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September 2015




How Children Learn Amy Gilliam, 2, of Providence

Nursery design trends Complex Learners Pregnancy and exercise

Win tickets to the Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular!


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine



Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015


Contents September 2015 / vol. 1 / no. 2



6 A Note from the Publisher We have exciting news!

12 My Turn Benefits of volunteering in schools.

14 Familytopia Managing stress as a family.

16 The Healthy Child Choosing an afterschool program.

20 Get Organized! Make mornings easier.

22 Ask Dr. Day Care Your questions answered.

24 Question of the Month Readers’ thoughts on back to school.

25 All About Baby Trends in nursery design.

26 Education Recognizing complex learners.

28 Kids of the Month Karate and sports heroes.

30 An American Girl in

32 Calendar Things to do in September.


Features 8 Cover Feature:

How Children Learn

Studying Rhode Island’s children to create a better future.

18 Pregnancy and Exercise

What can you do while pregnant?

Blackstone Valley

Follow in the footsteps of the American Girl® 2015 Girl of the Year™ doll.

SPECIAL SECTIONS 21 Directory of Advertisers They make the magazine possible and keep it free. Give them some love! 29 Win Free Stuff! Enter online to win tickets to the Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo.

On the web

We are working on our website and the magazine is available digitally online (great for tablet, phone, or computer, and you can join our Facebook page). Visit and September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


A Note from the Publisher


s hard as it is to believe, summer is winding down. (We can still go to the beach in September, right?!) We’ve been school-clothes shopping, snapped up those 17-cent notebooks, picked out the perfect backpacks, and readied ourselves for what comes next. Some of us are wiping away tears as we drop off our youngsters for their first education experience. Others are hiding tears as they unload packed cars into dorm rooms. And most of us are trying to think of new ways to make homework fun. Here at Rhode Island Parent Magazine, we are also entering a new era, graduating to the next level if you will. Yes, this is only our second issue, but we are already growing and getting stronger! We have entered into a partnership with Rhode Island’s other family magazine, Parent Bug, so that together we can bring you an even better source of businesses, entertainment, and information you can use. Starting in October, all of the great stuff in Parent Bug will merge into Rhode Island Parent Magazine. This means contests to win free stuff (we have our first one in this issue!), additional advertisers to check out, and more places to find the magazine throughout RI and into southeastern Massachusetts. Best of all, Nicole Colter, owner of Parent Bug, will bring us her 12 years of experience providing information to RI parents and giving businesses a great way to reach their customers. Nicole’s experience will inform our vision and direction as we move forward. Her experience is invaluable, because we want to be around for a long time and we know that providing you the best magazine possible is the way to do that. We are now moving to a monthly schedule, so look for our next issue in October. Please visit our advertisers and tell them you saw them in Rhode Island Parent Magazine. Their support keeps the magazine available to you for free! As always, we want to hear what you think, and welcome your story ideas or suggestions. You can reach me at Happy fall!

Susan Gale

57 Rolfe Square, Suite 10094 Cranston, Rhode Island 02910 (401) 337-9240 Publisher/Editor Susan Gale Art Director/Graphic Designer Rob Kenney Copy Editor Sheila Flanagan Business Manager Lisa Koulibaly Advertising Sales (401) 337-9240 This issue’s cover photo was taken by Kimberly Dobosz of Kimberly Dobosz Photography. Publisher photo taken by Keith Jochim. Rhode Island Parent Magazine is published monthly by Gale Force Communications. Unless specifically noted, no advertisers, products, or services are endorsed by the publisher. Editorial submissions welcome.

©2015 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.

Like us on Facebook and Twitter: @RIParentMag


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Cover Story By Susan Gale

How Children Learn: Studying child development in the Ocean State


e are all concerned about our kids’ development. Will they succeed socially, academically, and in life in general? And what can we, as parents, do to help them? Much of the child development knowledge used today comes from past research by social scientists. Future choices about child development will come from studies of children that are being completed today. Rhode Island, with its premier universities and colleges, is playing a role in tomorrow’s knowledge with many child development studies occurring around the state. Researchers are studying a wide variety of topics, including: how pretending affects learning, early language development, word comprehension, memory, the development of attention and control over behavior, and causal reasoning. Rhode Island families have the opportunity to contribute to this research – and play an important role in adding to the knowledge base about children, so that the future brings new opportunities for kids to learn and succeed.

Important work that looks like playing

At Kid Think, a social science lab at Providence College, toddlers and preschoolers participate in a variety of tests that study pretending. For instance, can a young child understand how a crazy, made-up tool they’ve never seen before – a “Glark” – is used if an adult pretends with it first? Students in psychology, education, counseling, or other related fields perform much of the research. It’s important work, but it looks just like playing. For instance, this study, for very young children, examines if they can recognize and follow other people’s pretending to a logical conclusion – a skill usually developed during the second year of life: Amy Gilliam, 2, of Providence, sits in a booster seat at a table across from a researcher, who presents two small duck figures and pretends to pour water over one of them. She then hands the ducks and a towel to Amy and asks her to clean off the one with the water on it. She repeats this pretending with cats and glue and dogs and cereal.


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

Understanding pretend thought may provide a view into the human mind, leading to future results that will help children. “Knowing how we are able to do this may help us to understand the development of other cognitive skills like scientific reasoning, social skills like empathy, or creative abilities,” said Jennifer Van Reet, Providence College Associate Professor of Psychology, who oversees the Kid Think lab. “It may contribute to understanding how best to educate young children and how to help individuals who have difficulty pretending or distinguishing between reality and fantasy.”

