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Up North


l a i c e Sp g n i t n e par s s e n e r awa ! e u s s i Topics include: • Parent leadership strategies • Emotional skills • Dealing with parental stress • Healthy living habits

WANTED Come see what makes Charlevoix Elementary School


We welcome children who will be 5 on or before December 1, 2012

Kindergarten Registration Thursday, April 19th and Friday, April 20 13513 Division St., Charlevoix Call 231.547.3215 to schedule your appointment.

We’re the school that has a small family atmosphere with big potential for your child. Stop in to see how together we can help your child succees.

Charlevoix Elementary: Where Success Begins!

Doesn’t every child deserve all their shots? By age two, your child should have:


ne of every four children in the U.S. is not fully immunized against serious communicable diseases like diphtheria, polio, and meningitis. Call your children’s health care provider or the Health Department to check if their immunizations are up-to-date and to schedule an appointment.

(3) Hep B (1) Varicella (4) Pneumococcal (2) Influenza (3) Rotavirus

(4) DTaP (4) Hib (3) Polio (1) MMR (2) Hep A

For the Great Start Parent Coalition Join parents, grandparents and caregivers who believe that every child should get all that he or she needs for a successful start in life. Join and help build public support and goodwill for early childhood, host advocacy and education activities at the local, state and federal levels, gain professional development, lend your voice and make a difference while being a champion for children’s issues. Open to any parent, grandparent or caregiver with children birth to 12.

231.582.8070 k /

Medicaid and private insurance policies accepted; No one age 18 or younger will be turned away for inability to pay for required immunizations.

Protect the lives of the little ones you love.

800-432-4121 2 YOUR LIFE UP NORTH





fe atur

On the cover: Ciara Leaman, daughter of Brandy Coveyou of Boyne City, is a fortunate recipient of a preschool scholarship and attended Boyne City Preschool.

6 Family Voice Child Abuse Council & Great Start Parent Coalition 9 Building blocks Development of social-emotional skills

11 From out of the Mouths of Babes

12 Picture this... Parenting Scrapbook 14 The sooner you start... The importance of focus on early education 16 Investing in the future Funding preschool scholarships

17 Michigan Sandbox Party 18 Keeping your good humor 19 Family support 20 Brain Gym How movement promotes better learning




Up North


© Up North Families, all rights reserved, 2012. Reproduction in any form, in whole or in part, without express written permission, is prohibited. The views expressed herein, whether expressed as fact, fiction, opinion, advice or otherwise, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of this magazine. The publication of any advertisement does not reflect any endorsement for any products or services by the ownership or management of this magazine unless it is specifically stated in such advertisement that there is approval for such endorsement.

Up North Families is published quarterly by Northern Michigan Review, Inc. Up North Families Magazine 319 State St., Petoskey, Mich. 49770

GREAT START DIRECTOR’S NOTE WHO WE ARE: ˜ e Great Start Collaborative of Charlevoix, Emmet and northern Antrim counties is made up of community leaders and organizations from each county that have a vested interMaureen H ollocker est in Early Childhood. We are representatives from business, health, education, human services, higher education, nonprofit, court systems, philanthropy and parents who are implementing a plan to address the needs of young children within our northern Michigan communities. WHAT WE DO: Our goal is to promote a safe and healthy learning environment for children and families in our community. ˜ e mission of our collaborative is to identify local needs, and implement research based strategies to assure a coordinated system of community resources and support for young children and their families. Since we began in 2006, we have been successful in creating a Great Start Parent Coalition that has increased parenting support through workshops, trainings, meetings and community advocacy. Our parent events are designed to appeal to and serve the needs of families, as well as provide opportunity for parent leadership and community development. For example, in October the Great Start Parent Coalition holds a Halloween costume exchange that brings families together for a free event of activities, provides those in need a costume for the holiday and encourages our community to “reduce, reuse, recycle.” ˜ e Great Start Collaborative has also created a fund development plan that seeks monies from philanthropic organizations and individual donors to solve issues within our own community in particular that address needs that have been cut at the federal and state levels. In 2011, the Great Start Fund Development provided preschool tuition scholarships to 18 three-year-old children in families that fell 200 percent below the poverty line. Due to free preschool program capacity, these children would miss out on the preschool experience without these tuition scholarships. WHERE WE ARE: ˜ e Great Start Collaborative services children and families in Charlevoix, Emmet and northern Antrim counties. ˜ e Great Start Collaborative hosts meetings from 9-11 a.m. bi-monthly on the third Tuesday in Boyne City. ˜ e next scheduled meeting will take place Tuesday, February 21. ˜ ose interested in attending are asked to call, (231) 582-8070 or e-mail ˜ e Great Start Parent Coalition hosts parent networking nights, symposiums and trainings frequently throughout all of the counties. For details, check out the Parent Coalition Facebook page at WHY IT MATTERS: Whether you are a parent, caregiver, educator, business owner, community planner, or simply a tax paying citizen, investing in early childhood will affect you now and can have a huge impact on the future of your community. It is a simple equation for a long term workforce and economic solution; early childhood investment equals a stronger, better educated workforce, and a socially and economically vibrant community. Join forces with the Great Start Collaborative of Charlevoix, Emmet and Northern Antrim Counties, to change the lives of our children and families now, and build a bright economic future for Northern Michigan. Maureen Hollocker is Director of the Great Start Collaborative of Charlevoix, Emmet and Northern Antrim counties. For more information, visit, call (231) 582-8070 or email


