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First Steps WASHTENAW Ann Arbor

Parenting Pathways A bimonthly publication of the Ann Arbor Public Schools • Aug–Oct 2013, Vol. 12, No. 1

Fall Class Sign-Up Fall Session is Sept. 9 through Dec. 14, 2013. Registration is now through Sept 9. Detailed directions are found on our website.

Marj’s Corner Parent Advisory Group/Financial Update On August 11 some wonderful parents and staff met with me and my supervisor Jenna Bacolor, director of Community Education & Recreation, to learn more details about First Steps’ financial situation for the coming school year. We lost about 1⁄4 of our yearly budget due to cuts in grant funding and we’re creating a plan to make up the difference. I am confident we will be successful and we already have a fundraiser scheduled for September 15! (See back page for details.) Some of our other ideas are to improve our marketing, create committees and enlist parents to help with activities, and to consider ways to expand our class offerings, birthday parties and room rentals successfully. I have revised our flyers and brochures and adjusted our fee scale slightly. I’m working on sharing First Steps information through the elementary schools on a regular basis and looking to share with pediatrician’s offices and other community programs as well. We continue to have 25%, 50% and 100% scholarships available to all Ann Arbor families and remain committed to our mission of providing information and support to all families in our community. Next Advisory Meeting: Thursday, September 19 4:00–5:00 in our playroom at the Family Center If you are interested in joining us for the next parent advisory meeting, it will be held at the Family Center in our playroom so it works to also bring children! We will be focusing our efforts in 3 areas: getting involved with Great Lakes Scrip, organizing a special event fundraiser, and working on creating a marketing action plan within a new marketing group. If any of these sound interesting to you, please let me know. Involvement includes suggestions through email, attending meetings, or just doing the work as needed. Thanks for your support! hyde@aaps. or 734-994-4949.

Six-Week Half Session Because families don’t always find us at the beginning of a session and fall is so long, we offer families another opportunity to participate. The Fall Half session begins on October 28. There will be some new classes offered or you may join a class on the make-up list. Please check your classroom or the website to find out more and let your friends know too. If you want to take an additional class with your child(ren), the fee is just $65. The regular fee is $78 if this is your only class. Enrollment begins October 14th. You will signup and pay directly with either Sherri or me. There is no online sign-up for this. New families attend an orientation to sign up. The class schedule will be posted in early October.

Karma Yoga Fund Raiser for First Steps Scholarship Program Victoria Cendrowski and her daughter Chelsea work for Rec&Ed teaching a variety of yoga classes. Several years ago Chelsea and Victoria created Karma Yoga, a “free” Sunday morning class to raise funds for community groups. Since then, every month a different organization is chosen to receive the entire amount collected. First Steps is the September recipient! See back page for details.

Good News! Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor accepted my grant application and awarded us $1,000 to purchase much-needed new equipment for our classrooms. I was invited to attend one of their Monday lunch meetings in July to thank them and it was a delightful experience. Please consider going to the Kiwanis Thrift Store on Saturday mornings to support this generous organization in their efforts to provide additional resources for our community. You’ll find some great deals too!!

More Good News! Ann Arbor Rec&Ed is granting us $10,000 to help with our budget for the coming year. We appreciate tremendously that we are part of Rec&Ed and are thankful that they are able to support us!

News to Use Make-up Policy Possible classes for make-ups are posted on our website and in your classroom by the second week of classes. Make-ups must be arranged 24 hours or more ahead. Look on the website under Classes. Then call or email Sherri and let her know your plans and we’ll let the teacher know you’re coming. Please do not just come to a class. You may do two make-up classes during the Fall session for each class you take. Make-ups are also given any time we cancel a class. If there are extenuating circumstances, please call and discuss them with either Sherri or Marj. Thank you!

Birthday Parties! Interested in renting a wonderful space for your child’s birthday party? Try our classroom at the Family Center as it’s a great place to have a relaxed celebration with your family and friends. We supply a staff person to make sure things go smoothly and to provide a short circletime for some entertainment. The cost is only $115 for a 1½ hour party. Our room is available on Saturday afternoons or late afternoons or evenings during the week when we do not have classes. This is available to First Steps families, not the general community, and all proceeds are used to purchase new equipment for our rooms. Please call Sherri at 994-2300 x53186 to find out more.

