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Peninsulafamily

A publication for families living on Washington’s North Olympic Peninsula. Produced by the Peninsula Daily News.

INSIDE: Port Angeles School District’s music programs open to all | Kids in Tow: family activities | | Cooperative preschools for parents and kids younger than three | Making family meal time a priority


Kids in Tow: family activities

Matinees

Saturday

Show ing November 19 “The Incredible Journey”

at the port angeles library

The North Olympic Library System’s Port Angeles Library has launched Family Flicks, a monthly Saturday matinee movie series for families that will be offered at 2 p.m. the third Saturday of each month. The program will feature beloved children’s movie classics, discussion and popcorn. “The program is part of the library’s ongoing efforts to provide opportunities for free, family-friendly fun,” says Branch Manager Lisa Musgrove. “Movies can highlight how literature can translate to excitement on the big screen and encourage reading. We want the matinee movies to draw attention to the North Olympic Library System’s large collection of movies. This should be a fun thing to do during those cloudy days of fall.” This program is free of charge. For information on this and other programs for youth, phone 360-4178502, visit the website at www.nols.org or email youth@nols.org. The Port Angeles Main Library is located at 2210 S. Peabody Street in Port Angeles. Family Flicks is sponsored by the Port Angeles Friends of the Library.

Showing December 17 “Pete’s Dragon” (with a sing along)

There will be plenty of popcorn, refreshments and time to talk about the movie.

Keep kids warm & cozy

Puzzles, games and other fun stuff!

This winter with plush character robes and stylish pjs

Cover story begins on Page 4

Something for everyone on your gift list n On the cover:

Strings Class at Franklin Elementary

360-452-5121 2 Peninsula Family, October 2011

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Front row, left to right: Lum Fu, Lauren Rankin and Sienna Porter. Back row: Callie Hall (partly hidden), Natalie Steinman, Brennan Gray and Korbin Kirkman. All are sixth graders at Franklin Elementary School. 1A5135800

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TEENIE QUEENIE

>> Photo courtesy of Port Angeles School District

Peninsula Daily News


Kids in Tow: family activities Volume 1, Issue 3 n October 2011

Legos, puzzles, games and cowboys

We’d like to hear from you

Family literacy day Each year the Clallam County Literacy Council, a program of United Way of Clallam County, and the North Olympic Library System hosts Family Literacy Day at all library branches. Children and parents are invited to come and participate in the fun activities at each library branch and take home a free book to enjoy for years to come. Kids of all ages are welcome — and parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles of all ages, too. All activities, with the exception of the Clallam Bay Library Branch, are on Saturday, Nov. 5. Sequim Library Branch Piece Together a Good Story n Puzzles are the theme in Sequim, and who doesn’t like a good puzzle? Design your own to take home from 10 a.m. to noon.

Please let us know what you’d like to see in the next issue of Peninsula Family, which will be published in January. This quarterly publication welcomes input and new contributors. Educators, parents and professionals in their field are invited to contribute informative and educational articles or columns for consideration. For articles, save as a text document attachment or in the body of an email and send to Jennifer Veneklasen, section editor, at jennifer. veneklasen@peninsuladailynews.com. (Note the period between the first and last name.) For photos, please email or send a CD with jpegs scanned at least at 200 dpi/resolution. We cannot guarantee publication due to space and content considerations. If your submission is accepted, we reserve the right to edit it.

Port Angeles Library Branch Building Bricks and Literacy Peninsula Family is published by the Peninsula Daily News Main office: 305 W. First St., Port Angeles, WA 98362 360-452-2345

n Let your imagination run wild building with Lego blocks from 10 a.m. to noon. Forks Library Branch Reading, Writing & Roping

John C. Brewer editor & publisher Susan Stoneman advertising operations manager Jennifer Veneklasen section editor

n All things western and cowboy is the theme in Forks from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Clallam Bay Library Branch Games Galore n Come visit the library and join a game-a-thon from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4. (Note the different date for the event at this branch)

Reading to children 20 minutes a day from the earliest age helps them be successful in life and gives them 1 million words a year. Families are invited to visit their library branches for family literacy day and get started reading!