Kindergarten Round Up

THURSDAY 4:00 - 7:00 April 12, 2012

115 W. Hurlbut, Charlevoix, MI 49720 231-547-9000

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Child Abuse Council supports children’s health By Maggie Kromm, Executive Director of the Child Abuse Council serving Charlevoix and Emmet Counties and a Great Start Collaborative Member


hat if my child is a picky eater? What is the right age to join a team sport? Is my child’s weight normal? These and other questions regarding children’s health are common for many parents. Parents want the best for their children, but how do we know what is best, especially when it comes to knowing what is healthy? Children grow rapidly and at different rates. To continue to grow they need to gain weight and might even outgrow their clothes seemingly overnight at times! One tool pediatricians use to determine whether your child’s weight is healthy is tracking their body mass index or BMI. One BMI score does not complete a child’s health profile. As children grow their body fat changes (remember those toddler chubby cheeks?), which affects their BMI percentile. It is important to track BMI over time with a health professional. Healthy living involves many facets: nutrition, fitness, sports and emotional wellness. The Child Abuse Council serving Charlevoix and Emmet counties’ annual spring conference is focusing on children’s health as it relates to nutrition and physical activity. Co-sponsored by Char-Em ISD, the conference, “Active Child, Healthy Eating: What is Your Role?” will take place from 8:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday, April 20, at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey. We believe everyone has a role in supporting children’s health – 6 YOUR LIFE UP NORTH

“How can we ensure that every child has an equal opportunity for healthy growth and development?” This is referred to as “The Big Question” on Prevent Child Abuse America’s sponsored website, The Movement is a grass roots initiative to develop a comprehensive national strategy to ensure all of our children are given an opportunity to develop: – socially, emotionally and cognitively Maggie Kromm

schools, communities, businesses, media, faith institutions and, of course, parents. Everyone is welcome to attend this educational conference, open to the public. The keynote speaker, Dr. Tom Peterson, FAAP, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Spectrum Health, will introduce FitKids360: a healthy lifestyle program developed to teach families healthy behaviors. In addition to Dr. Peterson, the conference will offer break-out sessions this year during which participants can learn about a variety of health topics including reading nutrition labels, diabetes in youth, and adolescent body image counseling. The goal is to help children and their families live longer, healthier lives. Attendees can download a registration form at

– in healthy, nurturing homes, schools, neighborhoods and communities.

Fun online resources

(hosted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, free growth chart available) public/heart/obesity/wecan/ (We Can! Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition)

(Fun cooking magazine for families; recipes for meals and snacks, games/activities beyond how to cook but how and why to eat healthfully)

2012 Annual Chi ld Abuse Counci l Spring Conference

“Active Child, Healthy Eating: What is Your Role?” Every child deserves an equal opportunity for healthy growth and development. The Child Abuse Council annual spring conference is focusing on children’s health as it relates to nutrition and physical activity. Date/Time

Friday, April 20, 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (lunch provided)


North Central Michigan College, Petoskey


Community Leaders, Teachers, Health Care and Social Service Professionals, Parents, Caregivers, and anyone working with children and families


Participants will choose 2 break-out sessions on topics such as: Physical Education Everywhere, Decoding Food Labels, Adolescent Eating Disorders, Diabetes in Youth, and Fuel Up to Play 60 (detailed descriptions are available online on the registration form). Attendees will:  Learn about community resources  Have an opportunity to earn Social Work CEUs, Educator SB-CEUs, and Nursing CEUs pending approval.


There is no fee for school personnel, foster parents, or teen parents. $45 for all other registrants. Scholarships offering 50% reduced registration rate are available by request by emailing Make checks payable to the Child Abuse Council. Save $10 if you register by March 15.


Deadline is April 12. All attendees please download a registration form at . Completed registration forms and payments should be mailed to: Child Abuse Council, P.O. Box 414, Petoskey, MI, 49770.


The Child Abuse Council serving Charlevoix and Emmet Counties, Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District, Northern Michigan Regional Hospital, St. John’s Episcopal Church of Harbor Springs, Char-Em Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition, Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation

Dr. Tom Peterson Keynote address by Tom Peterson, MD, FAAP, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Dr. Peterson is the Executive Director for patient safety, quality improvement and community health. He has led the development of the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Healthy Weight Center which opened in April of 2010. Dr. Peterson has also led the development of the FitKids360 program in West Michigan.