The ABCs of pretending

Children begin pretending between their first and second birthdays, right around the time they begin walking, according to Van Reet. At about age two they can begin to substitute objects – so a spoon can be an airplane. By age three, their pretending is getting more sophisticated, for instance with tea parties. Pretending peaks between the ages of four and five when about 70% of free time is spent on this activity. The amazing thing about pretending is that is crosses cultures and continents. “There are cultures that discourage pretending, such as some religious traditions and groups like the Mennonites, but those kids still pretend,” Van Reet said. “Children begin pretending as toddlers, but it is wellknown that they don't seem to understand that pretending involves the mind until age six or so. For example, preschoolers claim that you can pretend to be something just by acting like it or looking like it, even if you don't know anything about it. My study is probing whether a more sophisticated understanding of pretending is present earlier using non-verbal measures,” she said. “Many people assume pretending is a good way to teach young children new information. I'm skeptical that this is true. Children may view all information in pretending as "just pretend" and assume it has nothing to do with the real world,” she added. “I'm testing whether preschoolers can learn different types of information – like a new prosocial action [helping others] or a new causal rule – in pretending.”

Advice for parents: Pretending is good

Van Reet’s work has taught her a few things that can help parents. “In general, respect the power of play and don’t be afraid of children who pretend a lot,” she said, noting that children may sometimes point their fingers like guns or have imaginary friends. “Children have a good ability to perceive between pretend and real. Parents shouldn’t be worried that it’s a sign of compromised mental health or developmental delay. In fact when children play and pretend more, they gain an increased understanding between pretend and reality,” she said. Van Reet points out that pretending and playing are correlated with good outcomes later in life, such as improved social skills and doing well in school. An important element of good pretenders is the ability to maintain self-control, also known as inhibitory control, both physically and emotionally. This is an area in which parents can contribute to their child’s development. “Self-control is a better indicator of success than IQ,” Van Reet said. “Being able to wait, sit, and think, increases the quality of pretend play. You need mental control to pretend.”

Practice pretending and self-control

Van Reet suggests that playing games such as Simon Says and Red Light, Green Light are great ways to help your child develop self-control. “There’s no harm in playing pretend with your kids. They play at a higher level when they play with people more experienced in pretending,” she said. She also says that games requiring self-control can be helpful because it is like a muscle – the more you practice, the higher level of self-control you can achieve. She references the “marshmallow study,” in which researchers put out a highly desired food such as a marshmallow and ask the child to wait to eat it. “Four-years-olds that can wait the longest have the highest SAT scores,” she said. No one yet knows if those higher SAT scores are actually caused by that self-control ability, but it’s worth further study because there is a correlation between the two. Self-control can also become fatigued, which is why some people have less ability to make good choices at the end

of the day. Most of all, Van Reet says to parents, don’t make any of this difficult or too intense for kids. “Waiting can be a game,” she said. “None of this has to be hard or work. It can all be a game.” Parents shouldn’t worry if their kids don’t pretend a great deal, because all children are different and some prefer more rough and tumble games. Children who do not pretend at all can be checked for conditions such as autism, but Van Reet says your pediatrician should be looking for that and catching it at a young age.

Participation is needed and fun

Van Reet estimates that over the last six years, 1,000 children have participated in studies at her lab, in local schools, or at the Providence Children’s Museum. She has published her work in journals and worked with her Providence College students to present at professional conferences. It is common for researchers at PC, Brown, and Rhode Island College to communicate and work together. “We’re really more of a community” than competitors, said Van Reet. Details on some of these other studies can be found on page 10. Van Reet would like parents to know that Rhode Island child development studies are not what you might think they are, and that parents are fully involved and informed about the studies before participating. “The biggest thing to convey is that, even though research might sound scary, we’re not evil people in lab coats that are going to shock your children,” she said. “We make it fun. We really appreciate the parents.”  Kid Think is looking for typically developing children. Each study has its own age requirements and restrictions. To get involved, register online at or call (401) 865-2342. See more studies on page 10. Susan Gale is publisher/editor of Rhode Island Parent Magazine

September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Your chance to contribute to child development knowledge

Study: Numerous studies, including relation between causal learning and scientific knowledge; age 18 months to 10 years

Many studies of child development are being completed around Rhode Island. Below are a few that your family can participate in. Contact the study through an online form or phone call and researchers will contact you if your child fits a study they are conducting.

Study: Very early language development; infant to age 3 Researcher: James Morgan, Professor, Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University Summary: Looks at early development of perceptual skills and conceptual capacities that are necessary for learning language. One major effort is a longitudinal study that follows infants from three months to three years and beyond, in which the relations between early skills, capacities and language experience, word learning in toddlerhood, later language development, and acquisition of academic skills, is investigated. Results: Early deficits in language development are predictive of later deficiencies in school achievement, which in turn are related to lifelong poorer outcomes. By improving understanding of individual differences in essential skills that are typically mastered during infancy, a foundation can be laid for the creation and improvement of early intervention efforts that have proven most successful. Requirements to participate: Infant to age three, who have no known hearing or neurological impairments and who are exposed primarily to English. How to get involved: Complete and submit form at or call 401-863-2377. Study: To examine the course of word comprehension across the second year; infants, toddlers, and preschool children Researcher: Beverly A. Goldfield, Professor, Psychology Dept./ Director, Rhode Island College Infant and Child Lab Summary: When children begin to talk at around 12 months, their vocabularies are typically dominated by nouns (e.g., mommy, daddy, bottle). Words that encode actions are verbs (e.g., walk, jump, eat) and children begin to use these types of words later, at around 18 months. This study looks as whether or not the gap between nouns and verbs is also evident in comprehension. The goal of current research is to examine the course of verb comprehension across the second year. Results: Early language development is a significant predictor of later literacy and academic skills. It is especially important to understand the course of early word comprehension, which begins as early as six months of age. Requirements to participate: Children age 12 to 20 months learning to speak English. How to get involved: Contact the Rhode Island Infant and Child Lab at 401-456-4603 or by emailing 10