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<< Kaytlin Turner practices the cymbals before the All-District Band Concert last spring. Kyle Blankenship, with drumsticks, and Cody Brown are pictured in the background. All are now seventh graders at Stevens Middle School.

On a high note STORY BY JENNIFER VENEKLASEN jennifer.veneklasen@peninsuladailynews.com

With schools around the state facing budget cuts and program hacking, it’s no small miracle that every child in the Port Angeles School District still has the opportunity to take music. General music programs at the district’s five elementary schools are progressive and begin in kindergarten, where students are taught the elements of music including pitch, rhythm, form, harmony, expression, timbre, history and style. They’re also taught to appreciate the culture and music of other countries, says Bev Header, music teacher at Dry Creek Elementary and Stevens Middle School. “All of this may seem overwhelming, but the students are taught in stages, and I think they don’t realize how much they are actually learning at the time,” she says. Because it takes commitment and discipline to master an instrument or to sing, Header says, students learn self-confidence as they discover their own unique abilities. “Music offers an avenue of fulfillment that cannot be found in any other place,” she says. In music programs at Jefferson and Hamilton Elementary schools, teacher Dan Cobb focuses on beat, 4 Peninsula Family, October 2011

rhythm, melody and tempo. “Younger students grasp these elements through songs, dances and games,” he says. “As the students get older, we use these skills with new songs, adding in instruments like the recorder and various percussion instruments.” Students gain music reading skills and the ability to use instruments, especially their voice, Cobb says. Third through sixth graders also get the opportunity to build an instrument to keep. Cobb sees kids in music class find that they can be successful at something, even if they struggle in other academic areas. “I think the biggest lessons they learn are about working together as a group, or community, to create something they couldn’t do on their own,” he says. “They learn about creating music instead of just consuming it from the radio, or from their iPod.” Elementary students participate in general music at all ages, but as they progress to fourth grade they can choose to participate in the strings program where they have the opportunity to begin learning violin, viola, cello or bass. Fourth and fifth grade orchestra classes meet twice a week at the same time as other students who have

decided to remain in general music. A similar structure is in place for sixth graders, though in sixth grade student music options expand and there is a music time slot each school day. This isn’t always the case in other school districts, says James Ray, who teaches the strings orchestra in fourth through sixth grade at Franklin and Roosevelt Elementary schools, and sixth grade at Jefferson. Some schools use “0-hour,” in which students are required to secure their own transportation to meet for orchestra before the beginning of the regular school day. Other districts interrupt classroom time for “pullout” orchestra and band programs in which students who elect these ensembles miss valuable instruction in writing, math or reading while they learn their instruments. “I think what we are able to do in Port Angeles is important in maximizing student learning in all disciplines,” Ray says. Open to all Any student who is able to meet the minimal physical demands of holding and playing an instrument can be successful, Ray says. >> Peninsula Daily News


music programs “It is far more a function of hard work, focus and attention to detail than a function of some innate talent,” he explains. By the end of the year, even fourth graders are able to do some really extraordinary things with their instruments. Though Ray and other music teachers encourage private study in addition to practice in school, those lessons are certainly not required for participation and even without them, all students learn a great deal in the elementary programs. Ray believes that one advantage of a musical education, at least as it is practiced in American schools, is the immediate tangibility of the rewards of a job well done. Music students are expected not only to learn about the different skills that go into performing well — whether on an instrument or with the voice — they must put those skills into action daily. They can immediately see the results of their efforts. “It doesn’t take years of experience or a music degree to know when music sounds ‘good’ or ‘not so good,’” Ray says.

“They [students] learn about creating music instead of just consuming it from the radio, or from their iPod.”

— Dan Cobb, music teacher at Jefferson and Hamilton Elementary schools.