Child Abuse Council Serving Charlevoix and Emmet Counties

Fo r m o re i n fo r m a t i o n v i s i t w w w. Up N o r t h C h i l d A b u s e C o u n c i l . o r g Up North FAMILIES




Parent Leadership: What does it take? By Mandy Peterson, Great Start Parent Coalition Liaison


arent leadership is a key component to the future of Michigan. Why you ask? ˜ e answer is simple: it involves the children that one day will be our leaders. Parent leadership is not just one parent who is “gung-ho” about parenting. Don’t get me wrong these parents are great and they help keep the momentum going. However, parent leadership occurs when parents or primary caregivers have access to knowledge. ˜ is knowledge combined with skills, resources and e« ective partnerships is a formula for success. Parent leadership is successful when parents and professionals build partnerships. With these partnerships come shared responsibilities, expertise from all and the e« ectiveness to move forward. Moving forward allows for change, consideration of new policies and makes a positive di« erence in the lives of children and families.

So who are parent leaders? Mandy Peterson

* Parents, grandparents, foster parents or anyone in a parenting role * Someone that can speak on behalf of parents – bring the parent perspective to the table * Someone with experience in using resources to support a family unit * Parents willing to bring an open mind and be team players

With these traits there are several ways parents can take an active leadership role. Some examples of these roles are: 8 YOUR LIFE UP NORTH

* Be a mentor for another parent * Be involved in planning meetings * Participate in focus groups * Gather other parents together to identify needs in your community * Get involved in your child’s school through the board or improvement team

˜ e traits and examples listed are a few ways to become active in a par-

ent leadership role. Do you consider yourself a leader? Have you taken the opportunity to speak out and become a part of the solution to make Northern Michigan a great place to raise a family? Join the Great Start Parent Coalition! To learn more about how to get involved, contact Mandy Peterson, your local Great Start Parent Coalition Liaison, at (231) 582-8070.

Helping your young child develop social-emotional skills By Natalie Kasiborski, Community Health Coordinator, Health Department of Northwest Michigan and Great Start Collaborative Member


o you know what kindergarten teachers say are essential skills for their incoming students? If you answered knowing the alphabet or counting to 20, you’d be wrong! In a recent USA Today poll, teachers said social-emotional skills are key to school readiness. “Social-emotional skills, such as paying attention, not being disruptive, following directions and getting along with others are just as important to your child’s academic success as reading and writing,” said Natalie Kasiborski, who coordinates the Health Department of Northwest Michigan’s Early Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative in Charlevoix, Emmet and northern Antrim counties. “Children start learning these skills from the time they are newborns. And by the time they’re schoolage, kids should have mastered a wide range of social-emotional skills.” Kasiborski continues, “Social-emotional health includes forming close relationships with other people, especially with parents and other familiar caregivers; expressing and managing emotions; and feeling safe to explore new environments. ˜ ese skills come easier to some children than others.” “Many parents think that kids just naturally know how to get along with others and manage their emotions,” added Nicole Lindwall, supervisor of clinical and children’s programs at the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan. “Not true. ˜ e good news is that many of the things parents do every day with their children can help them learn social-emotional skills, such as holding them gently, responding to attempts to communicate and guiding them through social situations.” Help is available for parents who are concerned about their child’s social and

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation suggests some signs of social emotional health that you can look for in your own infant, toddler, or preschooler.

Natalie Kasiborski

emotional development. ˜ e Health Department of Northwest Michigan o« ers a free, Peer Parent Support Partner to parents of children 0-5. Parents can enroll by calling the health department at 1-800-432-4121. In addition, the Women’s Resource Center o« ers play groups free of charge at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays at Christ Lutheran Church in Boyne City, at 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays at Jordan Valley District Library in East Jordan, at 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays at United Methodist Church in Alanson, and at 9:30 a.m. on Fridays at United Methodist Church in Petoskey. ˜ e Early Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative is supported with grants from the Frey Foundation, Charlevoix County Community Foundation, Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation and the Char-Em United Way. For more information about the Early Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative, call Kasiborski at (231) 3475144.

YOUNG INFANTS (BIRTH TO 12 MONTHS): • Cry, coo and smile • Look at faces • Accept comfort from a familiar adult • Seek comfort • Show excitement • Show curiosity about other people OLDER INFANTS (12-18 MONTHS): • Explore with enthusiasm • Are curious about other people • Laugh out loud • Enjoy books, songs and simple games • Express many feelings (sad, happy, scared, angry, etc.) TODDLERS (18 MONTHS TO 3 YEARS): • Show shyness in unfamiliar places • Smile and laugh • Begin to show feelings for others • Are playful with others • Begin protesting and saying “No” • Express many feelings (sad, happy, scared, angry, etc.) • May use a blanket or toy for comfort when upset PRESCHOOLERS (3-5 YEARS): • Enjoy books and simple games • Express many feelings (sad, happy, scared, angry, etc.) • Listen to gentle reminders • Accept changes in routines • Try new things • Show curiosity about people and things • Make up imaginary games and may enjoy imaginary play with others • Ask many questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why?