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

Researcher: David Sobel, Professor, Brown University Summary: Studying the relation between children's causal reasoning and their scientific knowledge and learning capacities, how parent-child interaction affects causal learning and reasoning, how children learn from others, what children know about pretending and learning from play, and children's understanding of learning and teaching. Results: A lack of scientific literacy is the U.S. is odd because young children have strong causal reasoning capacities. They enter elementary school with many of the necessary abilities to learn and reason about science. Yet, when assessed in elementary school and beyond, their scientific literacy is poor. This study seeks to answer why there is this discrepancy, and also look at the role that parents and parental interaction might play in such reasoning abilities. Requirements to participate: Healthy children between 18 months and 10 years old. How to get involved: Contact or go to the Providence Children's Museum during Mind Lab days. Study: The development of attention, control over behavior, and memory; age 2 months through adulthood Researcher: Dima Amso, Associate Professor, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Brown University Summary: Attention is about how children select certain things to learn and filter distraction. Memory processes determine how well they can use the learned information for future action and control over behavior. This is studied with multiple safe methods such as eye tracking, which allows researchers to determine what even the youngest infants are looking at as they learn and remember. In older children, researchers may gather data about the brain as children are performing computer games and tasks. Results: Achievement in school and life depends on how well these attention and memory skills develop, and how they are influenced by the environment. Once researchers understand the typical development of these skills, they can apply this knowledge to help children with attentional or behavioral control problems reach their goals. Requirements to participate: Two months through adulthood. How to get involved: Complete and submit form at or call 401-863-7668. 

September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


My Turn By Tracey Smith

The hidden benefits of

volunteering in schools This is your space to express your thoughts. To contribute a "My Turn" column, contact


Every little bit helps

n occasion, people who are familiar with my family will notice that we are at an event without our youngest daughter, who is three. It is extremely rare that she is not attached to me or to her three older sisters. When people ask where our little one is, I explain that she is with our “second family” – a special friend of ours whom I first met 15 years ago when she was my oldest daughter’s kindergarten teacher! Over the years, this now-retired kindergarten teacher’s family and my family have grown extremely close. It is amazing to think that the relationship started when I volunteered in my daughter’s classroom and, without thinking much about it at the time, my once-a-week volunteer duty turned into so much more. Admittedly, I signed up to volunteer in my daughter’s classroom as a mechanism to deal with the detachment that school meant for me and my first-born pride and joy. I would bring my four-year-old daughter with me to my five-year-old’s class once a week.

There were certainly times over the years that volunteering regularly was not feasible for me. Still, I always made a point of introducing myself to each teacher and offering assistance. There were years that I helped out at home with menial tasks of cutting things, cooking, shopping, and helping teachers prepare lessons. Other times I’d go in and just make copies. Some teachers were more than satisfied with sending help in the form of supplies that were on their needs list. For me, the benefits of classroom volunteerism have been gratifying. I’ve been able to help out in classrooms that truly needed the extra help. Budget constraints, everchanging demographics, state-mandated requirements, and special needs of students pose significant stressors in our classrooms. It has been truly rewarding to give students oneon-one extra help and meet students that I would have never known without volunteering. It has been an asset to learn about different teaching styles and often times, by being in the school, I have requested teachers that seem to best fit my child’s learning needs.

Setting a good example

Volunteering assists your children too

The benefits of my volunteer time were immeasurable. My oldest immediately recognized that I was on board with her venturing to school; my second oldest tested out school and got to know her future teachers. The teachers allowed me to work with other children and witness the blossoming friendships that my daughter was making. Most importantly, I was reassured that my darlings were growing up and they would be just fine out of my sight for a few hours a day! So it began – the school age years. I threw myself out there as much as possible to learn the ropes of parenting school-aged children. I participated in special events, took on a leadership role in the PTA, attended building and zoning committee meetings, joined a parent’s advisory committee to aid in the superintendent selection process, and rallied behind important teacher-related issues. Volunteering in the classroom was a major motivation to become involved in other areas. But not everyone has time to donate during the day on a regular basis, right? 12

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

My own children have learned the importance of reaching out and helping others, too. In some instances, volunteering has helped to minimize bullying against my children. Classmates soon get to know that you are “THAT” parent who will be in contact with the school at the drop of a hat and typical negative behaviors towards my children have been thwarted. Over the last 15 years, I have made some great friends – former teachers to my children. These teachers have not only taught my kids educational and social lessons, but continue to advise and care about each child’s success within the school system. Volunteering and getting to know the place and people your child spends nine months of the year with is a great way to learn the positives and negatives of your school system. Each teacher and school had different ways I could help. So whatever works for you – get involved!  Tracey Smith, of Woonsocket, is a mother of four daughters whose ages range from three to 20 years old.

September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Familytopia (noun) fam·i·ly·to·pi·a / the balance of work and family By Johanna Corcoran

Make this school year less


he August/September transition can bring up a lot of emotion and stress for both parents and kids. We often think of stress as something that affects adults; however, today’s on-the-go lifestyle can put stress and strain on kids, too. Prolonged or toxic stress in children may result in a lifetime of damage. When a child’s body is constantly managing the chemicals produced by the stressed body’s “fight-or-flight” reaction, the wear and tear of these chemicals accelerates aging and disrupts developing brain circuits. Most importantly, a stressed mind has trouble learning and retaining new information – not an optimal start to a new school year. Symptoms of stress overload are usually very evident in children, although they might be mistaken for other issues. For example, a child who frequently blows up over nothing may be having problems at school or at home. Other signs of stress are jumpiness, nervousness, or poor concentration, which may affect schoolwork. Children who are stressed may stop eating or get sick more frequently. The constant adrenaline rush of stress might also keep them awake at night. The best way to tackle stress is to confront it head on as a family. Ask everyone to take this quiz and then share your answers while you brainstorm stress-coping techniques. This is a great way to start a family conversation and often, just giving family members an opportunity to express stress will make coping that much easier! Johanna Corcoran, of Smithfield, is a mother and owner of Familytopia, which provides resources to help companies’ employees achieve better work/life balance. 14


Family Stress Test 1. When you get up in the morning, do you look forward to the experiences your day will bring?

6. When something bad happens during your day, you:

A: Yes B: Sometimes C: No

A: Talk to family members about your feelings. B: Talk to friends about your feelings. C: Keep your feelings to yourself.

