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FREE

Education&Enrichment

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2016-2017

Preschools • Public Schools • STEAM • Private Schools • Special Needs

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Preschool to High School

TM

Have an A+ School Year! Strategies for Success

PLUS:

✼ The Language Melting Pot ✼ DIY: Try These STEAM Activities ✼ The New SAT: Help Your Teen Succeed

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Informing, Educating, Empowering Families 2016-2017 | BostonParentsPaper.com

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contents

Education & Enrichment Guide

2016-2017

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639 Granite St., Suite 25 Braintree, MA 02184 boston.parentspaper@bostonparentspaper.com Tel: 617-522-1515 / Fax: 617-522-7121 Visit us online at BostonParentsPaper.com PUBLISHER Jean Greco EDITORIAL Senior Editor: Cheryl Crosby Associate Editor: Kelly Bryant Calendar Editor: Jennifer Sammons Proofreader: Jeanne Washington Intern: Rebecca Schwartz ADVERTISING SALES Senior Account Executive: Lisa Braun Account Executive: Susan Hamilton NATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR Cate Sanderson 866-398-1825 ext. 1

CLASS NOTES 6 Education News

EDUCATION RESOURCES 8 Public and Private School Organizations Special Needs Education Support

EARLY LEARNING 10 Helping Kids Understand Math 12 Teaching Kids Forgiveness

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BEYOND SCHOOL DOORS

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26 The Language Melting Pot

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30 7 STEAM Activities 32 Checking In: Your Child’s Emotional Health

ADVERTISING DIRECTORIES 7 Montessori Schools 24 Private School Listings

14 Phases of Play and What They Mean

SCHOOL YEARS

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16 Strategies for Raising a Super Student ISTOCK©THINKSTOCK

20 The New SAT

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Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

Boston Parents Paper (ISSN 1059-1710) is published monthly by Parenting, LLC., a division of Dominion Enterprises. Please note that the advertisements in this magazine are paid for by the advertisers, which allows this magazine to be free to the consumer. Limit of one free copy per reader. Additional copies may be purchased for $5.00 per issue. Call 617-522-1515 to request additional copies. Unless specifically noted, no advertisers, products or services are endorsed by the publisher. All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. All persons are hereby informed that all dwellings advertising are available on an equal opportunity basis. Editorial submissions are welcome. Boston Parents Paper copyright 2016 by Dominion Enterprises. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.


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5


class notes Book Worms As parents you hear it all the time, but we simply cannot stress enough the importance of reading to children. According to the National Center for Education, studies show 26 percent of children ages 3 to 5 who are read to three or four times a week recognize all the letters of the alphabet compared to 14 percent of children who are read to less frequently. They’re also 60 percent more likely to count to 20 or higher than those who aren’t read to as often. Talk about an easy (and fun) way to give your child an educational head start.

What Makes Static Electricity? Blow up two balloons, then gather a bunch of different materials of varying textures (think aluminum foil, ribbon, cloth, foam and pipe cleaners). Rub the balloons against them. No static? Grab a sweater and rub a balloon against it, which will add electrons to the balloon, making it negatively charged. Now take that balloon to the other materials again and watch the magic happen.

Bag It This is fizzy fun. You’ll need sandwich bags, paper towels, baking soda, vinegar and water. Tear a paper towel into squares and add 1½ tbsp. of baking soda to the center, then fold the sides in to make a packet. Pour ½ cup vinegar and ¼ cup warm water into your bag. Toss the baking soda packet into the mixture and close quickly. Give it a shake and then stand back to watch it pop.

Music Matters A team of MIT researchers report discovering specific parts of the brain are stimulated primarily by music, with the circuits that ignite to different kinds of sound found in completely different parts of the auditory cortex. Dr. Sam Norman-Haignere, one of the study’s authors, told the New York Times that the sound of a solo drummer, whistling, pop songs, rap and just about everything that has a musical quality to it, whether melodic or rhythmic, would activate the part of the auditory cortex known as the sulcus. Pretty cool!

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Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

Jelly Bean Math Practicing sorting, graphing and estimating has never been so sweet as it is (literally!) with Jelly Bean Math from lakeshorelearning.com. It’s perfect for kids ages 4 to 7 years. Who doesn’t love a colorful graph of treats? What You’ll Need: ✼ Small paper ✼ Washable cups or broad-tip sandwich bags markers ✼ Jelly beans ✼ Jelly bean graphing sheet; ✼ Chart paper bit.ly/1Qn3a81 ✼ Jar Sorting and Graphing Directions: 1. Put jelly beans in a cup or sandwich bag. 2. Give your child a copy of the jelly bean graphing sheet. Instruct your child to sort the jelly beans by color onto the sheet. 3. Ask questions like: What color did you have most of? What color did you have least of? How many more (color) do you have than (another color)? How many jelly beans did you have altogether? Estimating Directions: 1. Place an amount of jelly beans in a jar. 2. Ask your child to estimate how many candies are in the jar. 3. Record their answers on chart paper with a marker. 4. Open the jar and place the jelly beans in piles of 10. Use these piles to count the total number of jelly beans. How close was your child’s estimate?


MONTESSORI DIRECTORY

2016-2017 | BostonParentsPaper.com

7


EDUCATION RESOURCES

Public and Private School Organizations ✼ Bureau of Jewish

T

THESE LOCAL AND NATIONAL

organizations offer information on a variety of educational options. ✼ Association of Independent Schools in New England – 781-843-8440; aisne.org – Provides services to members, including Massachusetts private schools, promotes educational leadership and offers an online directory of member schools.

Education of Greater Boston – 617-965-7350; bje.org – Central educational service agency for more than 100 schools or school units, youth groups, summer camps and adult education programs. ✼ Massachusetts Department of Education – Information Services – doe.mass.edu/infoservices – Provides profiles of Massachusetts public school districts, and data on enrollment, dropout rates and plans of high school graduates. ✼ Massachusetts Home Learning Association – mhla.org – The oldest statewide home school organization in Massachusetts is a support, information and advocacy group. Website offers resources on homeschooling, support groups and more.

Special Needs Education Support

8

✼ Autism Society, Massachusetts – 781-237-0272,

✼ Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf

ext. 17; autism-society-massachusetts.org. The local chapter of this national organization offers information on autism news and research, local treatment services, a calendar of events and more. ✼ Federation for Children with Special Needs – 617-236-7210; 800-331-0688 (in Mass.); fcsn.org – Advocacy, resources and information for parents and professionals. ✼ Massachusetts Branch of the International Dyslexia Association – 617-650-0011; massbranchida.org – Provides recommended reading materials for parents of kids with dyslexia, conducts professional development workshops and more.

and Hard of Hearing – 617-740-1600; mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/mcdhh – Services for deaf and hard of hearing, including interpreting, case management and technology. ✼ Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – 781-338-3000; doe.mass.edu – The State’s education website with information on special education, standardized testing, public schools and related topics. ✼ Special Needs Advocacy Network – 508-655-7999; spanmass.org – Offers support and referrals to Massachusetts special needs advocates and provides special education workshops and training.

Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017


MONTESSORI DIRECTORY

Discover Montessori âœź Montessori Schools

of Massachusetts – 508-789-6546; msmresources. org – Explains the Montessori education method and offers a list of Massachusetts Montessori schools. âœź National Association of Independent Schools – 202-973-9700; nais.org – Provides a database of member schools plus tips for choosing and applying to a school, obtaining financial aid and more. âœź National Catholic Educational Association – 800-711-6232; ncea.org – Information on a private, Catholic education from educators and institutions serving students in elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities.

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9


EARLY LEARNING

Helping Kids Understand Math By Amanda Dobbins

M

MY 4-YEAR-OLD SON,

Charles, has waffles on his mind. He asks if he and his sister can each have two with the “slow” syrup (a.k.a. Aunt Jemima). I say, “Sure,” and then seize the teachable moment to ask him, “If you’re having two and Julia is having two, how many do you need?” He grins and declares, “Four!” This is new for me, asking my kids to do quick mental calculations. In the past, I’ve felt a bit self-conscious asking them to answer the math questions that everyday life presents. Turns out, all the encouragement I needed was learning about a little theory. There is an essential area of knowledge called “number sense” that is developed through these informal math interactions. Number sense is what allows children to understand mathematical concepts and procedures through reasoning. Early number sense, for example, is knowing that four waffles are represented by the number four. As children develop their number sense, this fundamental understanding grows into the ability to add, subtract, multiply, divide and perform increasingly complex operations. The key to developing number sense is providing plenty of practice with skills such as mental calculation, sorting, estimating, numeral-to-object relationships

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Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

and measurement. That’s not enough, though. We need to go a step further and ask children to explain their reasoning. Marilyn Burns, a nationally renowned educator and founder of the math products and resources company Math Solutions (mathsolutions.com), says number sense is gradually acquired as we grapple with math questions and construct understanding in our own minds. Beginning in preschool, children do daily work that reinforces number sense, but we parents can play an important role in helping build this foundational knowledge. So where do you start? We know that reading aloud with our kids will build literacy and help them learn to read independently. We know that seeing us read sets

a good example and encourages kids to follow suit. Unlike reading, children have few opportunities to see adults using math unless we count apples into our grocery carts or explain how it is that four quarters make a dollar. It’s easy to get started if you think about number sense as math out loud – the mathematical equivalent of reading aloud.