or 87 years, Camp Daggett has provided meaningful and memorable outdoor and camping experiences for the young and young at heart. Camp Daggett offers:  ����������������������������������������������������������  ���������������������������������������  Facilities rental for groups and families Upcoming events:  ���������������������������������������������������������

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Emmet County Fairgrounds - featuring Orpheum Bell For more information, call 231-347-9742 or visit

“The Other Fellow FIRST ”

Established 1925

03001 Church Rd � Petoskey, MI 49770 � (231) 347-9742 �

Northern Michigan

A Northern Michigan network created for moms, by moms sharing information to better understand our families and ourselves. 10 YOUR LIFE UP NORTH


BABES Little boy sees farm fresh eggs and says,

“You have a check so you can buy ANYTHING you want!”

“Mom they have chocolate eggs here!”

Little girl smells foul odor and replies,


Mom replies, “It‛s yuck.” To which the little girl responds, “No mom, it‛s peeyuck stands for peeewww and yuck.”

Little girl sees mom throwing away old bananas, and says,

Mom quietly enjoying coffee, reading a magazine when her 3-year-old son, wakes up and comes into the living room and says,

“Momma, you need to calm down!”

After explaining to her 5-year-old daughter that a particular part of a board game had no rules, she said, “No. You cannot have fun without rules.”

“You know mom, that’s gonna come outta your check.”

Little girl combines “Thank you” and “You’re welcome”

into “Thank-em!”

Mom warns her daughter who spent the day as a super consumer: “If you keep eating like that you’re gonna get fat like me!” Daughter looks at her with one of the cutest faces ever, and says,

“But momma, I like you fat.”

Mom told her 5-year-old son he’s too little for something. He turns and replies,

“Mom with a step stool I am not little.”





Parenting Kylie Sc h ing at th oll rolls a split d u e Petoske y. Gre at Star t Ha ring a round of sq lloween costume uash bowle x ch a n g e in

Families exchange costumes at the Gre at Start Halloween costume exchange in Petoske y.

William “Bubba” Shively smile s big during an Emmet County Early He ad Start socialization event.

Lydia Eaton and teacher Renee Gibbs enjoy playing with blocks at the Boyne City Preschool.

Elissa M a Start soc y Shivle y works o ializ atio n playg ro n a project with he r up in Em met Cou dad while enjoy nty. ing the E arl 12 YOUR LIFE UP NORTH

y He ad

joyin milie s en Local fa networking n Coalitio

tts, Beth Wa rt Gre at Sta alition o Parent C elps h member, erson et P er n n a T al life make a re t the a y m mu m rt HalGre at Sta ume st co loween . e xchange

Membe r Antrim s of the Great S ta counties join othe rt Collaborativ ea r collabo ratives to nd Parent Coa litio advocate for famil n from Charlev ies in a p o arade at ix, Emmet and no the capit al in La rthern nsing.

Warren K dy Kloss eller and his m , o Michiga a nurse with the m, Trista Spark n. He alth D s, epar tme meet with Cinnt of No r thwe st

ight of n an d a n r e n in d ng it y. B oy ne C g night in

Marcus Watkins, 12, Abby Smith, 6, Raeanna Watkins, 10 and Caiden Watkins, 6, having a ball baking cookies at grandma’s.

Vincen t mom, L and his o Alonzi, relei e shish- k at fruit a a t C r e a - b ob s ti Kids D ve a e vent sp y, an o by Early nsored O n.

arent t Start P the Gre a t a g in etwork



High quality early education and care

By Marcia Campbell, Char-Em Intermediate School District Early Childhood Education Program Manager and Great Start Collaborative Member; and Susan Chowen, Child Care Specialist, Child Care Connections and Great Start Collaborative Member


hat comes to mind when you think about early childhood education? Most people would say “preschool,” referring to a year of education prior to the child entering kindergarten. In fact, early childhood education begins at birth and consists of activities and experiences

Marcia Campbell

Susan Chowen


˜ e Great Start Parent Roundup and Child Care/ Preschool Fair will take place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, March 3, inside the Community Center at the Emmet County Fairgrounds, Petoskey that affect all areas of development. The first years of life are a period of incredible growth. A child’s brain grows to about 80 percent of adult size by three years of age and 90 percent by age five. Dr. Harry Chugani, Chief of Pediatric Neurology and Developmental Pediatrics, states, “You may be confident that you can outsmart your three-year-old, but when it comes to brainpower, he’s probably got you beat! The metabolic energy consumed by a child’s brain is 225 percent that of an adult. Does that mean your child is far more intelligent? Probably not – but it does indicate that he’s thinking and processing information at a much greater rate. And at this tender young age, he holds an incredible strength – his immense capacity for learning.”