Upcoming dates: September 9: Fall session begins September 15: Karma Yoga Fundraiser September 26: Parent Talk Meeting October 10: Parent Talk series begins October 11: Family Fun Sing Along w/Lisa October 14: Half session sign-up begins October 28: Fall Half session begins November 19: Music Together Lottery November 25: No classes M-S December 2: Winter Sign-up begins December 14: Fall sessions ends

Parent Talk! Thursday, Sept. 26, 6:30–8:00 p.m., Preschool Family Room Presenter: Ann Stalhandske, M.Ed & Parent Educator The Parent Talk System is a style of communicating with children that creates emotionally healthy family relationships. It is a skill-based program that teaches parents a series of verbal skills and language patterns to help them raise responsible, respectful children while reducing stress, strain, and family conflict. This evening is an overview of the series of classes we’ll offer for 6 weeks beginning on October 10. Join us to learn more about this helpful way of interacting your child and consider joining the 6-week classes too! Childcare is offered for up to 10 children over the age of 18 months. $3/child and please call Sherri early to save a spot! To register and for more information, please call (994-2300 x53186) or email (

Family Sing-along with Lisa Friday, Oct. 11, 6:00–6:45 p.m. Family Center, in the Family Room Looking for something fun to do on a Friday night? Join us for our annual Sing Along! Lisa leads us through many interactive songs with an autumn theme. Please contact Sherri to let us know you’re coming. Limited to 25 families so call early. Hope to see you there!

Scholarships Do you have a scholarship with Rec&Ed? Please check and make sure it’s up-to-date. If you applied more than a year ago, you will need to apply again now because they are only good for 1 year. If you think you’ll qualify, please apply now so you’re all set for our next session. It takes about 2 weeks and is how we determine your income and place you on the sliding-fee scale. Our scale does NOT match Rec&Ed’s. If Rec&Ed says you don’t qualify, you may still get a 25% discount from us. Please talk with us directly when you get your letter to confirm what you’ll pay to participate. You’ll have an idea by looking at our scale yourself too. This scholarship is good for a year and works for your whole family for any class or sport through Rec & Ed. Questions? Call Marj. Please LIKE us on Facebook! Marj often sends out quick notices about upcoming events. There is a link at the top of our home page.

Did you know? Advertising dollars help pay for newsletter distribution costs. Contact Marj Hyde for information about placing an ad in Parenting Pathways.

The Joys of Siblings Siblings are very important to many of us. Almost 80% of children grow up with at least one brother or sister. Even though they may not get along all the time, siblings play very positive roles in each other’s lives. Brothers and sisters learn their first lessons about getting along with others from one another. They are friends, playmates, and keepers of secrets. They help one another learn to relate to the outside world. They even protect and watch out for each other.

How you can promote good sibling relationships • Do not compare your children in front of them. It is natural to notice differences between your children. Just try not to comment on these in front of them. It is easy for a child to think that he is not as good or as loved as his sibling when you compare them. Remember, each child is a special individual.

When brothers and sisters do not get along, their arguments can cause a parent to feel frustrated and angry. Each child also makes different demands on you. Your relationship with one child may lead the other to feel that you are playing favorites.

• As much as possible, stay out of your children’s arguments. You may have to step in and settle a spat between toddlers or preschoolers. Older children, however, will probably settle an argument peacefully if left alone. If your children try to involve you, explain that they are both responsible for creating the problem and for ending it. Praise your children when they solve their arguments, and reward good behavior.

It may be hard to keep the peace in your family. Here are some tips to help you understand why your children get along the way they do, and how you can help them learn to live together in peace.

• Respect your child’s privacy. When it is necessary to punish or scold, do it with the child alone in a quiet, private place. When possible, do not embarrass one child by scolding him in front of the others.

Why siblings get along the way they do

• Use regular family meetings for all family members to express their thoughts and feelings, as well as to plan the week’s events.

Many things affect relationships between brothers and sisters, including personality, age, gender, birth order, and the number of years between them. Parents often wonder how children growing up in the same home can be so different. The fact is that siblings are usually more different than alike. Even though they have the same parents, each child’s genetic makeup is different. Their experiences are also not the same. As a result, each child develops his own personality. Birth order and family size also affect how children behave. The experience of an only child is different from that of a child in a larger family. And an older child’s experience is different from a younger one’s in the same family. Because of birth order, family size, and individual experiences, no two children view the family the same way. How your children are spaced affects how well they get along, too. Children who are less than 2 years apart often have more conflict than children who are spaced further apart. This may be because they compete over the same “turf.”

