate social inequality and racism. A Tony Award-winner alive with history and great music. Tickets: $23-$45. Go to website for show times. www. seacoastrep.org

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit our website or call the Box Offce: (603) 886-7000

www.parentingnh.com

| JANUARY 2020 35


time out

The Ideas on Tap series meets around the state to examine timely topics in contemporary society. PHOTO COURTESY OF NH HUMANITIES

RESOLVE TO TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF THIS YEAR BY MELANIE HITCHCOCK

A

fter a whirlwind holiday season, it’s a good time to take a break and reflect on the year that has just ended and look ahead to the new year.

Whether you’ve resolved in 2020 to (finally) clean out that junk closet, work on your family tree, or learn more about current events, there are programs going on in the Granite State this month for adults that can help you accomplish your goal. Here are a few places you can go to improve yourself or give back while meeting new people and, yes, having a good time.

Learn more about the world

Learn more about yourself

NH Humanities’ Ideas on Tap is a bi-monthly series of pint-sized conversations about big ideas. Enjoy drinks, appetizers, and conversation in casual pub settings around the state while examining topics in contemporary society. On Monday, Jan. 13, the topic is, “Higher Education: The Great Equalizer?” Does higher education still have the power to fix social and economic inequality? The academic landscape in New Hampshire and the future of higher education will be discussed from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Area 23 in Concord. For tickets (RSVP by Jan. 8) or for more about upcoming events, go to www.nhhumanities.org/ideas. Science on Tap, a program of SEE Science Center in Manchester, is held the first Tuesday of the month at Stark Brewing Co. in Manchester. Events are informal discussions with local scientists and experts on a chosen topic. On Tuesday, Jan. 7, the topic is,“Advances in Cancer Treatment.” The events are free, and attendees can order from the food and beverage menus. Doors open at 5; panelists are introduced at 6 p.m. Follow “Science on Tap” on Facebook for more events or go to www. see-sciencecenter.org.

The New Hampshire Historical Society hosts several workshops on different topics throughout the year, including those related to genealogy. On Saturday, Jan. 18, from 1 to 4 p.m., the Society is holding the workshop: Tracing Female Ancestors. This workshop will help you reclaim their stories by providing resources and strategies for finding maiden names, discussing the road to naturalization for women in the 20th century, and uncovering material and written culture. Register through Eventbrite or call 228-6688. Go to www.nhhistory.org for upcoming events.

36 www.parentingnh.com | JANUARY 2020

Get organized Clearing the Clutter, a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Women’s Health Resource Center workshop, offers solutions to create a home inside yourself and inside your dwelling. Participants are invited to come with a project in mind and an intention to get the job done. The four-session workshop at DHMC Women’s Health Resource Center in Lebanon takes place on Fridays in January. For more information, go to Eventbrite or www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org.

Help the community (while having a fun night out) Don’t miss the 17th annual New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet’s Winter Wine Spectacular featuring 1,800 wines on Thursday, Jan. 23, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Manchester. Enjoy appetizers from the area’s best restaurants and chefs, and meet over 50 winemakers and vineyard owners. Also, there is a grand silent auction that features more than 100 items. Proceeds benefit Easterseals’ Early Supports & Services. The program helps children born with a disability, special need or developmental delay from birth to 3 years of age to get critical and timely services during their most important years of development. For more: www.easterseals.com/nhevents You can also head to LaBelle Winery in Amherst on Saturday, Jan. 11, for the 2nd annual Meal Matters Gala for an evening of community involvement with food and a silent auction with the focus on food insecurity in the Nashua School District. The goal is to raise funds for Meals Matter, a nonprofit created in 2018 by a group of students at Nashua High School South. For more information or tickets: www.labellewinery events.com.


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Selected as the Family Favorite Winner by ParentingNH Readers www.parentingnh.com

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COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE, CONVENIENTLY CLOSE. As southern New Hampshire’s only comprehensive primary and specialty group practice, Dartmouth-Hitchcock provides complete health services for you and your family, right in your backyard. We offer compassionate care that’s also convenient, with extended hours, urgent walk-in appointments and specialty services from allergies to x-rays. And with access to the #1 Hospital in New Hampshire, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, you never have to go far for outstanding care. To find a primary or specialty care provider, visit go.d-h.org/findadoc.

Southern New Hampshire locations: Bedford, Concord, Hudson, Manchester, Merrimack, Milford and Nashua 4 www.parentingnh.com | DECEMBER 2020