These early years of a child’s life lay the foundation for future learning and success, and outcomes from early childhood programs depend on the quality of these early experiences. “It is important not to underestimate the value of the everyday interactions that occur with your child. Simple activities such as going for a walk, looking at a book, or talking about the day’s events can build important social emotional connections, motor skills, and vocabulary that are all linked to later school success,” said Jill Haan, Char-Em Intermediate School District Early Childhood Education Coordinator. High quality care is about more than just providing children with a safe and clean environment outside of their home. It means they are engaged in meaningful learning experiences and play in an enriched setting. Decisions about a child’s learning are based on three types of information: child development and how children learn; the individual strengths, needs and interests of each child; and each child’s family and cultural values. High quality environments also include nutritious meals and opportunities for physical activity, positive adult/child interactions, and a supportive partnership with parents. When choosing a setting you will want to assess how well it satisfies your needs and preferences. It is important to consider the characteristics of your child, the responsiveness of the provider, the learning environment and which combination of these offers the best experience for your child. Specialists in early childhood education recommend visiting many settings before making a decision.

For a list of licensed child care and early education programs in your area, visit

For families with children ages 3-4, tuition-free preschool recruitment will take place in the following communities: — March 8 Central Lake — March 12 and 13 Petoskey — March 15 and 16 Charlevoix — March 22 and 23 East Jordan — March 27 Pellston — April 12 and 13 Boyne City — April 19 Alanson

To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-443-5518


4737 Fuller Rd., East Jordan (231) 536-3369

Hands-on Science

History & Art

Emmet County’s Premier Indoor Riding Arena Instructors

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220 W. Clinton St. 231-237-7350 • Activity Center with age appropriate games and crafts • Story Time every Thursday @ 10:30 a.m. • Pre-school educational computers • Puzzles, Books, Story Tree, and Fun!

Offering Educational Testing and One-on-one Reading & Writing Instruction for all ages Financial Assistance Available Northern Michigan Center (231) 526-9282 681 E. Lake St., Harbor Springs




Grow up Great funds preschool scholarships By Aebra Coe

ean Welsh, West Michigan Re- supports families, educators and gional President of PNC Finan- community partners to provide opcial Services, said his company portunities that enhance learning looked into how they could have the and development in a child’s early biggest positive impact possible as an years. organization on communities. The company’s website elaborates, They discovered that early child- “We believe an investment in our hood de- children, the workforce of tomorrow, velopment makes economic sense today.” and educaSince the inception of tion would Grow Up Great, more be a good than 1,000,000 at-risk choice. preschool children have “Grow been served through Up Great grants and programs is a com- emphasizing math, scimitment ence, the arts and finanwe took on cial education. about 10 Welsh says that alyears ago though PNC is an interSean Welsh on the direc- national company, the tion of our employees,” he said. “For program acts locally. every dollar put in to early childhood The bank has a foundadevelopment, you can save as much tion set aside for Grow as $16 over the life of the child.” Up Great and approves The company has committed $250 grants to local organizamillion over 10 years to the cause. tions which impact the lives “The program has really become a of young children. part of our DNA,” he noted. “We ask them what goals PNC Grow Up Great is a bilingual they plan on achieving and program designed to help prepare how they will have an imchildren from birth to age 5 for suc- pact on their community,” cess in school and life. The program he explained.

Free Community

Alanson • Boyne City • East Jordan • Petoskey


Children 0-60 months and preschool age siblings Fun activities • Projects • Games Lending library and networking for parents

Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan

Details at, or call 231-347-0067 16 YOUR LIFE UP NORTH

The foundation recently approved a grant to Char-Em Great Start Collaborative for scholarships to allow underprivileged 3 year olds in Charlevoix and Emmet counties to attend pre-school. “We’re very impact-focused. We try to ensure the funds directly benefit communities,” said Welsh.

Abundant Life Counseling • Do you find yourself wishing your relationships could be better? • Do you and your partner fight the same fights over and over without resolution? • Do you have issues with your children?

Please come talk with me. I have been married for over 42 years, have grown children and have been assisting families for over 35 years. I believe I can help you make your life better!

Call me now at 231.881.7335 C for fo or a confidential consultation 704 Petoskey St. Petoskey, MI

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Early childhood education advocates unite in the ‘Sandbox’


he Michigan Sandbox Party is a nonpartisan movement for Michigan residents who recognize the need to make sure infants, toddlers and other children are healthy, strong and ready to go when they arrive at the kindergarten door, according to the group’s website. Sarah Triplett is the manager of the Michigan Sandbox Party. She has been involved with the group since its creation early last year. “People were talking about the economy, jobs and other topics, but we wondered where the conversation was about early childhood issues,” she said. ˜ e group believes that school-ready children play a crucial role in Michigan’s economic revival. ˜ ey cite the statistic that 35 percent of kindergartners today in Michigan are unprepared for the rigors of school. “˜ e cost to them, to Michigan and to society is enormous,” the group’s site states. “Unready children are less likely to thrive and also more likely to end up on welfare or in prison instead of becoming contributing, taxpaying adults.” Triplett said the party formed because although there were already many great early childhood groups across the state, there was a need for an organization to join them together. ˜ ey hope their group will make that happen and build strength in numbers. ˜ ey are based in Lansing, but work with local organizations across the state. Triplett noted they currently work in Northern Michigan with Great Start in Northwest Michigan and the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce. She said the function of the group is not to lobby for political candidates, but to get important information to people about early childhood welfare, to build numbers of those who are concerned and connecting citizens with their legislators. ˜ e group also provides tools and information for local groups like the