Make It Part of the Routine Our daily lives are full of ways to help kids sharpen their number sense. Martha Tassinari of Beverly finds that math learning opportunities abound in the kitchen. When filling a measuring cup, she asks 5-year-old twins Max and Ali, “Does that look like half to you?” to give them a sense of half and whole. Max and Ali


mental calculation, High-Ho Cherry-O can be played by kids as young as age 3. Chutes and Ladders, also good for young children, reinforces counting skills up to 100. ✼ Recycling chores – Recycling offers a chance to practice counting, sorting and estimating. In her book Beyond Facts and Flashcards, author Jan Mokros suggests asking younger children to sort recyclables and then explain why we sort them the way that we do and which objects go together. Or have them look at an empty recycle bin and ask them to estimate how many bottles or cans would fit in it. ✼ Gardening –Mokros suggests using gardening to introduce “personal benchmarks” as concepts of measurement. Ask a very young child to plant seeds a finger-width apart, a hand-width apart or a footlength apart, depending on what you’re planting. This is a chance to begin talking about inches and feet. Mokros suggests asking an older child, based on personal benchmarks or use of a measuring tape, how many seeds will fit in a whole row. Ultimately, whether your math partner is age 3 or 13, the most important part of all this is keeping it fun. Kids can lose interest in math drills. Tassinari and her family know this and jump at the chance to engage in math conversations. “It’s a way of connecting,” she explains, which is the best reason to engage our kids on any subject. ■

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Amanda Dobbins is a freelance writer and author of The Baby File: All the Lists, Forms, and Practical Information You Need Before and After Baby’s Arrival (Running Press, 2008). She lives with her husband and two children in Hamilton. 2016-2017 | BostonParentsPaper.com

11

EARLY LEARNING

enjoy any math questions that center around parties or family meals. Martha challenges them to do quick mental calculations by asking, “If there are five in our family and four more people coming for dinner, how many plates do we need?” The critical step for developing number sense is following this up with, “How did you figure that out?” When children have a chance to explain their reasoning, it extends and reinforces their understanding. Amy Monteiro, a kindergarten teacher at Sheehan Elementary School in Westwood, is always happy to talk with parents about ways to reinforce number sense. “Parents may think that because a child can count objects, he’s ready to move on to addition and subtraction. But there is actually a lot that he needs to hold in his head in order to perform these operations with accuracy and understanding,” she says. We adults have already learned to get a visual on a group of objects and know how many there are without counting them individually. Looking at a die with six dots on it and knowing there are six is something that takes practice and is part of our number sense. Monteiro says games with dice are perfect for learning to recognize groups of objects without counting them; she encourages parents to play these games at home. She creates her own dice and places the dots in irregular patterns to challenge her students. Other number-sense teaching strategies include: ✼ Board games, such as High-Ho Cherry-O and Chutes and Ladders – Good for getting a visual on groups of objects, counting and quick


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Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

Teaching Kids Forgiveness By Mary Alice Cookson

F

FIVE-YEAR-OLDS JENNA

and Eva are in the family room playing. They’re good friends and they get along for the most part, but Eva comes running into the kitchen crying to you that Jenna has taken away her stuffed bear and called her a baby. As referee/parent, you listen to Eva’s account sympathetically. Then you call Jenna in to hear her side of the story. After assessing the situation, you determine that Jenna is out of sorts and needs to apologize. “Say you’re sorry you took Eva’s bear away and hurt her feelings,” you prompt. “I’m sorry,” says Jenna automatically. Now what? Should Eva grant forgiveness to her friend? Is on-the-spot forgiveness reasonable to expect of a child this age? After all, adults don’t generally work things out so easily; sometimes they carry around bitterness or inflict the silent treatment on others for years! We asked two noted clinical psychologists for their advice on how to guide kids through the important but sometimes painful process of forgiveness.

Hurt Is Part of Life “As parents we must teach our children that life hurts us, people hurt us, we hurt other people and we hurt ourselves. That is what relationships and life are about,” says Sherrie Campbell, Ph.D., a

licensed psychologist with two decades of clinical work and the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person (Author House, 2012). “The sooner we let our children in on this secret, the healthier their life approach will be.” The apology situation above is a common ritual that parents employ to teach manners; “but manners are not forgiveness,” says Jolene Ross, Ph.D., founder and director of Advanced Neurotherapy, a wellness clinic in Needham. As a psychologist for more than 35 years and an educator for nine, Ross asserts that a “forgiveness ritual” is appropriate, but she stresses, “We need to teach kids at all stages of development not to align themselves with someone who’s abusive to them. While you want kids to have compassion for others, they also need to know that it’s OK and sometimes in their best interest to distance themselves.” Campbell notes that as soon as children are old enough, they should be taught emotional


Discover

language: “I’m angry with you. That’s my toy.” She concurs with Ross that victims can also be directed to stay away from “mean” peers for self-protection.

Toddlers & Preschoolers Toddlers forgive naturally and generally respond well when a parent intervenes and tells them that the hurtful situation is over, says Ross. If they do not, it may be an indicator of something wrong that needs to be addressed – for example, they may have trouble making transitions. If a child is bitten or hit by another child, she advises, “Comfort the victim, and to the child who is the perpetrator, say, ‘No biting. No hitting.’ Then give alternative behaviors, such as ‘Use your words.’” While kids eventually come to realize that life is not fair, this isn’t something that needs to be addressed at this point in their lives, says Ross. To teach forgiveness, Campbell advises: ✼ Use emotion words. “Forgive” is not too big of a word or concept for this age, she says, “as long as it’s associated with something tactical they can apply. They can learn to say, ‘You are forgiven.’” Using words like mad, sad, glad and afraid helps perpetrators understand the results of their actions and helps forgivers understand their reactions, she notes. ✼ Embrace each other. Touch soothes pain and it’s a useful tool in a little tiff to have children embrace. “Touch breaks down walls and emotionally

reconnects people. If [kids] don’t want to hug, they can shake hands,” says Campbell. ✼ Reinforce the forgiveness. “Offenses at this age usually come from acts of unkindness, such as not sharing, or, in many cases, accidents. Some children might have a hard time and ‘forget’ they forgave the other person. This is OK, as the heart takes time to heal when it is offended. To teach toddlers and preschoolers to forgive, help them walk through the lasting effects that may still linger if their tender hearts are still hurting. Reinforce forgiveness by talking about the good things the offender has done [on other occasions].” ✼ Use books, emotion puppets and sign language videos. Children at this age are visual, and there are great resources that teach and show forgiveness, says Campbell. Encourage kids to “make a face” while imagining how another person is feeling. Point out situations in films and TV that call for feeling for someone else. “Children are most likely to learn empathy when their own emotional needs are met, cared for and seen as important in the home,” Campbell adds. “They have strong attachments to their parents and can count on them for emotional and physical support, and this makes them transfer this type of caretaking out into the world with their peers who are in distress.” ■ Mary Alice Cookson is the former associate editor of Boston Parents Paper.

For more about this topic, read “5 Steps to Forgiveness” by scanning this QR code or visiting BostonParentsPaper.com/forgiveness.

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13


EARLY LEARNING

Phases of Play and What They Mean By Kelly Bryant

I

I HAVE A CONFESSION

to make: In my five-and-a-half years as a mom I have lived with no less than a pirate, a superhero, a train conductor, an amateur tower builder, a chef and an aspiring rock star. No, this isn’t my husband going through an identity crisis; it’s the number of obsessions my sons have plowed through in their short lives. With every new developmental milestone there appears to be a fantastical character or role they identify with, some more realistic than others. And while I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the current chef phase my kindergartner is enjoying sticks around long enough for me to pass off actual kitchen duties, I’m not holding my breath. But it certainly begs the question, what do these phases of play mean to kids? “They relate to development and children’s intellectual abilities,” says David Elkind, a child psychologist and author of The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally (Da Capo Press, 2007), who encourages parents to let kids take the lead in regard to play. “Don’t try to push them to something,” he says. “They sometimes have their own affinities for things. You expose them to a lot of different things like musical instruments, toys that they can construct or painting. We find that usually children have

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Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

some kind of interest of their own and you support that interest.”