2. How does getting ready for school or work in the morning make you feel?

7. Your favorite way to relax after a stressful day is:

A: Well prepared B: Slightly disorganized C: Frantic or scattered 3. When you have a new assignment or project, do you:

A: Make a to-do list and timeline for what you need to do? B: Think about the project in your head? C: Forget about the project until you’re reminded? 4. If you have a presentation or project due at school or work, do you:

A: Finish it a few days before it is due, so you can feel relaxed the day it’s due? B: Finish it the night before because you think you work well under pressure? C: Finish it the day it’s due and feel upset and unprepared? 5. Do you know how to tell if you are feeling signs of stress?

A: Yes, I know how I feel when I am stressed out. B: Sometimes I have a hard time knowing the difference between feeling stressed and excited. C: I don’t usually know I am stressed until I have a big fight with someone, or start to cry.

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

A: Spending time with family and/or friends. B: Watching TV or reading. C: Alone in your room. 8. I feel like I have extra activities in my life that cause more stress.

A: False B. Sometimes true C. True 9. Do you wish you could have less stress in your life?

A: No, I’m managing okay. B. Sometimes C: Yes

Calculate Your Score:

Number of “A” answers: ________ Number of “B” answers: ________ Number of “C” answers: ________ To see your score results, turn to page 29.

September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


The Healthy Child By Kate Messier and Diane S. Nahabedian

It’s 3 p.m.

Do you know where your child is?


 Staffing: Talk to staff that will be spending three or more hours every day with your child. Parents should look for staff that are trained in working with school-age children and can provide support and guidance during the afterschool hours. Make sure staff are trained in CPR and first aid, and are provided with ongoing training opportunities by their organization.

day on the job can be stressful, but the added concern of where your child is once the school day ends can be overwhelming to even the calmest of parents. Everyone finds it challenging to choose an afterschool program, from parents starting their first search to those wanting to switch from one program to another. Thankfully, today there are numerous afterschool programs to choose from that give parents the peace of mind of knowing their child is in a safe and nurturing environment.

 Accreditation: Accreditation of a site is important. In Rhode Island, all sites must undergo a vigorous accreditation process through Bright Stars.

Demand for afterschool programs is growing

Open and closed policies: Many parents must work during Monday holidays, teacher conferences, and even snow days, so during the visit, check on the open and closed policies.

The Washington, D.C.-based Afterschool Alliance writes in their “2015 America After 3PM” special report that over the past 10 years, the United States has experienced a significant growth in the overall demand for afterschool programs. They report that a decade ago, 6.5 million children were in an afterschool program and the parents of more than 15.6 million children wanted to find appropriate afterschool care. Today, those numbers have jumped to more than 10 million children in afterschool programs, and the parents of more than 19 million children would sign their child up for a program if one were available. Afterschool programs are more than a babysitting service. Today, a good afterschool care program offers academic enrichment and support, programs in creative arts and often, due to reduced recess time in many schools, health and wellness activities to keep children active. The best afterschool program is the one in which a child grows, develops, learns new skills, makes new friends, and in turn, succeeds in school.

 Relationship to your child’s school: Many afterschool programs that are not organized by the school will still have a great relationship with the child’s school. This insures that staff works in unison with a child’s teacher to align out-of-school times with classroom learning. If this is important to you as a parent, ask the afterschool program about their relationship with your child’s school.  Transportation: Most parents cannot leave the workplace in the middle of an afternoon to transport their child from school to an afterschool site, so many schools offer a program on the school grounds. The program may be run by the school or another company. A program off the school grounds should offer transportation from the school to the afterschool site, saving parents the transportation concern.

Where do you begin when choosing an afterschool program?

Parents should consider visiting three or four afterschool programs before deciding what is best for their child. As a parent tours an afterschool program, it is wise to watch the children currently enrolled in the program and assess if they look happy. Listen for lively sounds throughout the afterschool space, and notice if there are enough activities keeping the children of a variety of ages engaged. Here are some other tips for choosing the best afterschool program for your child: Safety: Discern if the indoor and outdoor spaces are clean and have safe, usable equipment. 


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

 Parent involvement: It is often a good idea to ask if you as a parent can be involved in your child’s afterschool program. Most good programs want parent involvement, so don’t hesitate to ask about a parent committee.

The most important consideration, of course, is the happiness of your child. You know that if you child is happy in an afterschool program, you will be happy too – and maybe, a little less stressed around 3 p.m. every day.  Kate Messier is the director of program services and Diane S. Nahabedian is the chief marketing/membership officer at the YMCA of Greater Providence.

September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Feature Story By Jacklyn O'Hara

Pregnancy &exercise:

Train for the most athletic event of your life! Major changes in your pregnant body

This article is written to be informational. Always consult your doctor or medical professional before engaging in any kind of exercise while pregnant or after delivery.

There are many changes that take place in your body during each trimester, and knowing how to exercise safely is important. Here are some changes related to exercise:


 Relaxin, a hormone produced during pregnancy, causes the ligaments that support your joints to be relaxed, making them more at risk of injury. A longer warm-up allows your body more time to produce synovial fluid to properly lubricate your joints and decrease risk of injury.

hat is safe to do during pregnancy?” It’s a question asked by many women, especially first-time moms. Depending on who you talk to, the answer can vary quite a bit – cultural beliefs, generational attitudes, and past experiences all influence the advice given. While there are certain things that need to be avoided or limited during pregnancy, for most women, exercise is not one of them! In fact, there are fantastic benefits of exercise during pregnancy, including increased energy, improved mood, improved posture, control of excess weight gain, promotion of muscle strength and endurance, better sleep, and reducing some of the normal discomforts associated with pregnancy (backaches, constipation, bloating). Exercise may even help to prevent gestational diabetes.

 Lower back pain can be caused by stretched and weakened abdominal muscles that are overcompensating for your growing uterus, which expands to 1,000 times its normal size! Exercises such as planks, opposite arm and leg raises, and push-ups, strengthen your abdominals, allowing your abdominal wall to act like a supportive sling that hugs the baby high and tight and takes some of the hard work off of your lower back.