By Aebra Coe

Robin Hornkohl, Maria Gonzales and Sarah Triplett join forces under the Michigan Sandbox Party, a nonpartisan movement for Michigan residents who recognize the need to make sure infants, toddlers and other children are healthy, strong and ready to go when they start school. (Courtesy photo)

Great Start Collaborative. “We want more kids from every community to graduate high school, go to college and bring money back in to those communities,” she said. Mandy Peterson, Parent Coalition Liaison for Great Start of Emmet, Charlevoix and northern Antrim counties, said her group works closely with the sandbox party. ˜ eir group is one of 66 parent coalitions in the state which helps parents advocate legislatively for education and reduce barriers to lawmakers. “My job is to get the voice of parents together and speak on their behalf.” Peterson said. ˜ e group also provides information to send an email to your legislator, senator and the governor, send a “letter to the editor” email to your local media and newspapers, and get more information on early childhood issues, bills and legislation. “We’re a local contact for legislators so they can be our voice when they go back to Lansing,” said Peterson.

˜ ose interested can also track bills pertinent to early childhood education on the Michigan Sandbox Party website as they proceed through the legislature. One issue which is important now, according to Triplett, is that Michigan was denied Race to the Top grant money and now must fund various early childhood educational programs without the federal money. “We’d still like to see the things in the early learning challenge grant come to fruition,” she said. “I know Michigan is the best place in the world to live,” explained Triplett, “I don’t have kids now, but I’d like to have them. And I want to help make this state the best possible place to raise a family.” If anyone is interested in becoming involved with early childhood issues, they can visit the Michigan Sandbox Party website at www.michigansandboxparty. org, or find them on Facebook and Twitter. ˜ ose interested can also contact Great Start of Charlevoix, Emmet and northern Antrim counties at Up North FAMILIES


Send in the clowns!

Why humor is important in parenting


am Gregory has been teaching for 25 years and has two teenagers of her own. She says it can be challenging at times making it through the day with her sanity intact. But, she says, humor is her secret weapon. Gregory has taught preschool, kindergarten, secondgrade and middle school. She participated in an in-home preschool program working directly with Pam Gregory parents on early childhood education and is currently teaching sixth through eighth grades at Boyne Falls Public Schools. Her own sons are 14 and 18 years old. “You could hurt yourself if you take things too seriously with teenagers,” she said. “I really love teaching middle school, but you have to have a sense of humor.”

Laugh at yourself She said parents can become confused during seventh-grade when their kids begin to change drastically and go through puberty, on their way to adulthood. “˜ e kids themselves don’t even know what’s going on,” she said, “But, they just need support and care.” Gregory said that if you want kids to pay attention and learn during this confusing time, it’s important to connect with them. One way to do that is by using humor with them.


Aebra Coe

“Kids have to laugh. It’s a good way to connect with them,” she explained. She went on to say it is especially important to be able to laugh at yourself

“Sometimes you just have to giggle about the things you can’t change,”

— Pam Gregory, educator

use humor. “˜ ere are certain things that should be o« limits,” she warns. She suggested not teasing the way a person looks or their intelligence and to not use cruel words. She said kids often learn by example, so if you show by example, they will be able to understand the di« erence. ˜ e long-time teacher said she addresses the issue immediately if she notices her students picking on someone or bullying them. “Often kids will go back and forth at one another. I try to stop it before it even gets to that,” she said. She said she tells kids that when they’re being picked on, often the best thing to do is just walk away. She tells them to not be defensive or react negatively because that is the exact response on which a bully thrives. Or, she says, better yet, come back with a joke, “It doesn’t make it hurt any less, but can actually deter the bully.”

as a parent or caregiver. She reflected on the time she learned to snowboard Overcoming adversity Gregory was diagnosed with Parduring the Boyne Falls schools weekly outdoor recreation day, “I fell down kinson’s several years ago. She said she so many times I got bruises in colors I looks at life di« erently now. She explained that struggling with illness has didn’t know my body could turn.” But, she said, she joked about it with given her additional perspective in life, her students the next day. She stressed “You have to laugh and have fun because the importance of not taking little feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t make things too seriously. you feel any better.” Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease But, “Both parties have to understand the joke,” she said. “˜ ere is a big which is unusual in women as young as di« erence between hurtful joking and Gregory. “I had a hard time dealing with it good natured humor.” when I first found out, but I’ve learned Set parameters to enjoy life more now and not feel sorGregory said it is important to pro- ry for myself,” she said. “Sometimes you vide guidelines for kids in order to set just have to giggle about the things you parameters for the ways in which they can’t change.”