The Preschool Years In the early years, Elkind explains, preschoolers have limited reasoning ability, which in turn affects their play. “In the beginning, with princesses and Legos, it’s kind of trial and error,” he says. “They’re really not that well-coordinated yet.” Sure, your 3-year-old may be happily playing with blocks and making a construction that you consider a masterpiece, or choosing to play princess, but they don’t necessarily have a solid idea of what they’re doing. “If you ask a child how many boys are in a class they might say eight. How many girls in the class? They will say nine. But if you ask how many children in a class they don’t understand how someone can be a boy and a child

at the same time,” says Elkind. “That’s why in fairy tales all of the characters are one-dimensional. Kids can’t deal with something being two things at the same time.” Because this developmental stage is ripe for being influenced by everything they see, obsessions with princesses, pirates and the like can be heavily manipulated by marketing, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by major corporations looking to make a buck. “So many of the themes that children develop today, there are marketers and media people who develop products and shows that connect to those developmental issues to lure children in, get them involved and sell them product,” says Diane Levin, author of Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood: Teaching Children in the Media Age (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2013) and professor


Child Care Center of Early Childhood Education at Wheelock College. “Something like princesses, which has become so huge, is a perfect intersection between developmental interests that children have, girls have, and [a company’s] ability and desire to make millions of dollars off of little girls.” Children are trying to learn and understand gender in terms of what it means to be a boy or girl. With the advent of such in-your-face marketing in terms of characters like princesses and superheroes, kids no longer have to use their imagination to play in these fantasy worlds – they simply look no further than their TV or tablet. “Try to avoid the media when they’re little as much as you can,” she says. “As it starts coming in, talk about it and try to avoid the more extreme graphic stuff. Try to choose media that’s the least gender stereotyped and commercialized.”

Ages 6 & 7 As children mature, the way in which they play changes as well. Instead of simply going through the motions, kids will generally become more innovative with their play, perhaps modifying that princess dress to their liking or going off the script, so to speak, with their Lego creations, not simply copying what’s on the box. Levin advises gently changing the repertoire of play, particularly if your child has been sucked into the princess or superhero vacuum. “What we want to do is ask, ‘What do you like about that princess? How come she always just wants to get the prince to do this or that? Does she do anything else, because you like to do other things,” she says. “Things to complicate the thinking a little bit. Or, similarly, ‘Batman is going

around fighting all of the time, but does he ever go to sleep? Let’s make his bedroom. What does he eat? Let’s get some modeling clay and make him some food.’ We want to expand it into play instead of just imitating the stereotypes of what they’re being shown.” At this age you may find it more difficult to limit screen time for your child as much as you did in the past now that your son or daughter is likely heading to friends’ homes to play more often. He or she may have more opportunities to catch TV or other forms of media with these families, drawing them into the marketing vortex. Keep your rules at home, but be a little flexible so that your policies don’t create a war with your kids.

Ages 7 & Up If you can’t bear the thought of singing “Let It Go” one more time and the idea of throwing yet another superhero party has you pulling your hair out, you can start to breathe a little easier around this age when kids tend to move on to other things. “By 7 or 8 they usually give it up,” says Elkind. “Now they’re in a realistic phase and they realize there’s no real princesses, except maybe in England. Also I think what happens is the princess thing becomes something little kids do. You don’t want to do it because it makes you a little kid. That’s the phase where kids begin to give up a lot of things and say, ‘I don’t believe in Santa anymore. I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny.’” Wait, no more Santa? No more Easter Bunny? Now that I think of it, maybe another superhero party isn’t the end of the world. ■ Kelly Bryant is associate editor of Boston Parents Paper.

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commlearn.com 2016-2017 | BostonParentsPaper.com

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EARLY LEARNING

Greater Quincy


SCHOOL YEARS

Strategies for Raising a Super Student By Brian Spero

F

FOR MOST HOUSEHOLDS

with school-aged children, back to school is an exciting time of hope and optimism. The beginning of each new school year, from the first to the last, represents the opportunity for students to expand their knowledge, grow socially and emotionally, and develop valuable skills they’ll be able to use the rest of their lives. However, it can also be a time of anxiety and apprehension, as kids prepare to swap the carefree days of summer for a much more rigorous schedule and the academic challenges of completing a higher grade. Whether up until now your child’s experiences in school have been smooth sailing, a bumpy road or even if it’s their first year, it’s never too early or too late to start grooming a student for success. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” And while we can only hope our kids have the capacity to attain the level of accomplishment of old Ben, there’s plenty we can do together, parent and child, to ensure they’re getting the organization skills, study habits, strategies and support to reach their potential.

Getting Off on the Right Foot According to Cecile Selwyn, the director of Commonwealth Learning Center in Needham, the first thing parents need to do 16

Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

before school starts is help their kids get organized and establish a routine. She recommends involving your children in the process of everything from picking out the right supplies to sharing ideas on how to formulate a smooth running schedule. “Then they take ownership,” says Selwyn. “Getting them involved rather than having parents doing it for the kids gives them an important way to get going that first week of school.” Tracy Dean, a third-grade teacher with the Natick Public School System and mother of two boys in middle school, agrees there’s a lot you can do to prepare children for school, especially in the elementary grades. “What you want to do is help them develop the right habits,” she says. “You’re setting the routines early so when they get older, they kind of have that ingrained in them.”

Emphasizing Organization Selwyn’s next step to getting

ready for back to school is ensuring everyone is on the same page. She recommends starting a family calendar where you can write down important events, school activities, play dates, sports and so on. Choose a calendar that’s large, color-code it so it’s easy to read and hang it in a prominent place where everybody is sure to see it every day. When it comes to getting organized in school, Selwyn says for older students it usually starts with straightening out their locker by putting a shelf in the middle (morning books go on top, afternoon books on the bottom), hanging a calendar on the door and maybe a small white magnetic board to keep a to-do list. Other tasks, such as color-coding the different subject notebooks, cleaning up and organizing backpacks, using a planner and designating specific folders for carrying homework to and from school, are basic pieces of organization students of all ages can follow.


Designated Study Space “Quiet, well lit, minimal distractions, no screens – and then try really hard to have them revisit that space,” says Dean of a suitable study space. “Someplace you can be near, so you’re there for support, while not being on top of them.” Dean says a lot of getting organized involves simple things like picking up your list of

supplies and putting them in a place where they’re easily found. “I actually have a homework cart that’s stocked with everything they possibly need for whatever it is they’re doing,” she says. Selwyn agrees when parents organize their kids at home they should designate a specific workspace, as well as a place where they leave their backpacks. And wherever they work, it’s to the child’s benefit to put an emphasis on keeping it neat and well organized. “It actually takes away some of the anxiety and tension. It’s so much more calming because they know where things are,” Selwyn says.

Homework and Study A skill that typically needs to be taught to kids is

SCHOOL YEARS

“It goes back to starting them young,” says Dean, adding you want to make sure your child is the one actually doing these steps. “We’ve all been busy and have said, ‘give me the folder,’ and thrown it in the backpack and zipped it up. We’re trying to build healthy, positive habits, but if you do it for them, it’s going to become your habit, not theirs.”

time-management, especially when it involves homework. So it’s crucial to designate a block of time that works for your family schedule and the individual child. “Some kids, once they’re out of school mode, it’s very hard to get them back in,” says Dean. She recommends that as soon as kids get home, to give them a snack and a drink, then have them sit down right away to get their homework completed. In her work at the Learning Center, Selwyn encounters a lot of kids who by nature have difficulty organizing their time and managing homework. To help get back on the right track, she has them prioritize their homework assignments on a daily basis so they’re starting with a clear plan of action. “They can figure out

Try These Expert Tips for Laying the Foundation for a Successful New School Year ✼ Set the Tone – It’s just as important for parents to also start the year off in a positive frame of mind and to be very supportive and understanding. ✼ Learn the Lay of the Land – With younger children, try and visit the school before the first day. Ensuring they’re aware of the little things, like where the bathroom is, can make a big difference. ✼ Plan Ahead – Pick out clothes, make lunches and get the backpack in order the night before school, so your kids aren’t rushing around and have extra time in the morning to relax. ✼ Take a Break – The human brain is able to concentrate on something for about 30 minutes before it begins running dry of ideas. Have students set a timer to take five-minute breaks every half hour in order to remain fresh. ✼ If It’s Broke, Fix It – Sometimes you need to experiment with routines and study tactics to learn what works best for your unique child rather than what works best for you. ✼ Start a File – Dedicate a space to store important communications, study materials or whatever else you or your student might require in the future. While you’re at it, take all the other stuff piling up in the backpack or locker you don’t need, and file it in the recycle bin. ✼ Build a Bridge – Attending back to school night or a curriculum meeting is a great way to get to know the classroom and learn the teacher’s rules and expectations.