Treating each child as an individual Some parents feel it is important to always treat each child the same way. They do not want one child to think they love the other more. However, treating your children differently does not have to mean you are playing favorites. Each child is an individual, and you should treat him that way.

Sibling relationships are very special. We form our earliest bonds with our brothers and sisters. No one else shares the same family history. By helping your children learn to value, love and respect their siblings, you are giving them a great gift: the gift of a lifelong friend. —Adapted from Sibling Relationships: Guidelines for Parents, a publication of The American Academy of Pediatrics

Scholastic Books HELP! Vidya is no longer able to be our scholastic coordinator. She’s been doing it for 3 years and it’s time to ask others to help us out. She’s happy to teach you how! Email me at if you could help us next year and email Vidya at if you have questions. Scholastic Books will be back online this fall. Check it out online at Scholastic’s website at www.scholastic. com/bookclubs. Use the Class Activation Code GJW4K and follow the directions. Order form(s) may also be turned in to Sherri at the First Steps office with a check. Please make checks payable to Scholastic Book Club (not First Steps). It’s a great way to order wonderful, inexpensive books for toddlers and preschoolers and support First Steps too.

Karma Yoga — First Steps Fundraiser for Scholarship Program!

First Steps in Ann Arbor 2775 Boardwalk Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Sunday, September 15, 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. County Farm Park, 2230 Platt Rd entrance (past the Perennial Gardens on the Inner Loop)

First Steps phone extensions: 994-2300 x

Email addresses:

Marj Hyde, Director ...........................994-4949 Sherri Polovick, Registration & Billing.... 53186 Ann Stalhandske.................................... 53182 Shanda Trent.......................................... 53187 Yvette Daniels ........................................ 53181

hyde firststeps stalhans trents danielsy

Join Victoria Cendrowski and her daughter Chelsea for an amazing outdoor yoga experience. All levels of yoga abilities are welcome! Please bring your mat, water bottle and a big beach towel. In case of bad weather the alternate location will be the Cultural Arts Building Dance Studio, 1220 S Forest. Suggested donation is $10 although any amount is accepted. Please bring your tax deductible checks made out to AAPS or First Steps–Ann Arbor. Share widely please!!! To register email Victoria at


WISD consultants: Su-Fen Lin Asian populations Mayra Prince............................(734) 883-9452 Spanish speakers Karma Basha ...........................(734) 320-6263 Arabic speakers Newsletter editing & design services donated in part by Pilcrow Text & Design Parenting Pathways is published bimonthly by the Ann Arbor Public Schools

Only children are wonderful too! In the past, large families were commonplace, with an average of 3 children being the common statistic. Having only one child was rare, and that child was often assumed to be a spoiled brat. In recent years, however, only children are becoming more common. Even so, many people still feel that having an only child is undesirable and that having at least two children is necessary for “normal” childhood development to occur. Although there are some disadvantages to having an only child, there are also many advantages to the situation. Only children seem to do better in school than children from average-sized families. This could be due to several factors. For example, parents have more time to help an only child with his homework. With several children, parents may only be able to quickly check the answers to make sure that they are correct. Only children often have better language and communicative skills than their peers. This is due to the fact that as the child is growing up, she is spending much more time around adults than a child with several siblings. It is only natural that the child would pick up adult language patterns and vocabulary. Only children are also more likely to attend college. This is due in part to higher scores in high school. It is also a result of parents of an only child having more money

available to pay tuition. With college costs today, families with more than one child may have difficulties sending any of them to college. Only children also never have to suffer from sibling jealousy, while some children from average size families carry this hostility into adulthood. These only children also may enjoy a closer relationship to their parents than other children, since they spend so much one-on-one time with them. There are certain areas that parents of only children need to be careful with. Only children may have more difficulty in social situations with their peers. Children with siblings have built-in opportunities to learn how to interact with other children, while the only child spends most of his childhood with adults. Enrolling your child in a group daycare center or making play dates with other children when your child is young can help him learn to deal with his peers. There are many wonderful things about having only one child, and how you support your child’s social learning can make all the difference.

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First Steps Newsletter