Family support Shirley Gillespie, Community Resource Coordinator, Charlevoix-Emmet-Antrim Department


of Human Services and Great Start Collaborative Member

arenting is hard enough but when you add stressors such as possible job loss, underemployment, mental fatigue, mental health issues, day care issues, and lack of a positive personal support system, it can be overwhelming. ˜ ese stressors a« ect everyone in the family from the oldest to the youngest. If these stressors are not addressed or resolutions found they can lead to a variety of physical and/or emotional issues especially for the children who have no control or way of helping their families through these tough situations. ˜ e emotional health of every member of the family is very important in order to provide families with the nurturing, safety and overall healthy development each member needs, especially the very young. If an infant or small child is being cared for by a depressed

Shirley Gillespie

and stressed caregiver, then the child themselves can become depressed and stressed which leads to a chain e« ect of

unhappy events. We are fortunate to live in a very resourceful and caring community. ˜ ere are many services and resources available for these young children and their families in Charlevoix and Emmet counties. ˜ e many types of supports and resources that are available to families through various agencies include help with cash assistance, food benefits and pantry assistance, medical assistance and immunizations, WIC, utility assistance, emergency assistance for a variety of needs, housing assistance, tax assistance, foreclosure guidance, day care assistance as well as locating appropriate day care, school issues, mental health services or domestic violence. ˜ ese supports can boost many families in need during severe economic times and stressful situations.

Resource guide: Michigan Department of Human Services 1-800-580-9844 Charlevoix-Emmet Department of Human Services local number (231) 348-1600 Services available include: Cash assistance, food benefits, Medicaid, state emergency relief, day care. On-line applications for all services at

Project Connect: A day of free service to individuals and families Date: March 21 • 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Time: To be determined Place: Emmet County Fairgrounds Free transportation available



‘Brain Gym’

Five easy ideas to get your kids moving By Aebra Coe


arcy Lewis has been a teacher for 20 years and swears by a movement-based educational aid called, Brain Gym. “(It) is a way to get the brain integrated in a fashion which promotes learning,” Lewis said. Lewis taught special education in Gaylord for two Darcy Lewis decades. Now retired from the school system, she has started her own business called Connected Learning, LLC. Lewis teaches classes in Brain Gym and Touch for Health and gives speeches on the science of learning. She said the form of learning where the physical is incorporated

“In an environment where people care about one another, learning becomes easier,” — Darcy Lewis

into the mental, is called educational kinesiology. Brain Gym, one form of educational kinesiology is comprised of a series of movements which integrate whole brain learning. “All parts of the brain working to20 YOUR LIFE UP NORTH

gether — left, right, front and back,” Lewis said. She added one thing she’s noticed about the practice is that it promotes a sense of community among the children, in both general and special education. “In an environment where people care about one another, learning becomes easier,” noted Lewis. She taught kindergarten through third-grade for several years. “Many kindergartners come in without good language ability,” she said and added that in using Brain Gym, she’s seen improvements in language and coordination. “When those things improve, learning comes easier.” Lewis said this limited ability and delayed development could be due to children being physically confined and unable to move in ways they have for most of history. For instance, when a baby is held or in a car seat or jumper for long hours, it is unable to develop the same coordination they would by crawling on the floor, according to Lewis. With less physical motion and learning, the same synapses don’t fire and children as a result become under-stimulated and neurologically underdeveloped. Brain Gym developed as an extension of Touch for Health in the 1970s. “Paul Dennison was a teacher in Southern California who had kids with dyslexia,” she explained. “He used Touch for Health and had great results, then began adding movements to enhance the results.” In the early 1970s, Lewis was a dental hygienist and Touch for Health instructor. She attended a conference in San Diego, Calif. and attended a one-on-one session with

Dennison. She decided to buy his book which outlined basic Brain Gym exercises. She said she tried them out on the airplane ride back to Michigan and noticed her reading was smoother and it was easier for her to concentrate. She said she was inspired and decided to go back to school to get her master’s degree in education. Lewis encourages parents to try the simple exercises with their children.

Courtesy photo


Dental Clinics North



Cross crawl, or cross crawl sit-ups — There are several variations of this exercise, and one can sit, lie, or stand to do these variations. Reach behind the body to touch the opposite foot. Crawl across the floor in slow motion. Raise one hand and the opposite knee at the same time, alternating hands and knees. Do sit ups and touch the elbow to the opposite knee. Touch one hand to the opposite knee, raising the leg, or touch the foot, raising the leg.