Don’t be afraid to share anything about your child with teachers you feel is important at the start of the year. ✼ Don’t Do Their Work – Your role as a parent is to be there for support, help clarify directions and make suggestions, but not provide the answers. No matter what grade they’re in, the goal is to set them up so they’ll eventually be able to do it on their own. ✼ Stop Over-Scheduling – As a culture, we seem to increasingly feel compelled to fill every minute of our children’s days with meaningful activities. Creative and physical outlets are something every kid needs, but if school is suffering, education needs to take top priority even if it means cutting something else out. ✼ Avoid the Backslide – It’s not the start of the year teachers are typically most worried about, but the middle and the end. Use events, such as report cards, winter break and other markers, as a reminder to reassess routines, reaffirm techniques and restock the “homework cart.” ✼ Watch for Red Flags – Every kid struggles from time to time, and it’s important to give them the opportunity to work things out. But if you notice a drop in grades, effort without improvement, excessive frustration, difficulty completing assignments, negativity toward school and not wanting to go, it’s probably time to request a conference and take a closer look. – Brian Spero 2016-2017 | BostonParentsPaper.com

17


SCHOOL YEARS

Sunny Bear Academy

Now Accepting Infants and Toddlers

Now Enrolling for 2016/2017 school year Other programs offered: • Preschoolers • Kindergartners • After-school program • Low student/teacher ratio • Ages: Infant to 10 years • Experienced, professional staff • Half-day & full-day openings

109 Lower East St. • Dedham • 781-326-8411 177 Green St. • Jamaica Plain • 617-469-3977

www.sunnybearacademy.com

NEWTON SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN

OPEN HOUSES: Thursday, November 3 Friday, November 4 9-11am & 4-5pm Saturday, November 5 10am-1pm

Since 1982

• Professional Staff • Toddler, Preschool & Transition Program • Music & Movement • Spanish & Gymnastics • 7:30am - 5:45pm • Summer Program Available

25 Lenglen Road, Newton MA (617) 965-1705 newtonschoolforchildren.com

OPEN HOUSE

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

SAINT AGNES SCHOOL

• Full-Day Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2 programs for 4 and 5 year olds. • Spanish grades K1-8, Latin 6-8. • Average class size of 16 students. • A challenging academic curriculum that includes: 45 minute specialists in music, art, computer, library, and physical education. • Private tours and Student Shadow Days are available. 128 years of Academic Excellence • Please call Patricia Crane at 781-643-9031 ext. 305 or email pcrane@saintagnesschool.us for details.

FAITH

ACADEMICS

COMMUNITY

39 Medford Street, Arlington, MA 02474 781-643-9031 www.saintagnesschool.com

18

Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

what’s the most important and the longest assignments, and what are the easiest assignments that they can knock off even when it’s closer to bedtime.” Dean believes while the routine is the foundation, you also don’t want to be too strict about when and where your kids do homework. If some of it gets done on the sideline of the soccer field or in the back of the car, the important thing is it gets completed. “You want to teach them to be flexible and able to problem solve. When you’re really stringent, you’re not teaching them to problem solve through anything,” she says.

Attributes of a Successful Student It can be difficult to accurately and objectively assess how your children are developing as students. Selwyn points to benchmark skills to be aware of that kids need to acquire from the earliest grades, such as knowing how to organize binders, writing down homework assignments and checking book bags and planners, to make sure they have everything they need. She also says it’s a good sign when kids have the impetus to ask a friend or go to the teacher if they aren’t sure or have a question. Often during the school year your children might spend more time with their class than they do with you, so it’s essential they learn to be proactive. “I think one mistake parents make, especially in the younger grades, is assuming their child is either too young or not able to advocate for themselves,” says Dean. She sees a lot of emails from parents trying to smooth out problems their kids are having in class. As a teacher, Dean would rather


Celebrating Success Raising a child with the skills to be successful in school isn’t something that happens by accident or overnight. It requires a thoughtful approach, consistent support and a concerted effort by the parent, school and most importantly the student. And when success is attained, whether it manifests itself in improved grades, increased sense of responsibility or anything else that makes you, as a parent, proud, cheer them on as you would if they just scored the winning touchdown or nailed a solo at the choir recital. Says Dean, “Success in school should get equal weight if not more than anything else they might do. I’m all for celebrating effort, improvement and growth.” ■

SCHOOL YEARS

parents encourage her students to work out the problem for themselves by using available resources or speaking to her to get the information they require. Says Dean, “A lot of times when I look at my classrooms, the kids that are successful are more well equipped at navigating the school, the class, their friends – problem-solving through things so they don’t take away from doing their work.” In addition to self-advocating and having a strong organizational system, Selwyn says the better students tend to enjoy reading. “The more they put their hands on books, the better off they are. But that’s not the whole picture,” she adds. “The good student would be the well-rounded student. They like to do other kinds of things so it gives the child the opportunity to develop and to see what they really like.”

THE INNOVATIVE FOUNDATION OF EDUCATION • Enrolling students ages 2.9 to 6 years • EEC certified [Massachusetts Early Education and Care] • For more information: o Visit: ADDITIONACADEMY.ORG o Email: INFO@ADDITIONACADEMY.ORG o Call: 978-322-2255 60 Carlisle Street | Chelmsford, MA 01824 | additionacademy.org | 978-322-2255

Dedham Country Day School | Coed • Pre-K–Grade 8 Experience our teachers and students in action! Classroom Observations: November 10, December 1 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. For parents only, register on our website Admissions Coffee: December 13 Off campus, contact Admissions for details DEDHAMCOUNTRYDAY.ORG • 781.329.0850 • admissions@dcds.net

Brian Spero is a frequent contributor to Boston Parents Paper. 2016-2017 | BostonParentsPaper.com

19


SCHOOL YEARS

The New SAT

How to Help Your Teen Succeed By Angela Geiser

F

FOR YEARS, THE SAT

test was known for being tricky. Andre Xie, 17, felt it was exactly that earlier this year when he learned that the SAT test he was scheduled to take in March was not the one he’d been practicing for months, but instead would be an overhauled version with many new types of problems. Andre, who attends a test preparation program, admits to being “a bit worried at first. I thought all my previous studying would be for nothing.” Andre was in the first group to take the revamped SAT test when its producer – the nonprofit, university-supported College Board – released it this spring. This fall, hundreds of thousands more college-bound students will pick up their number two pencils and take the latest iteration of the test that for 90 years has been used as a measure of a student’s qualification for scholarships and admission to specific colleges. In response to user complaints and competition from the newer ACT test, which recently caught up with the SAT in popularity, the College Board earlier this year changed the SAT to require less tricky, test-taking strategy and reasoning skills and instead focus more on what students learn in high school – and need at the university level. While the changes are intended to make the test friendlier and more relevant, students and

20

Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

instructors are experiencing an adjustment period as they grapple with the new test. Some of the key changes to the SAT include that it ✼ reduces the focus on obscure vocabulary; ✼ makes the essay optional and doubles the time allotment for it; ✼ enhances the emphasis on finding evidence in textual sources; ✼ increases the use of real-world math problems; and ✼ drops the penalty for wrong answers and thus makes it worth taking a guess. But while it may now sound as easy as A, B, C or D, students should be aware that the test still comes with three hours of brain strain, and is in some ways tougher than the previous SAT, experts say. “It still is H-A-R-D, hard,” says Barbara Austin, Ph.D., a college

application coach. “Keep in mind the material is college-level.” We spoke to Austin and two other test-preparation experts for their take on the new SAT and their tips on acing the test and getting into the student’s college of choice. They also weighed in on whether the new test – along with a movement toward colleges allowing applicants to skip the SAT or ACT entirely – is meeting the broad goal of making college more accessible to students who are underrepresented in upper education. One of the first things that will pop out at students as they crack open their new SAT practice books is that it’s heavy on reading. When the College Board dropped the short, sentence-completion questions that tested command of vocabulary, it replaced them with more reading-comprehension


Getting Started To prepare, Austin urges her students to read as many challenging works as possible and learn the meaning of any unknown words and phrases. And that’s in addition to spending many hours on SAT practice tests and preparing for the test in general. Students aren’t likely to find the math section as easy as π, either. It’s true that the new SAT uses math problems that students should have learned in school and will likely encounter in college and at work. “[In the new test,] the math questions are worded more straightforward and less confusing,” says Grayson Giovine, founder of Zenith Tutoring. “The old SAT math required a little more creativity, a little more critical thinking than the new one.” But the new test is more challenging in other ways, says Giovine and Chee Liang Hoe, founder of Cita Education. There are more word problems and more “grid-ins,” in which students must do the math and write an answer – not fill in a multiple choice bubble. Also, the new test adds more complex equations requiring several steps – because in college and the real world, the College Board website explains, “a single calculation is rarely enough to get the job done.” The optional essay also has been changed to more closely match writing assignments in college. Previously, the essay was

in response to an open-ended question such as, “Is it important to question people in authority?” Students had 25 minutes to support their point-of-view with examples from history and personal experience. Now, the essay prompts the student to analyze and comment on an argument by an author or speaker. Test-takers now can spend 50 minutes instead of 25 minutes on their essay, which may sound exhausting, but is actually useful in helping them craft a good response, Giovine says. While the essay is optional, the local educators agree that the students should take it in case one of their targeted colleges requires essay scores. Many of them do. The essay is graded on a scale of one to 24, and now is reported separately instead of as part of the reading and writing scores. The math section and reading/writing/ language section are awarded up to 800 points each, for a total possible 1,600 points, instead of the previous 2,400. Due to the shift in point allotment, the math and reading/ writing/language sections are now each worth half of the total points, whereas in the old test, math accounted for only a third of the possible points. As a result, Giovine now recommends that students who are stronger in math than verbal skills take the SAT, while he recommends that verbally gifted students take the ACT, for which math accounts for only one-fourth of the 36 possible points. (The ACT’s writing, reading and science sections, the latter which Giovine says is based more on reading comprehension than math, account for the other threefourths.) Colleges will accept either test from their applicants.