Abdominal exercises are safe and important

How to exercise safely

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) supports exercising at least 30 minutes on most, if not all, days of the week during pregnancy. ACOG says that if you were active prior to pregnancy, you can often maintain that activity/sport throughout pregnancy (although you may have to modify your routine). If you were a runner, you may find that you can run well into your third trimester by modifying your speed and distance at different stages of pregnancy. However, certain activities and sports are not safe, such as downhill skiing, horseback riding, gymnastics, hockey, soccer, or scuba diving. One way to learn how to exercise safety during pregnancy is to join a prenatal group fitness class. You can build relationships with other expecting women and share your joys, fears, and challenges of pregnancy and motherhood in a safe and encouraging environment. 18

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

It is helpful for pregnant women to develop strong abdominal muscles, but they must focus on working the correct abdominal muscles. Expecting moms should focus on working the “inner abdominals,” also known as the transverse, and avoid the rectus abdominis, also known as the six-pack abs. This will help mom better carry her baby and may even help her push out her baby during delivery. “Bear down and push!” is a common cue given to women who are in the pushing stages of labor, but many women do not know what they are bearing down on and how to push. This is why it is important to learn how to engage your strong core muscles while simultaneously relaxing your pelvic floor muscles to efficiently and effectively push your baby out.

Top 5 safe exercises for pregnant women

There are hundreds of exercises you can do while pregnant, but these five give you the most bang for your buck and are safe to return to almost immediately postpartum. These exercises can be made into a fun 15-minute circuit by performing each for 40 seconds (with 20 seconds of rest) for three rounds. Upper body

Kristine Higgins of Cumberland demonstrates “Child’s Pose.”

It doesn’t get much better than a push1 Push-ups: up! You are working major upper body muscles plus

engaging your core. Strong arms will prepare you for carrying your ever-growing baby while juggling life at the same time! You can do push-ups balancing on your feet or knees. Core and pelvic floor Start by holding a modified plank (resting on 2 Plank: your forearms and off of your knees) for 15 seconds for

three repetitions (reps). Work your way up to a full extension plank for 60 seconds. In between each rep you can take some deep breaths in child’s pose – kneel with your shins on the floor and stretch your arms forward so your chest rests on your knees, or spread your knees so your chest goes between them, as you stretch forward.

Kristine Higgins shows how to do the opposite arm and leg exercise.

3 Opposite Arm and Leg: Begin on all fours with your

hands positioned underneath your shoulders and your knees positioned underneath your hips. Extend your right arm out in front of you and your left leg out behind you for a tremendous reach to opposite sides of the room. Bring your arm and leg back into starting position and repeat. This exercise involves a lot of balance, control, and focus. It builds core and pelvic floor strength while lengthening your lower back. Lower body You can get very creative with squats and lunges by adding weights for your arms.

4 Lunges: A lunge can be followed by an overhead press,

in which you press the dumbbells upwards from the shoulders until the arms are locked overhead.

5 Squats: A squat can be followed by a lateral arm raise.

Once you stand from the squat, lean over slightly with your hips and knees somewhat bent. Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs, elbows slightly bent. Raise just the upper part of your arms until the elbows are as high as your shoulders.

So, consult your doctor and then get exercising! You will find that lower body strength really comes in handy when you are carrying your baby or loads of laundry up and down the stairs.  Jacklyn O'Hara is a mom and owner of Oh Baby! Fitness®, which offers prenatal fitness and mommy & baby classes. www. or email

From l to r: Christine Higgins of Greenville, Kelly Keaton of Warwick, and Tina Morissette of North Providence, practice lunges with weights.

Restore your core before you do more!


bdominal separation, especially during the third trimester, is extremely common as it allows more space for your uterus to grow. At your postpartum checkup, your physician or midwife will check this, and if your abdominals are separated by the width of two fingers or less, most levels of physical activity can resume. If they are separated by more than the width of two fingers, you may have diastasis recti and some simple core and pelvic floor exercises can help close the gap. Before the gap is closed, there are certain exercises that should be avoided as they can exacerbate the separation. It is very important to talk to your physician or midwife so you can understand how your abdominals are healing and what this means for returning to exercise. September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Get Organized! By Kristin MacRae

9 ways to make mornings



s your home total chaos in the morning? Do you rush around trying to get yourself and your family ready – especially now with the start of the school year? Get organized! The house won’t be hectic, everybody will start the day on the right foot, and you will have more free time to enjoy. Here are nine ways to make your mornings easier:

5. Organize your bathroom

1. Prepare meals for the week

6. Get up a little earlier

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? Are you grabbing five products before you find the one that you need? Are your daughter’s hair accessories scattered all over the bathroom? The more things you have to touch in the morning, the more time you waste. Get organized and cut your bathroom time in half.

On Sunday, portion all of the kids’ snacks so they can grab and go during the week. This is one less thing you have to do on weeknights. Pack lunches the night before. Any food you can prepare ahead of time, go for it! Don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning? Cook an omelet on Sunday and portion it out in seal tight containers. Breakfast is the most important meal and sets the tone for the whole day.

Do you get up at the last minute and find yourself rushing out the door? Set your alarm a little earlier so you can relax, enjoy breakfast, and check your emails or read the news before work.

7. Keep a to-do list

To-do lists will keep you on track and help you with time management. Keep a daily to-do list as opposed to a weekly one to help you become more efficient and productive.

2. Plan and prepare outfits

8. Have a designated spot for essentials

Plan outfits for the week on Sunday. Prep everything from shoes and clothes to accessories, underwear and socks. Iron everything that needs it. Line up outfits in the closet Mondayto-Friday. Create handmade tags with the days of the week on them and hang them over the hanger for kids, so they won't waste time in the morning trying to figure out what to wear. Make it fun and include your child in the process. Before you know it, you can transfer this chore to them.

Keys, laptop, phones, glasses and any other important items you use every day should have a specific spot in the home. You have a home for your toothbrush. Why not have a home for equally important items?

9. Develop routines

Create daily routines and out of these routines will form habits which will become everyday ways of life. Follow your organized systems. It’s as easy as putting an item back where you found it.