“Rather than always telling students how something did or didn’t sound, I can just as easily ask them and they usually hit it on the head.” The orchestra program in Port Angeles is phenomenally popular among elementary students — to a far greater extent than Ray, who is only in his second year in the Port Angeles School Distric, has seen in other places. “This is a great part of our curricular identity, and it creates some challenges in making sure every student has an instrument,” Ray says. Ray and Ellen Woodward, who teaches fourth through six grade orchestra at Dry Creek and Hamilton and fourth and fifth grade at Jefferson, each have inventories of school instruments reserved for students who are unable to afford to purchase or rent their own. They encourage families to look into rentals or purchases handled locally through either Strait Music or The Violin Shop, and they caution families to be wary of anything found on eBay or Craigslist. There is a basic level of quality an instrument needs to achieve in order to sound any good, Ray says, and most of the eBay instruments he’s seen make it very difficult for students to be successful. Craigslist instruments fare better if they are purchased locally, but it is still no guarantee. Growing up in the music program Sixth grade students have a musical choice: Those who have been in the strings program may remain

there, they can choose to participate in general music which becomes choir at some schools or they can join the band. John Kilzer and Ed Donahue run the sixth grade band programs and do demonstrations and recruiting near the beginning of each school year. Ray admits that he crosses his fingers in hopes that kids who have been in strings will remain in strings, but he understands when some want to further explore their options. “I’m happy as long as they’re doing something musical,” he beams. Advocating for music in schools Kilzer is the elementary band instructor at Jefferson, Roosevelt, Hamilton and Franklin elementary schools. He says that many times the question comes up “Can we afford to offer music at a particular level?” With studies in brain research and learning showing the huge impact music has and how it teaches skills in reading, mathematics, listening, problem solving, teamwork and cooperation, Kilzer wonders if maybe districts shouldn’t be asking a different question: “Can we afford not to offer music?” “Ultimately music helps students for the rest of their lives,” he says. “For a student who struggles in many classes, music might be their reason for coming to school.” continued on Page 6 >>

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Peninsula Family, October 2011 5


music programs >> continued from Page 5 Cobb says there are mountains of data and studies showing how music and P.E. [Physical Education], especially when taught at a young age, shape the brain, giving it new pathways that are used not only for music, but for math, reading, science and other types of future learning. “Those brain pathways are set somewhere around the age of 15, making it crucial to expose kids to music and movement at a young age, while the brain is still developing,” Cobb says. Music educators often advocate for programs by stressing that music learning contributes to learning in other academic areas. While there is truth to that, Ray believes it isn’t the central argument for why schools should keep music programs. Just about any activity learned well, including sports, can support success in other areas, he says. He concedes that students will probably learn as much about teamwork from playing soccer as they would from being in an orchestra class. And while research certainly shows correlations between student test scores and musical activity, it’s hard to tell if kids are scoring better because they are in music, or if the kids who would have scored well anyway just so happen to be interested in music. “I think we can build a stronger case within the community by talking about music not as a ‘extra-curricular’ or ‘co-curricular’ activity, but as a distinct and

<< Corey Gillis, Cole Gormley, Thomas Blevins, Ryan Amiot and Karsten Hertzog play the ukulele for the song “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” during a general music class. The students are now in seventh grade at Stevens Middle School.

equally important subject in its own right,” Ray says. “Music is a basic component of the human experience in all cultures of the world. Music has significant roles in work, leisure, ritual and in bettering our understanding of ourselves. As an art, it is a means of expressing ideas, ideals and feelings. There is no reason for music educators or anyone else to pretend there is a need to justify music in terms of other subjects.” Performances Kilzer says the best evidence of the music program’s impact is to attend an upcoming concert. There are more than 50 performances scheduled this year alone, with most open to the general public. Check out the district’s concert schedule at www. portangelesschools.org/calendar/schedule.htm. More evidence of the elementary music program’s