SCHOOL YEARS

passages that measure skill at identifying and interpreting evidence within text. “My experience after 22 years is that kids of this generation are not readers,” says Austin. “You can’t do the test just based on [what you learned in] your high school coursework unless you are a great reader.”

Skip the Tests? In a movement toward offering even more freedom in the college application process, some 800 colleges are now allowing students to skip submitting test scores entirely, according to the organization Fair Test, a proponent of the test-optional approach. These include many highlyranked schools in Massachusetts, including Brandeis University, Hampshire College and University of Massachusetts, Lowell. One reason colleges are making test scores optional is that scores don’t predict a student’s success in college as well as their gradepoint average, which reflects three years of work rather than a single day, Austin explains. High school classes have become more rigorous in recent years, with many more challenging and standardized Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes, allowing a college to better judge a student’s likely success. Another motive for the change is that it hopefully will mean that more underrepresented minority and low-income students will be admitted into top colleges, FairTest reports. These students don’t score as well on the SAT or ACT because their schools are often not as well funded and their parents can’t afford test prep instruction, which starts at several hundred dollars. While Austin commends the test-optional movement, she discourages her students from skipping the standardized test because more than 1,200 four-year colleges, including most of the Ivy League or top-tier national universities, require one. Rather than skip the test, Austin recommends that her students who aren’t great testers stand out to admissions officers by taking an SAT subject test in their chosen 2016-2017 | BostonParentsPaper.com

21


SCHOOL YEARS

Academic Excellence, Community & Diversity

The Chestnut Hill School OPEN HOUSE - Sunday, November 6, 1:00-3:00 pm Beginners (Age 3) to Grade 6 • Co-Educational Financial Aid Program • Exceptional Secondary School Placement Aftershool Extended Day 428 Hammond Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-1229 617.566.4394 • fax 617.738.6602

W W W. TC H S . O R G 22

Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

major and by putting together a stellar application showing good grades, a passion such as charity or leadership, and an engaging essay, perhaps on overcoming adversity. Students who aren’t good testers should explain their efforts in the extenuating circumstances section of their college applications. Or, “If your essay theme is on academic adversity, then discuss the challenge for you of taking standardized tests,” she says. The goal of bringing more underrepresented students into universities is behind another new addition to the SAT: making online test prep universally available through College Board’s partnership with the nonprofit Khan Academy. Khanacademy.org offers instructional videos on 4,000 sample SAT questions and provides personalized study advice based on students’ results on four practice tests. “With Khan Academy, the College Board tried to make the SAT more accessible, and it definitely helps,” Giovine says. However, students who can afford it will do better on the new SAT with professional instruction, Austin says. Austin’s company for years offered test preparation, though today she focuses on college application guidance and only offers instruction on the essay. In an example of how professional instruction can augment scores, students at Zenith Tutoring gain at least 200 points on the SAT and four points on the ACT in 10 sessions, or Zenith refunds their tuition. Giovine attributes Zenith’s success to its focus on core skills, rather than test-taking strategy, and on its semi-private instruction setup: Each student spends time one-on-one with the instructor,


Start Early Another secret to improving SAT scores, whether working with an instructor or alone, is to start early – by the sophomore year, Giovine says. He and Austin both recommend focusing on the test a couple times for several months at a time before taking the final test. Families who can’t afford professional help should urge their school district to provide SAT test prep; ask tutors for financial aid; and check local Boys & Girls Clubs and other organizations for subsidized instruction. One student for whom the changes to the SAT, combined with professional guidance, have been a boon was Andre Xie. To get ready for the new SAT, he practiced with Zenith Tutoring on the ACT, and found that the concepts transferred to the new test. He also discovered that the new SAT format, with just four sections compared to the former 10, helped him pace himself better. And he was happy the SAT dropped the unusual vocabulary, saying, “the vocab was hit or miss for me.” Andre’s results on the March SAT showed huge improvement – rising from 1,300 points out of 2,400 possible on his first practice test on the old SAT to 1,350 out of 1,600 on the new one. “It was a surprise,” Andre says. “The new SAT was much better for me.” ■ Angela Geiser is a freelance writer for Bay Area Parent, the sister publication of Boston Parents Paper.

SCHOOL YEARS

while others work individually with noise-canceling ear phones and laptops or watch any of the thousand videos Giovine has made demonstrating test problems. Every other year, on average, one of Zenith’s 200 to 300 students earns a perfect score.

Available 2016-17 Preschool Opening! INFANT, TODDLER, PRESCHOOL, & PRE-K PROGRAM • 8 am - 5:45 pm, Monday – Friday • Ages birth to 6 years • Each classroom has a teacher with a Master’s in Early Childhood Education • 1:3/1:4 Adult to Child Ratio (better than state requirement)

• Our director Howie Baker was named 2012 Director of the Year by the National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers • Named one of the “Best Schools in Boston” by Boston Magazine • Weekly music, yoga, and athletics

Located at Brandeis University 457 Old South Street, Waltham, MA email lemberg@brandeis.edu tel 781-736-2200 lembergcc.org

CHALLENGE

CHARACTER

where CHALLENGE meets CHARACTER learn more about Belmont Day

OP EN H OUS E SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5 | 9:30 AM - 12 PM

An elementary and middle school, pre-k to grade 8. We value honesty, caring, joy, responsibility, respect, and excellence.

www.belmontday.org 2016-2017 | BostonParentsPaper.com

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PRIVATE SCHOOL DIRECTORY

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Preschools • Elementary Schools • Middle & High Schools • Special Needs Schools Grades (abbreviations): PS: Preschool, PreK: PreKindergarten, JrK: Junior Kindergarten, K: Kindergarten Accreditation and License: AISNE (Assoc. of Independent Schools of New England) AMS (American Montessori Society) AMLE (Association for Middle Level Education) ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) CIS (Council of International Schools) EEC (Early Education and Care)

ED

RV

E

AD

GR Addition Academy Preschool 60 Carlisle Street, Chelmsford 978-322-2255 additionacademy.org

E SS

ICG (The Independent Curriculum Group) MAAPS (Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools) NAEYC (Ntl. Assoc. for the Education of Young Children) NAIS (Ntl. Assoc. of Independent Schools) NEASC (New England Association of Schools & Colleges)

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2.9 - 6 yrs.

Rolling

7am-6pm

Y

N

N

EEC

Immediate openings, small class size, competitive pricing, convenient location, educated, experienced staff, secure building.

The Advent School 15 Brimmer Street, Boston 617-742-0520 adventschool.org

PreK Grade 6

200

7:45-8:15am; 3:30-6pm

Y

Y

Y

NAIS, AISNE

MakerSpace Saturdays: STEM programing for children ages 5-12. This program is open to current Advent students and the public.

Atrium School 69 Grove Street, Watertown 617-923-4156 atrium.org

PreK Grade 8

130

7:30am; 3-5:30pm

Y

Music + Music Integration, violin, performing arts, studio art, theater, Spanish, library, STEAM, physical education, sports teams.

Y

N

AISNE, NAIS

Middle school cross country, track, Science Olympiad, rowing, service learning, theater, PreK full-day and half-day options.

Belmont Day School 55 Day School Lane, Belmont 617-484-3078 belmontday.org

PreK Grade 8

270

Yes

Y

After school enrichment classes, free monthly Saturday concerts for preschoolers, annual speaker series open to the public.

Y

Y

AISNE, NAIS

Bernice B. Godine JCC Early Learning Center Located at the Leventhal-Sidman JCC 333 Nahanton Street, Newton 617-558-6420 bostonjcc.org/earlylearning

6 wks. 5 yrs.

Yes

Y

Swim lessons and enrichment classes for children, as well as fitness, arts and cultural opportunities for the family.

Y

N

NAEYC

Dedicated to providing a rich and nurturing environment filled with Jewish values and traditions. Enrollment available for Fall 2017 school year. Limited availability for 2016-2017 school year. Located on the T at Chestnut Hill and busing service.