3. Organize backpacks

Go through and organize backpacks the night before so the kids can just grab and go in the morning. Get your kids in the habit of checking their backpacks every night so they won’t be scurrying around in the morning wondering if they are forgetting something.

Once you get organized, you and your family will reap the benefits. Don’t start your day behind the eight ball by being stressed and overwhelmed. Create structure and you will be amazed at how much more relaxed you will be. Your mornings will be a breeze! 

4. Utilize a calendar

Mark all activities on a calendar to get rid of mental clutter by writing everything down. Give your kids one of their own so they are also aware of upcoming activities and events. This will help with time management. 20

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

Kristin MacRae, owner and founder of Organizing in RI, LLC, is an organizing and efficiency expert.

Directory of Advertisers Please support our advertisers. Tell them you saw their ad here. These advertisers keep the magazine free for you! Active and artistic activities Artists’ Exchange.................................................Page 7 Rock Spot Climbing............................................Page 7 YMCA of Greater Providence . .........................Page 11

The imPossible Dream After $7,000 in vandalism shut down the imPossible Dream playground last month, the community came together to volunteer and donate funds for the necessary repairs. At press time, police had arrested two juveniles in connection with the damage. They have fixed the playground at 575 Centerville Rd., Warwick, but why not donate anyway? They do good work:

Baby products and services Mother’s Nature..................................................Page 3 Tiny Touches by Perfect Touch Interiors..............Page 3 Businesses and non-profits Rhode Island ParentMagazine...........................Page 27 Sierra Pacific Mortgage....................... Inside back cover Child Care/preschool Dr. Day Care.......................................................Page 4 The Children’s Works.........................Inside front cover Dance Festival Ballet Providence..................................Page 23 To the Pointe of Performing Arts.......................Page 13 Education/tutoring Club Z In-home Tutoring............................ Back cover The Wolf School................................................Page 15 Your Writing Coach............................................Page 3 Events/Shows Bring Your Own Improv...................................Page 21 Jayce “the Healer” A Day in the Park.................Page 13 Thundermist Health Center Duck Race ...........Page 13 Health-related services Diabetes Care Solutions....................................Page 21 Dr. Elissa Contillo, Optometrist..........................Page 3 Museums Tomaquag Museum...........................................Page 15 Photography Keith Jochim Photography................................Page 17 Kimberly Dobosz Photography.........................Page 17 Study participation Kid Think...........................................................Page 7

To advertise, call (401) 337-9240 or email September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Ask Dr. Day Care: Advice for Parents By Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, Ed.D.

Dr. Day Care answers your questions about children from infancy to school age. Ask the questions you’ve been afraid to ask! Only first name and town will be published. Send your questions to:


Dear Dr. Day Care, School is starting for my nine-year-old twin sons and I dread it. The summer is so relaxing with no schedules to adhere to. But once school begins, one twin refuses to get up on time. I start waking him up two hours early and nag him until he gets out of bed, which is a minute before the school bus arrives. He misses the bus frequently and I have to drive him to school. I cannot bear another year of being his alarm clock. - Verbal Alarm Mom   Dear Verbal Alarm Mom, I suggest you explain to your son exactly how you feel. Try not to compare the twins to each other. Instead, be clear and firm about your expectations of him and his responsibility for getting to school on time without you having to wake him each morning. Ask him to think of ways that could help him be on time. Listen to his ideas. Together, come up with rules that will foster promptness. Let him know that he must keep to the rules that have been established by both of you, and emphasize that you will not be waking him up for school. I recommend use of an alarm clock as one of your rules. He can set a five- or ten-minute delay on the alarm. Explain that he will be responsible for setting and shutting off his alarm. Your new role, if you desire, is to support his promptness in ways such as purchasing an alarm clock for him, having breakfast ready before his departure, and stating that there will be consequences for his behavior of not getting to school on time. Examples of consequences are driving him to school when it is convenient for you, or not allowing him to participate in activities outside the home on any day he is late for school. Inform him that the school has their own set of rules for tardiness, and he also will abide by their consequences. If you remain firm and follow the rules you came up with together, I am sure it will be a better school year.



Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015


Dear Dr. Day Care, My husband and I were not fans of school. We both struggled through our education and dropped out of college in the first semester. How do we turn our attitude around for our children? - Education Negative


Dear Education Negative, Education should be a positive household word from the time a baby is born. The more you talk about education and school in a positive light, the more likely your child will have a positive outlook on their own educational journey. Having family conversations about education throughout a child's life will pay off in that child's future and earnings. There are many opportunities to talk with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers about education. My favorite is through car conversations. As you are driving or riding in a car, point to a school building and talk about fun times you had in school when you were a child. Sing the ABC song together and keep children’s learning books in the car. Let your child know that teachers taught you to read and write. Share with them that their teachers – and you – will help them learn to read and write, for parents are a child’s first and most important educators. Talk about your favorite teachers with your school-age children and give specific examples. Even if you did not have a good experience when you went to school, do not let this affect your conversations with your child. Parents’ attitudes and feelings about education can be sensed by children, who often establish positive or negative feelings about situations based on what is said in the family home. Give your children the opportunity to make their educational journey a supportive, open dialogue that you can treasure and value together. “Dr. Day Care” is Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, Ed.D., CEO/ President of Dr. Day Care and Kids Klub and children’s book author: Edgar Graduates.

September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Question of the Month We love hearing from you! Below are answers to a question we asked on our Facebook page in August. To join in and answer future questions of the month, like us at:

What do you like and dislike about back to school time? “My youngest is starting pre-K this year. That is very exciting. The oldest is heading into her freshman year - that too is very exciting. I am sure they will both be excited and nervous. The worst part for me personally is that I am going to miss their first day because of work.”

Kevin O. East Providence

“My least favorite thing about back to school time is helping my kiddos cope with the huge transitions of new teachers, classrooms, and as they get older, new schools and schedules. My favorite thing? Stocking up on bargain school supplies.”

Cyn B. South Kingstown

“My favorite thing would be knowing that my two boys are going to be more educated than they were. I love to see them learn and understand their schoolwork. The worst would be trying to help both of them with their homework at the same time. It is hard to have them both need my attention at the same time!”