impact is that at the high school and middle schools hundreds of students participate in band, choir, orchestra, plus select groups in jazz and chamber music. Many students even go on to play in college. Although there’s a decline in overall school enrollment in Port Angeles, it doesn’t seem to impact involvement in the music programs. Each year the All City String Review features every string student in every school in the district. Ray says they hit a student record last year with more than 500 students, fourth through twelfth graders, packed into the high school gym to perform. “Looking around at that many kids, Ron Jones [high school orchestra instructor] commented that the district was ‘going to need to build us a bigger gym,’” Ray says. “How right he was — at our last count, our program across the district is even bigger this year!” n

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fun for the littles

parent-run cooperatives span the peninsula

Photo by Jana Refowitz

growth & development

The general philosophy behind

parent-run cooperatives is to provide a safe, childcentered environment where kids and parents can grow and learn together. There are at least three nonprofit programs for parents and children ages 10 months to 3 ½ years on the North Olympic Peninsula — in Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend. The Port Angeles and Port Townsend Pre-3 programs are affiliated with the Peninsula College Family Life Education Department. Parents in these programs actually earn college credit for attending with their children. Sequim’s parent-run cooperative preschool is not affiliated with Peninsula College, but it offers much of the same programing. In these cooperative, parents or caregivers attend class with their child once a week for two hours. An experienced early education teacher provides a fun, developmentally appropriate curriculum to encourage exploration and brain development. Every class includes circle-song activities, free choice time with art, sensory activities, dance, a snack and gross motor play outside. Parents or guardians participate in all activities with their child. Each week, parents rotate turns as teacher’s assistants helping with supervising activities, clean-up or bringing a snack. During the free choice activity time, parents who are not scheduled to help with the children that day meet in a parent discussion group with a parent education instructor. In Port Angeles and Port Townsend, that instructor is from Peninsula College. Parents and their children play “Jack in the Box” during circle time at the Peninsula Pre-3 Cooperative in Port Angeles.

continued on Page 10 >>

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holidayhappenings

Kids in Tow: family activities

winter festivities are just around the corner The annual Festival of Trees is a forest of magnificently decorated trees and wreaths that will delight parents, grandparents, teenagers and young kids alike. On Friday, Nov. 25, the festivities begin with the popular morning and afternoon Teddy Bear Teas that feature live entertainment, refreshments and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Teas are from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles. For information on tickets, which must be purchased in advance, phone the Olympic Medical Center Foundation at 360-417-7144, or email contact@omhf.org. Family Days is from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27 and is also held at the Vern Burton Community Center. During Family Days you can view the brilliantly decorated trees and wreaths, enjoy musical entertainment and partake in plenty of activities for the entire family. This includes a puppet show, games, crafts, pictures with Santa, hourly entertainment and prize raffles.

and the winner is: A tree titled “Here’s To Mom” brought in $5,700 as the highest bid during last year’s Festival of Trees auction.

Teddy Bear Tea: Laci Fries of Port Angeles gets assistance with a coloring book from her grandmother, Pam Fries, during the annual Teddy Bear Tea at Vern Burton Community Center. The annual Port Angeles event, a component of the Festival of Trees, features snacks and entertainment, as well as photos with Santa Claus. 1A5136908

8 Peninsula Family, October 2011

Photos (2) by Keith Thorpe

Peninsula Daily News


meal time Families that eat together, stay healthy together The benefits of family meal time go far beyond good nutrition.