Brimmer and May School 69 Middlesex Road, Chestnut Hill 617-738-8695 brimmer.org

PreK Grade 12

385

Yes

Y

After-school music program and clubs, design lab, outdoor classroom, signature diploma programs.

Y

Y

AISNE, AMLE, ASCD, CES, ICG, NAIS

Cambridge Friends School 5 Cadbury Road, Cambridge 617-354-3880 cfsmass.org

PreK Grade 8

180

7:15am5:45pm

N

Soccer, basketball, ultimate frisbee, world dance, piano, clarinet, violin and saxophone lessons, MakerSpace, drama.

Y

Y

AISNE

The Chestnut Hill School 428 Hammond Street, Chestnut Hill 617-566-4394 tchs.org

3 yrs. Grade 6

275

7am-6pm

Y

A host of after-school, music and summer programs enhance our extracurricular offerings.

Y

Y

NAIS, AISNE

Dedham Country Day School 90 Sandy Valley Road, Dedham 781-329-0850 dedhamcountryday.org

PreK Grade 8

256

Yes

Y

Interscholastic athletics, private music program, after-school enrichment: chess, robotics, jewelry making, math club, coding.

Y

N

AISNE

Classroom Observations for parents: Nov. 10, Dec. 1, Jan 20. Register online.

The Fessenden School 250 Waltham Street, West Newton 617-630-2300 fessenden.org

PreK Grade 9

526

7:30am5:30pm

Y

Co-ed summer, sport and specialty camps offered June - August.

Y

Y

AISNE

Independent school for boys in PreK-9th grade, with boarding options for grades 5-9.

German International School Boston 57 Holton Street, Boston 617-783-2600 gisbos.org

PS Grade 12

241

7:30am-6pm

Y

Y

N

Department of Education of the Federal Republic of Germany

GISB is a bilingual independent school. Graduates receive a MA diploma and German Abitur.

Gilson JCC Early Learning Center, Located at Temple Sinai 25 Canton Street, Sharon 781-795-4900 bostonjcc.org/earlylearning

15 mos. 5 yrs.

Yes

Y

Focus on infusing Jewish culture and traditions with hands on learning experiences.

Y

N

NAEYC

We focus on building community and supporting each child’s academic, social and emotional development.

International School of Boston 45 Matignon Road, Cambridge 617-499-1451 isbos.org

PS Grade 12

Until 6pm

Y

Bilingual program in lower and middle school.

Y

Y

AISNE, CIS, IB, NAIS, NEASC, AFSA. French: AEFE, MEN, MLF

Two world renowned diplomas: the French Baccalaureate taught in French and the International Baccalaureate taught in English.

JCC Early Learning Center, Brookline/Brighton 50 Sutherland Road, Brighton 617-278-2950 bostonjcc.org/earlylearning

15 mos. 5 yrs.

Yes

Y

Swim lessons and enrichment classes.

Y

N

NAEYC

24

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Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

Rigorous academic program within a warm and supportive environment.

Family-centered, reflecting rich diversity of community. Experienced with bilingual children.


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

PRIVATE SCHOOL DIRECTORY ?

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JCC Early Learning Center Located at Congregation Sha’aray Shalom 1112 Main Street, Hingham 781-752-4000 bostonjcc.org/earlylearning

15 mos. 5 yrs.

Yes

Y

League School 300 Boston Providence Highway, East Walpole 508-850-3900 leagueschool.org

PreK Grade 12

Yes

Y

Learning Prep School 1507 Washington Street, West Newton 617-965-0764 learningprep.org

8 - 22 yrs.

No

Y

8am-5:45pm

235

S

AM

R OG

Diverse community, welcoming to all families and faiths.

ID? LA ? A & ION I AT NC TION IONS HIPS M A S R A O FIN RT ITAT BER INF D TS PO EP ANS CRE MEM ER C H OT AC AC TR Y

N

NAEYC

Curriculum allows children to be actively engaged in learning. Classrooms filled with natural openended materials.

Y

N

Work/study transition, Thinking Maps, social communication, horticulture, basketball, yearbook, student council.

N

N

DESE, MAAPS

Most students have significant language processing and learning issues. Many also struggle with social skill development.

Y

School age vacation camp in February and April.

Y

N

EEC

Tuition is based on household income per year.

Providing a stimulating education to all students.

Lemberg Children's Center Located at Brandeis University 457 Old South Street, Waltham 781-736-2200 brandeis.edu/lemberg

6 wks. 6 yrs.

Lesley Ellis School 41 Foster Street, Arlington 781-641-1346 lesleyellis.og

PreK Grade 8

166

7-8am; 3-6pm

Y

After-school program, vacation program.

Y

N

NAIS

Lexington Montessori School 130 Pleasant Street, Lexington 781-862-8571 lexmontessori.org

Toddler Grade 8

220

7:30am; 3-6pm

Y

Spanish, gardening, music, physical education, library skills, art.

Y

N

AISNE, AMS, NAIS

2.9 22 yrs.

Y

Programs based on applied behavior analysis (ABA).

N

N

MAAPS

5 - 22 yrs.

Y

Serves children and young adults with brain injuries, neurological diseases or neurobehavorial disorders.

N

N

Y

Y

AISNE, NAIS

May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities 41 Pacella Park Drive, Randolph 781-437-1300 randolphschool.mayinstitute.org May Center School for Brain Injury and Related Disorders 596 Summer Street, Brockton 508-588-8800 brocktonschool.mayinstitute.org

23 acres of land including playgrounds, gardens, woods and wetlands.

Day and residential educational programs for children with ASD and other developmental disabilities.

Nationally recognized day or residential school. 24 hour care and services.

The Meadowbrook School 10 Farm Road, Weston 781-894-1193 meadowbrook-ma.org

JrK Grade 8

315

Until 5:45pm

Y

Newton Montessori School 80 Crescent Avenue, Roslindale 617-969-4488 newtonmontessori.org

PreK Grade 6

220

7:30am-5pm

Y

Enrichment, umbrella care, vacation care.

Y

N

AISNE, AMS, NAIS

The Park School 171 Goddard Avenue, Brookline 617-277-2456 parkschool.org

PreK Grade 8

550

12-6pm

Y

Art, music, physical education, drama, science, math and robotics clubs, interscholastic athletic competition in nine sports.

Y

Y

AISNE, NAIS

Open House on Nov. 6, 12-3pm.

Park Street School | Park Street Kids 67 Brimmer Street & One Park Street, Boston 617-523-7577 parkstreetschool.org

Toddler Grade 6

305

3:30-5:30pm

N

Toddler-PreK: 8am-noon; Age 2.9+: Creative Afternoons, 1-3pm; Grades 1-6, Kindergarten-after school clubs/private music.

Y

N

AISNE Affiliate

PSS/PSK has 10:1 ratio, passionate teachers; nurtures, fosters character, intentional play; arts/ stem/content-rich program.

Shore Country Day School 545 Cabot Street, Beverly 978-927-1700 shoreschool.org

PreK Grade 9

410

3-6pm

Y

World languages, SAIL-science and art integrated learning, independent study, service learning, project adventure.

Y

Y

AISNE, NAIS

INDEX - Mission Skills Assessment; NEPSAC Code of Ethics; Innovation Lab; creative drama; visual arts; 375 seat theatre.

St. Mary of the Assumption 67 Harvard Street, Brookline 617-566-7184 stmarys-brookline.org

PreK Grade 8

230

2:30-6pm

N

Foreign language; band, state of the art media center, soccer program.

Y

N

NEASC

Summit Montessori School 283 Pleasant Street, Framingham 508-872-3630 summitmontessori.org

Toddler Grade 6

94

7:30-8:15am; 3-6pm

Y

After-school enrichment programs.

Y

N

AISNE, AMS, NCPSA

Thacher Montessori School 1425 Blue Hill Avenue, Milton 617-361-2522 thacherschool.org

Toddler Grade 8

215

7am-6pm

Y

Basketball, soccer, skiing, hiking, yoga, performing arts, cooking/ baking and rock climbing.

Y

N

AISNE, AMI, AMS

Thayer Academy 745 Washington Street, Braintree 781-664-2221 thayer.org

Grades 6 -12

700

Yes

Y

Comprehensive sports, arts, technology and service programs.

Y

Y

NEASC

Partnership school with Boston College.

Discover Montessori and discover Thacher at an Information Sessions: Nov. 3, Dec. 1, Jan. 12. Open House: Nov. 19.