Lynn D Rumford

“My least favorite thing is trying to keep up with the daily schedule of school, sports, homework, dinner, bath time. My favorite thing is seeing the joy on my child’s face when she tells me all the things she learns at school.”

“For at least 40 years, I have looked forward to the approach of each new school year and its new faces, new experiences, and a new routine. My least favorite is knowing that winter is almost here. I dread the colder weather.”

Tracy K. Pawtucket

Richard B. Warren

“My favorite thing is having a daily routine again. My least favorite thing is getting everyone back into the daily routine again.”

Janeen C. Coventry

Like us at 24

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

All about baby By Manuela Montaquila


he most significant trend in baby nursery design over the last several years has been a shift away from classic cartoon characters and cute animals to more sophisticated design schemes. Parents today are choosing “grown-up” fabrics and elegant colors with classic beauty and a touch a whimsy for their newborns. Why the change from cute to sophisticated? It may be due to the changes in demographics and lifestyles of today’s families:

 Parents, on average, are older with more defined tastes and knowledge of their own style.

Working parents have larger budgets for their baby’s nursery. 

 Many grandparents are taking a more active role in helping care for their grandchildren and may buy gifts for baby that influence a nursery style.  There is a growing desire to create a nursery that can transition into an older child’s room or a dual-purpose office/ sitting room.  Parents may wish to maintain the continuity of style throughout the home and into the nursery.

What will nurseries look like through 2015 and into 2016? There are a lot of fun ideas and elements that can go into that perfect baby nursery, and with a surge in customization of bedding, drapes, art, and furniture, the sky’s the limit. Here are some of the key trends for 2015 that will carry into 2016:  Less bold wallcovering and wall decals: The trend is for calming neutrals, with unisex themes in geometrics or whimsical design. 

Metal hues: Gold is very popular.

 Natural themes: Using faux fur and reclaimed wood in the design.  More choice in furniture: Furnishings, including cribs, in mid-century modern, industrial and Mediterranean styles; love seats and sofas in the nursery with textured fabrics.  Color accents using furniture: Stand out color accent pieces such as bold, colored bureaus and dressers with decorative knobs.  More art work: Increasingly dynamic art and motivational framed phrases.  Neutral wall colors with color accents: Neutral colors, such as white, beige, and grey for both boys and girls; pastel colors including blush, pinks, corals, aqua, and mint. Dramatic color accents in purple/grey, lavender, and plum.

Whether it is custom baby furniture or custom bedding, the unique options available to parents today are endless, giving them wonderful ways to create a one-of-a-kind nursery that will wow everyone who comes to visit. After all, nothing is too good for your precious new bundle!  Manuela Montaquila is owner of Perfect Touch Interiors, which offers Tiny Touches, customized baby bedding, furniture, accessories, and design. September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Education: From pre-K to college By Anna Johnson

How to identify

Complex Learners


s parents and educators, we understand that one size does not fit all. Your child might approach social situations slowly, while someone else’s child jumps right in. One student learns best with verbal prompts, while another does better with visual cues. Right out of the gate, children display preferences for how they take in and communicate information. Our brains are all “wired” differently. But what happens when these differences are difficult to understand and interfere with a child’s ability to learn and negotiate his or her world? Here are five areas where children’s behaviors may demonstrate underlying learning or sensory differences that create barriers to social and academic progress. Children who demonstrate difficulty in several or all of these areas may be Complex Learners, requiring systematic, individualized programs to support their engagement with learning.







Initiating and completing tasks seems overwhelming, so there may be a lot of struggles with homework and household chores. Children may have very messy bedrooms, closets, and lockers. Following directions is problematic, and children have trouble remembering more than one direction at a time or remembering the order of a sequence of tasks. They may have trouble with focus, and get distracted by noise and visual information.

Children may not get invited to play dates or birthday parties, or may be frequently teased, even bullied. Not understanding the rules of games, talking too loudly or too quietly, misinterpreting social cues and exhibiting poor conflict resolution and coping strategies make it very hard to initiate and maintain friendships. Children may interrupt, display frustration, and generally “wear people down,” or they may retreat and become extremely shy and unresponsive.

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015



Bathing, combing hair, brushing teeth, and getting dressed create conflict and resistance. Children may be particularly bothered by the texture of a sweater, how certain socks feel, or a tag at the back of a shirt. They may be very sensitive to temperature, often feeling too hot or too cold. Children may also have an intense aversion to certain foods based on smell or texture, and be very picky eaters.

Getting up and out of bed and ready to face the day is very challenging. Equally difficult may be a bedtime routine that allows for consistent and proper sleep. At the same time, interruption of daily routine creates discomfort, anxiety, and behavior issues. Transitions between one activity and the next, introducing new people, and changing plans can all spark resistance and may even lead to “meltdowns.”




Reading, math and writing can all present significant challenges for Complex Learners. They may have trouble with specific concepts such as sounding out words, sequencing numbers, or understanding spelling rules. In addition, there may be more general problems with retrieval and articulation of information. As a result, children may perform below grade level, or have gaps in their understanding and knowledge base. Complex Learners may be anxious, distractible, rigid, loud, or shy, but they are also creative, clever, funny, passionate, and persistent. Our work as parents and educators is to understand more about how they are “wired” and what supports will help them achieve their educational potential.  Anna Johnson is Head of School at The Wolf School in East Providence, which provides education to Complex Learners.

Rhode Island Parent Magazine is the only magazine in Rhode Island focused on parents and families. PRIMARY AUDIENCE Women in the 18–54 age range CIRCULATION 14,000 initially DISTRIBUTION Available for free at several hundred locations throughout Rhode Island. ADDITIONAL AUDIENCE Dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, child experts, pediatricians, teachers, child care centers, etc. 85% OF PURCHASES and purchase decisions are made by women, so Rhode Island Parent Magazine is a great way to reach your audience. * Based on an industry-accepted average of two readers per each magazine.