With busy schedules full of work, sports and other activities, it can be difficult to get the family together for a meal. October is National Eat Better, Eat Together Month, an opportunity for families to start new traditions, make time for one another and eat healthy. According to Martha Marino, M.A., RD, CD, and Sue Butkus, Ph.D., RD, of Washington State University and The Nutrition Education Network of Washington, there are many benefits of eating together that go beyond nutrition. • Time together can open the lines of communication between parents and children and help form stronger, healthier relationships. Family members

have a chance to share details about their day, plan, learn about one another and more. Table talk also allows children to express ideas and learn new vocabulary from adults’ conversations. • Studies show that eating together can contribute to higher academic performance and improved well-being. The stability of family meals and conversation are essential for kids as they develop and learn. • Food dollars can go further with large, homemade meals, rather than fast food or individual dishes. Put it on the calendar The calendar fills up quickly, especially as kids get

older. It’s important to make family time a priority and set a schedule that will work for everyone. If there is only one day that works for each person, make it a weekly habit and work up to two or three times each week, if you can. Breakfast and lunch count as meals, so don’t limit family time to dinner. Prepare meals ahead To avoid falling into the common excuse that everyone’s schedule is too hectic, make meals ahead of time. continued on Page 11 >> Visit 2good2toss.com today and save disposal fees and landfill space.

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cooperatives >> continued from Page 7 Sequim’s parent discussion groups are led by guest speakers, educators and other parents. Discussions cover a range of topics including safety precautions at home, temperament, positive discipline, taking care of yourself, the importance of reading to kids, how children learn to share and other parenting topics that provide support as well as research-based information. Co-ops are run by parents and are successful thanks to involvement from every enrolled family and because of the support, community and friendship kids and parents find through that involvement. Families can join any time during the year. Class times vary — visit the websites listed below for detailed information on each program.

Peninsula Pre-3 Cooperative in Port Angeles

>> Alex O’Brien, Parker Wilkins and Elise Sirguy busy themselves at the sand table while learning those all-important lessons on team building and sharing.

Location: First Baptist Church, 105 W. Sixth St. Ages: 10 months to 3 ½ years. More information: Phone Jana Refowitz at 360452-2524, email prethree@yahoo.com or go to www. pc.ctc.edu/fle/peninsulapre3.asp.

Port Townsend Cooperative Playschool Location: San Juan Baptist Church, 1704 Discovery Road. Ages: 9 months to 3 years. More information: Phone Amanda Timm at 206347-0603, email ptcpmembership@gmail.com or go to www.pc.ctc.edu/fle/ptcoopplayschool.asp.

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meal time >> continued from Page 9 Weekends are a great opportunity to compile a shopping list, purchase groceries and prepare weekday meals. If you have extra time, cook double servings and put the extra food in the freezer, to be used as a backup for busy nights. Get the children involved It’s important to engage the kids and have them participate. Give them the opportunity to provide input on what is served or assign tasks — setting the table, washing the produce, pouring beverages and mixing ingredients. Teenagers could even cook one of the meals. Make it fun Want to make meals more interesting? There are many creative ideas that can keep family time exciting. • Turn off the television, cell phones and the computer and have a conversation. Go around the table and talk about the highs and lows of everyone’s day and ask each other questions. • Plan a theme for different meals — fiesta, dinner and a movie, fondue party, build your own burger or pizza, “favorites meal” (making each fam-

ily member’s preferred dish), and more. • Take turns planning the meals. One night mom or dad can arrange dinner, and the kids can prepare breakfast another day. This will get everyone involved with meal planning, and it will give family members an opportunity to be creative. • Dress up the dinner table, making the occasion seem special. Use candles, table clothes, fancy dishes or props for a themed dinner. This article was provided by TOPS — Take Off Pounds Sensibly — a weight-loss support club and wellness education organization founded more than 63 years ago. The nonprofit organization promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise and wellness information. There are several TOPS meetings on the North Olympic Peninsula. To find one, go to www.tops.org or call 1-800-932-8677.

Mealtime Toolkit Families make eating together memorable in many ways. Some families have candlelight dinners. Others shop together so that each person can select a vegetable for family soup that they make and eat together. Some try foods from other countries. Others celebrate and share family memories around a traditional family recipe. Go to www.nutrition.wsu.edu/ebet/ for an “Eat Better, Eat Together” tool kit with ideas for promoting positive family meals.

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