2016-2017 | BostonParentsPaper.com

25


BEYOND SCHOOL DOORS

The Language Melting Pot

Is mastering a second language essential for children? By Judy Molland

“Can I have a cookie for dessert?” begs 4-yearold Paulina, tugging on her mother’s skirt. “Tienes que preguntar en español,” replies her mom, Raquel, reminding her daughter that the family speaks only Spanish at home. Raquel Espinosa and her husband, Douglas, are among a growing number of parents who choose to give their child the gift of two languages. Judging by the number of people in the United States who currently speak more than one language, that gift may be very wise, indeed. U.S. Census figures from 2011 show that the number of bi- or multilingual people in this country has steadily increased to more than 50 million. It’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing. Which languages do Americans speak? According to a 2015 Census Bureau American Community Survey: ✼ 78.5 percent speak English, ✼ 13 percent speak Spanish and ✼ 3.6 percent speak other Indo-European languages, such as French, German and Russian. Globally, the picture is quite different, however: According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, worldwide: ✼ 11.82 percent speak Mandarin Chinese, ✼ 5.77 percent speak Spanish and ✼ 4.67 percent speak English. As the world shrinks and countries become increasingly interdependent, language and cultural experts predict that within 10 years it will be necessary for everyone to speak a second or third language. This is an area where the United States lags far behind other parts of the world. Western Europeans, for example, are often fluent in two or even three languages. Shouldn’t American children be their equals?

Why Learn Another Language? Like thousands of other Americans, Raquel and Douglas Espinosa made the decision to speak Spanish at home partly to ensure that Paulina could understand her heritage language, spoken by Raquel’s 26

Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

family in Mexico. But they also believe that by becoming bilingual, their daughter will be a citizen of the world, open to other cultures and the social and intellectual benefits that go along with knowing more than one language. “Being bilingual is an undeniable advantage,” says Alison Mackey, co-author of The Bilingual Edge (Harper Perennial, 2007). A linguistics professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and the mother of two young children, Mackey knows that advanced knowledge of two languages gives kids enhanced creativity and improved literacy skills. Numerous studies have also demonstrated that children who are at least bilingual are more likely to outperform their monolingual peers in those critical standardized exams in school. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to teach your child another language: ✼ The bi- or multilingual child will feel at ease in different environments, increasing her self-esteem and self-confidence, says Christina Bosemark,


will have the best opportunities to do well.” ✼ Finally, as any bilingual person will tell you, speaking another language expands your horizons, and it’s fun!

When to Begin? “Start them really young!” says Thibaut. During the first three years of life, a child’s brain is extremely malleable, Thibaut explains, “like warm wax that can be imprinted with any language. And then, after age 3, the wax starts to get colder and harder.” For Thibaut, the fact that infants can’t yet speak doesn’t mean that they can’t learn; he likens them to computers without printers, absorbing information

BEYOND SCHOOL DOORS

founder of the Multilingual Children’s Association, which provides support, tips and resources on raising a multilingual child. ✼ The child will learn to appreciate, and innately accept, other cultures, adds Bosemark. ✼ And, with more companies working with businesses in other countries, a bi- or multilingual child will have important opportunities for future employment. “Our world economy is interdependent now, and no country can be autonomous,” says François Thibaut, founder of the groundbreaking Language Workshop for Children. “So children with multiple languages

that they will be able to print out later, when they start speaking. Bosemark agrees: the longer you wait for your child to start learning another language, the more difficult it becomes, and the more likely you’ll put it off forever. “So, even if your child is already well on his way to speaking his first language, right now is the perfect time to add the second,” she says. But while starting your child at a young age is a great idea, Mackey points out that “the younger, the better” is not an absolute rule when it comes to language learning. “Many older children and some adults do achieve very high proficiency, even though they began to learn their second language later on,” she says.

Successful Language Learning Here are some tips for encouraging young children to learn a different language: ✼ Have fun integrating a different language as a ✼ Find funny cartoons and characters that use the part of your daily routines. Sing morning songs in target language. the language; play counting and alphabet games; ✼ Use crafts as an opportunity to speak and interact and have a “word of the day.” in the target language. ✼ Read stories to your child in the language. Keep ✼ Play songs in the language in the car or use these light, fun and brief. Encourage your child to headphones on public transport. interact with the book. ✼ Be enthusiastic and positive about learning a new ✼ Find other children who speak the target language language. for your child to play with. ✼ Don’t be overly focused on perfection or be ✼ Look for games in the target language, including constantly correcting your child. Instead focus on board games and flash cards that encourage enjoying the language, and on what your child has interaction. achieved.

2016-2017 | BostonParentsPaper.com

27


BEYOND SCHOOL DOORS

Teaching the World ®

www.isbos.org

I can’t wait to come “back tomorrow!”

Another day of learning, creating, exploring, playing, making friends and having fun is what your child will experience at the JCC Early Learning Centers. Gilson JCC Early Learning Center • Sharon (at Temple Sinai) 781-795-4900 sharon-elc@jccgb.org

JCC Early Learning Center • Brookline/Brighton 617-278-2950 x221 brookline-elc@jccgb.org

JCC Early Learning Center • Hingham (at Congregation Sha’aray Shalom) 781-752-4000 hingham-elc@jccgb.org

bostonjcc.org/earlylearning

Bernice B. Godine JCC Early Learning Center • Newton (at the Leventhal-Sidman JCC) 617-558-6420 newton-elc@jccgb.org

BOSTON

28

JCC

Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

Everyone welcome

What If You Aren’t Bilingual? Using a second language might come naturally to parents who are already bilingual, but what if you speak only English? Denise Papert is one monolingual parent who recalls a painful academic struggle to fulfill her world language requirement in high school. Not wanting her daughter to suffer as she did, Papert enrolled her 2-year-old in a French program. Now Papert also takes full advantage of the course’s teaching materials at home. “Isabel repeats the words from ‘Les parties du corps,’ and points to her body parts. And I’m learning right alongside her,” Papert says. She adds that French music tapes are a great way to learn; she plays them every day, and Isabel loves them. Knowing a little of the lingo herself was one reason Papert selected French, but she notes that having several French neighbors, her daughter gets plenty of exposure to the language through them. “It’s a myth that only bilingual parents can raise bilingual children,” Mackey emphasizes. From her perspective, things have never looked better – there are literally thousands of opportunities and hundreds of ways for children to learn second languages in the United States, ranging from classes to bilingual toys like Dora the Explorer and the iPad. “With the right foundation of knowledge,” she says, “any parent can raise a child who knows more than one language, even if that parent is monolingual.” One example of this is Thibaut’s Professor Toto program, a series including books, CDs and DVDs, all with original songs and designed specifically for kids who haven’t been exposed to more than


BEYOND SCHOOL DOORS

one language at home. A quick online search reveals just how many programs are available. Michelle Hanson believes strongly that monolingual parents should not hold their children back. She and her husband adopted their daughter from China, and enrolled her in a Chinese school, where about 90 percent of the students come from non-Mandarin speaking households. “We have a wonderful community here,â€? says Hanson, “and it’s great when Susie shows me what she’s been doing at school.â€? At age 4, the child is becoming fluent in two languages, and Hanson is struggling to keep up with her daughter. But she sees no problem with her own limited Chinese, believing rather that as a parent, she can best support her child by showing an interest in her Chinese homework and by asking her to recite or show what she has learned. “Everyone says learning Chinese is hard,â€? Hanson says, “but Susie doesn’t know that!â€? â–

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29


BEYOND SCHOOL DOORS

7 STEAM Activities

You Can Do at Home & Beyond! By Eric Chyo

W

WHAT WOULD YOU

✼ Turn a regular craft

guess is the most important ingredient for valuable STEAM learning? It’s not fancy lab equipment, complicated engineering books or the latest high-tech gadgets. Every kind of STEAM learning out there actually hedges on one much simpler concept: curiosity. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math, but beyond that intimidating acronym, STEAM simply represents a hands-on approach to exploring the world, examining how it works and solving real-life problems. So if you have curious kids, they can practice STEAM! Research shows early STEAM learning benefits kids across multiple subjects. So while you’ll undoubtedly see more STEAM activities popping up in the classroom, don’t let the learning stop there. Get in on the fun and support STEAM learning at home with these simple activities (for ages 5 & up) that turn your kiddos into the super-solvers of the future.

table into a maker space by piling it with any materials you have on hand, including straws, rubber bands, craft sticks, cardboard, toilet paper rolls, plastic foam, tape, glue and other odds and ends. Ask your kids to build. If they need a little boost, find some ideas online and help them build their first creation. ✼ Start collecting large cardboard boxes and encourage your kids to find new ways to use them. Kids can make anything imaginable from recycled cardboard – castles, houses, cars, vending machines, robots and rocket ships – the sky’s the limit! Having “readyto-go” materials around helps kids create the moment inspiration hits. Plus, it gives them firsthand experience with the design process.