General dentistry for the entire family. Catering to patients with Medicaid, Delta Healthy Kids, Northern Dental Plan Low Income/Uninsured

New patients are being accepted in: Cheboygan 825 S. Huron St. 866-878-6550 East Jordan 601 Bridge St. 866-878-6551 Petoskey/Harbor Springs 3434 M-119 866-878-6556

For appointment call 877-321-7070

Rocker — This exercise should be done on a padded surface and the hands and forearms may be used for support. While seated on the floor, the child should rock back and forth, releasing tension first in one hip and then the other. Lazy 8’s — The child should align his body with a point at eye level, and then draw a lazy 8 (a numeral 8 lying on its side), the larger the better. Chalkboards or marker boards work great for this. Then the child follows the 8, three times with one hand, three times with the other, and then both together. This can also be done on paper, at a desk, and smaller, although it is better to begin with the larger pattern. Double doodles — The Double Doodle is similar to the Lazy 8’s. This exercise involves the child using both hands and making “doodling marks,” or a free-form scribble. The child could use two pieces of chalk, one in each hand, or pencils or scarves, or just “air doodle.” And expansion is even doodling with the feet. Thinking caps — The child gently pulls ears backwards and unrolls them with fingers. They start from the top of the ear, massage them delicately and end on the lobe.


COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH North Country Community Mental Health provides comprehensive services for individuals and their families experiencing serious mental illness, emotional problems or developmental disabilities. To access services, call: Access Center: 1-800-834-3393 TTY: 711 After Hours Crisis Line: 1-800-442-7315

OFFICE LOCATIONS: Bellaire - 203 E. Cayuga Street Charlevoix - 6250 M-66 North Cheboygan - 825 S. Huron, Suite 4 Gaylord - 800 Livingston Blvd. Kalkaska - 625 Courthouse Drive Petoskey - 1420 Plaza Drive



Children’s Therapy, Family Help Thalia Ferenc, LMSW, DCSW

Zion Lutheran Preschool Open House

A Grandmother with Credentials offering warm, knowledgeable guidance and support

OPEN HOUSE March 1st at 6pm

Please join us on Parent Education night for a glimpse into what a child age 2 months through 6th grade experiences as they journey through the different levels of a Montessori Education. We look forward to seeing you there. •IC/Nido - 2 months to 3 years •Primary - Ages 3-6 •Elementary- K-6, a part of the Public Schools of Petoskey •Educating children for over 35 years Please RSVP at 231-347-5331 • 1560 E. Mitchell St. • Petoskey

Zion Lutheran Church, 500 W. Mitchell Street, in Petoskey, will begin open enrollment for its Christian Preschool for the 2012-2013 school year with an open house from 3:30-7PM.


Near Bay Shore, (231) 838-2322

Tuesday, March 6


3 year olds - 9:00-11:30AM • Tuesday & Thursday 4 year olds - 9:00-11:30AM • Monday, Wednesday & Friday Carrie Crawford, Director/Teacher Zion Lutheran Preschool is an outreach ministry of Zion Lutheran Church, serving Christ and the community by offering a quality Christian education. For more information or to enroll your child, call the Preschool office at 347-2757 or email,

BE A HERO BECOME A FOSTER PARENT Licensing is required; training is provided. Contact Sharie Plain – (231) 348-1614 Charlevoix-Emmet Department of Human Services


+ Local gift certiÿ cates for

50% OFF!



OPEN ENROLLMENT Charlevoix Children’s House A Montessori School

Openings available for fall enrollment! Kindergarten students exempt from tuition costs. Ages 2 1/2 to 6 years old • Full or half day options. Montessori Method Preschool & Kindergarten

• Developmental Kindergarten Program for early 5-year-olds. • Individualized introduction to various levels of quality educational materials.

Watch your child grow and develop in a Chri Christ-centered, academically rich and nurturing environment

Kindergarten & Pre-K 2012 Enrollment OPEN HOUSE Thursday, April 19 from 6-7pm

• Nurturing environment with qualified, caring instructors.

Bring your child, his/her birth certificate and immunization record.

• Large outdoor play area. • Students do not need to be potty trained.

Charlevoix Public Schools Learning Success for All

• Please call Miss Molly & set up a tour of the school.

Call 547-5599 for information or appt. to visit 8700 Mercer Blvd. • Charlevoix

• Full-day Kindergarten • High academic standards • Two & Three day Preschool • Christian values • Before & after school programs • Dedicated faculty • Infant care program • Small class size Emmet County's only Catholic School • 414 Michigan St. • Downtown Petoskey

OPEN HOUSE • April 19, 2012 • 9:00am – 6:00pm

For more information or to schedule a tour please call

(K-8) 347-3651 or (Pre-K) 347-3860

Is your infant difficult to comfort? Does your toddler or preschooler have extreme and frequent tantrums?


Do you have behavorial concerns with your young child?

Call the Health Department today

800-432-4121 A Parent Support Partner is available to help you at no charge. Serving Emmet, Charlevoix and northern Antrim counties There is no charge for this service thanks to grants from our partners:

If you or your child do not have insurance, you may qualify for Healthy Kids/ MIChild/Plan First! Call 1-800-432-4121 for more information. 24 YOUR LIFE UP NORTH

Up North Families February 2012  

Up North Families is the latest addition to Northern Michigan Review's growing group of successful niche publications. The publication is a...