1 Join the maker movement. Celebrate the

your curious kids ask – and we know they ask a lot – presents a prime opportunity for STEAM learning. Whether they ask how the toilet flushes or how the refrigerator light turns off, you can answer tons of questions in our digital age. Simply head online together and investigate the answer. When you see your kids

ultimate creative activity: making stuff. Your kids don’t need expensive equipment or special instruction manuals to start making – just their own creative minds, a few easy-to-find materials and some encouragement. Here are a couple of ways to get your kids making: 30

Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

2 Turn wonder into discovery. Every little question

playing with their favorite toys or eating their favorite treats, ask them to guess how those items were made. After they come up with a solid guess, research How It’s Made videos on YouTube that give kids an up-close look at the manufacturing process of their favorite products. Not only will this help foster a healthy sense of wonder, it will also help kids build up their “bank of knowledge.” 3 Tinker with everyday tools. A child’s daily routine

includes tools, gadgets and inventions that all resulted from a design process, and therefore, can be improved. Have your kids brainstorm how they might design even better versions of things they use every day. They might make scissors more comfortable to hold, design a toothbrush for fun brushing or even improve a spoon handle to minimize dribbling. Ask your kids to sketch their


4 Take advantage of community workshops and events. Your local hardware

stores and craft stores probably provide workshops for awesome make and take projects just for kids. As kids delve into these exciting workshops, they’ll handle tools and materials they don’t have at home, and the more tools kids can use, the more opportunities they have to invent, improve and innovate. Check out local events, camps and science fairs that offer STEAM activities so your kids can get even more hands-on experience with exciting new tools and materials. 5 Meet the inventors of the past at your local library.

Have your kids imagine a world without electricity, medicine or even chocolate chip cookies! Tell them people from the past invented many things we enjoy today. What did those people all have in common? They asked questions, examined possibilities and introduced solutions to improve their world. Ask your kids what invention they want to learn about from bicycles to computers and even candy bars! Head to the library

and help them find books to answer a few simple questions about their invention: ✼ Who invented it? ✼ What inspired the inventor’s idea? ✼ What materials did the inventor use to create something completely new? After learning about real-life inventors, kids will be inspired to see if they can be inventors too! 6 Learn up-close at a museum. Nothing brings

learning to life quite like your local museum. If your kids love dinosaurs, they’ve probably enjoyed books and movies on the topic, but a museum can awe them with real dinosaur bones. Plus, kids can discover exciting STEAM career paths they never knew existed, like becoming a paleontologist.

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7 Observe workers in action. The next time something

around the house tragically stops working, turn the disaster into a learning experience. When your plumber, electrician or mechanic arrives, ask if you and your child can observe their work. As you watch, encourage your child to ask questions about their tools and the problems they discover as they work. Kids can learn so much from watching a worker’s process of tinkering to detect and correct a problem. As kids observe and question, repairing a toilet turns into an educational experience. Plus, since your handyperson will stick around until they solve the problem, kids also learn the importance of persevering to solve problems – an essential STEAM skill. ■ Eric Chyo is the product development manager at Lakeshore Learning Materials. 2016-2017 | BostonParentsPaper.com

31

BEYOND SCHOOL DOORS

new and improved tool and explain what they’ll change and why it’s an improvement. They can even create a working prototype! For example, kids can work with clay or play dough and old spoons to create a spoon handle for a steadier grip. Then have them test out their new design and watch them get a huge kick out of using something they invented. As they design and test, they’ll feel just like real engineers – with the power to improve things and invent from scratch.

The Math Club


BEYOND SCHOOL DOORS

Checking In

Make Sure Your Child Isn’t Checking Out By Kelly Bryant

This may be celebrated as the most wonderful time of the year, and it can be, but, plainly put, it’s also the most stressful. When you factor together the busy nature of the season with the shorter, colder days that can contribute to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it’s easy to overlook changes in your child’s behavior or simply chalk up their moodiness to a winter funk. During this time of year, perhaps more than any other, it’s important to take a moment to step back and take inventory of the emotions running rampant in your household.

What Wellness Looks Like To get a baseline of emotional wellness in children, Donna San Antonio, associate professor of counseling and psychology at Lesley University, suggests looking at it as a cluster of qualities that includes the physical, social, emotional and mindful. Well-being is connected to children’s abilities “to know they can control their environment in some way, even if they can’t speak as infants,” she explains. “As they get older, it’s being able to go to the bathroom by themselves, being able to make friends, being able to overcome tensions in friendships, being able to deal with experiences in interpersonal 32

Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

aggression on their own as early adolescents. That’s what wellbeing looks like.” Signs that everything is on track include having positive relationships with family members and a peer group, not engaging in risky behavior that could be harmful, but at the same time not being afraid of risks. A positive sense of self is important, as well as feeling of “I can do it.”

Spot the Red Flags As we get close to the middle of the school year, perhaps kids are feeling overwhelmed with their workload, have fallen out with a group of friends or have developed SAD, which can affect children the same as adults. But if your kids aren’t talking, how can you tell if there’s something going on inside of their heads?

“Children and even teenagers act out what they can’t say or they won’t say,” says San Antonio. “We can look for changes in the way the child is thinking, feeling and acting as the kinds of things parents can pick up on. If a usually calm and content child or teenager begins to be more anxious, sad or moody, if they are children who have been compassionate and sensitive and they begin to feel irritated and angry with other people – those are warning signs.” It’s also important to note that these red flags can manifest in the form of physical ailments. If you notice your kids are complaining of a lot of stomach aches, headaches or other conditions that aren’t very specific but prevent them from enjoying their day, these are also signs that something is off.


Start a Conversation Once you’ve determined you believe there’s an emotional shift in your kids, how on earth do you get them to talk? Let’s face facts, it’s often hard enough to get your kids to tell you about their day at school. Talking about feelings may seem nearly impossible. “Most children will talk if they feel their parents will receive what they have to say and if their parent isn’t going to overreact,” says San Antonio. “Convey, ‘I want to hear all that you have to say.’ And also, ‘Let’s figure this out together.’ We can partner with the child to figure it out so they develop that sense of ‘I can do this.’” On the other side of the spectrum, she explains that kids will not speak openly to their parents if they feel the adult is too busy, worried, tired or reactive, which we often are during the holiday season. Don’t make the talk an interrogation, but keep your ears wide open. It’s also imperative not to dismiss their worries. A teenager who has just experienced a breakup doesn’t want to hear that he or she will forget about the heartbreak. What Can We Do? Particularly during the holidays when we’re so overloaded with consumerism, festive foods that probably aren’t the healthiest and a social schedule that may cut into a good night’s sleep, it’s

BEYOND SCHOOL DOORS

“If a child is beginning to have fights with friends, missing school for any reason, slipping grades in school – these are the kinds of acting out that begin to be concerning if they persist,” says San Antonio. “If any of these qualities exist over more than a few days, it’s something to pick up on.”

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For more information about The Park School and our Open House, visit parkschool.org

ages 4-14. We offer after-school programs, generous financial aid, bus service to Beacon Hill/Back Bay/ Wellesley/Newton and free shuttles from nearby T stations.

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Saturday, October 22, 1:00 - 3:00 PM & Tuesday, December 6, 9:00 - 10:30 AM

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www.meadowbrook-ma.org

2016-2017 | BostonParentsPaper.com

33


BEYOND SCHOOL DOORS

ST. MARY OF THE ASSUMPTION SCHOOL 2.9 NURSERY TO GRADE 8 St. Mary of the Assumption School is a richly diverse school in the heart of Brookline Village. Serving students in PreK-Grade 8, we offer a rigorous curriculum, co-curricular classes including band, chorus and state-of-the-art library/media center; after-school clubs and activities, and a child-centered early childhood program for 2.9, KI and KII students. Upcoming Open House November 9 from 9:30-11:00am

Limited openings at certain levels. Call or visit our web site www.stmarys-brookline.org 67 Harvard Street • Brookline 617-566-7184 34

Education & Enrichment Guide | 2016-2017

helpful to get back to the basics. Dial back that calendar if it means you and your children get the rest you need to maintain a happy, healthy schedule. Make sure everyone is getting nutritious meals to combat the holiday sugar high. Families should also try to get outside as much as possible, which admittedly can be difficult during the colder months, but is important for overall well-being. If it feels like your child is in need of professional care, San Antonio urges parents to normalize the act of getting help. “If there’s a change in thinking, acting and/or feeling and if this persists for a period of time, more than a few days or a few weeks, and when the child or teenager isn’t able to bring words to what they’re experiencing, normalize that we all need help at some time,” she says. “There’s still so much stigma around counseling.” San Antonio recommends getting really good referrals when looking for a professional. “Specifically look for someone who knows their way around child and adolescent development and what’s normative and what’s not,” she says. To get the entire family in a better place emotionally and mentally, consider volunteering for those in need (visit BostonParentsPaper.com/ holidayvolunteering). “Do a series of whole family service projects,” she suggests. “That helps to model non-consumer-oriented values for the child.” So get out there, get moving, pay attention and, most importantly, talk. These may not be the easiest conversations, but your child’s well-being is always worth it. ■ Kelly Bryant is associate editor of Boston Parents Paper.


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2016 Annual Boston Education Guide  
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