To request a rate card and discuss advertising, email or call 401-337-9240. September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Kids of the Month By Susan Gale

Overcoming challenges to become a

black belt


t age 12, Michael Valentino, of Pawtucket, has achieved in three years what most students take five to seven years to accomplish – a first-degree black belt in martial arts. His instructor, Chief Master James Perlini, says that in 32 years of teaching, he’s only had two students accomplish this belt level so quickly. When Michael first entered SuperKicks in Pawtucket for a birthday party, he did not have the confidence to achieve so much. He was even reticent to go barefoot on the karate mat and wouldn’t participate in the party activities. Michael has Asperger’s Syndrome, a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum characterized by difficulty with social skills. He also has an eye tic disorder that makes focus even more difficult for him.

At first, fear of the unknown

After Michael’s first visit, Perlini began seeing him outside his storefront windows, peering in. For some time, Perlini couldn’t convince him to come in. Eventually, Michael pushed himself to overcome his fear. And once he got involved with martial arts, he committed fully, often spending six days a week at SuperKicks and practicing at home. “I find him an amazing person to have accomplished so much. I’m so proud of him,” said Michael’s mother, Jessica Drake. “He likes being able to do what everyone else can’t do.” Michael is a visual learner – and he’s fast. He can watch an online video of a bike or scooter trick and immediately do it. Any difficulties he may have fade away when he is doing martial arts. “In here, Michael is confident, outgoing, and he can speak to anybody,” said Perlini, “He’s extremely athletic and coordinated. I can show him something once and he can pick it up.”

A strong visual memory

To achieve a black belt, Michael had to complete a series of belt levels every few months and he passed every level on the first try. “The visual memory on this child! He learns so quickly. He gets into so much detail. A lot of people today, they miss 28

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

that detail,” said his mother. “He could meet you today and in three years, and remember what you wore today.” Michael said he “loves math” and is very interested in helping others. “He’s the biggest help for everybody, you know, besides his chores,” said Michael’s father, Dennis Drake, with a smile. Michael’s favorite weapons in martial arts are the nunchucks and bo staff, a long, thin stick. On a recent afternoon, he demonstrated the bo staff, swinging it around his body and moving with ease. While Michael says it was “easy” to get his black belt, other aspects of life can be harder. He has gone through much bullying at school, and having Asperger’s Syndrome makes it difficult for him to participate in team sports because they require a great deal of communication between teammates. This reality causes his mother to worry about keeping Michael’s spirit alive.

A promising future

But despite any difficulties Michael must overcome, Perlini sees a future for him in teaching martial arts. “I feel strongly that Michael should pursue a career in martial arts,” he said. “He is very compassionate and patient. He likes to help the younger kids.” This kind-hearted side of Michael is very apparent when it comes to his younger brother, Kage, who is five. Kage has autism and is nonverbal. Michael watches out for his brother, often trying to distract him when Kage is upset. His protective nature is part of why Michael likes martial arts so much, his mother said. “That’s why he said he’s doing karate, so he can always protect his little brother,” she said.  Susan Gale is the Publisher/Editor of Rhode Island Parent Magazine.

The hearts of

(continued from page 14)


Family Stress Test Score Descriptions:

They may not have achieved first place, but these girls are all winners. The Warwick North all-stars returned home to a cheering crowd after winning second place in the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon. To get there, they had to win the East Regional tournament in Bristol, CT, followed by a pressure- and media-filled week-long World Series, where they won their way to the championship game, which was broadcast live on ESPN. We salute you! 

Mostly A’s:

Your ability to plan ahead for projects helps you escape stress. You have a clear idea of how stress makes you feel, so you know when you are experiencing stress. When you are stressed, you relax by talking about it with your family. You feel like you manage your activities and stress well. Mostly B’s:

Planning ahead more consistently will reduce the stress your experience. You sometimes have difficulty knowing the difference between feeling stressed and excited. Your friends are very important to you, and talking to them helps you relax and relieve stress from your day. At home, you prefer to watch TV or read to escape the stress of your day. You sometimes feel stressed by your extra activities, and wish that there were things you could do to feel less stress. Mostly C’s:

Your stress may be caused by approaching tasks on a last-minute basis, which makes you to feel frantic or disorganized and may result in “stress arguments” over something small with a friend or family member. You process stress by seeking alone time to relax. You feel overwhelmed by your extra activities, and wish that there were things you could do to feel less stress. Photo provided by Warwick North Little League Bottom row sitting l to r: Destinee Santiago, Sophia DeTroia, Dyonna Rodas, Madison D'Amato, Bryanna Rastella. Second row l to r: Kelsey Burr, Emily Carter, Sydni Bigelli, Alyssa Richard, Sierra Ricci, Hailey Mackinnon. Third row standing l to r:  Olivia Murray, Coach Carlos Rodas, Manager Kevin DeTroia, Coach Brian D'Amato, Michaela Capictto

Enter to Win ... A Family 4 Pack! Enter until 9/27/15 at This year’s Spectacular is titled “The People’s Choice” and features subjects the public has especially loved through the past 27 years of shows. Winner will be notified via email on 9/28/15 and will have 24 hours to reply to claim their tickets or another winner will be drawn.

September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Feature Story By Susan Gale


American Girl in the

Blackstone Valley


hode Island’s Blackstone Valley is well-known for its interesting tourist attractions, but now it has another claim to fame – it’s the setting for the life of Grace Thomas™, American Girl® 2015 Girl of the Year™ doll. The 18-inch American Girl dolls have grown in popularity since being introduced in 1986 and have even surpassed the infamous Barbie in sales. American Girl incorporates life stories for their dolls by writing several books in conjunction with them. Of course, they also have a plethora of outfits, accessories, games, and movies as well. Natick, Mass., boasts its own American Girl store, where the limited edition Grace doll is available through the end of this year.

Influenced by the Blackstone Valley history

Although Grace lives across the border in the fictional Bentwick, Mass., her story is influenced by the Blackstone Valley area, including a French connection inspired by the French-Canadian culture in Woonsocket. Grace’s grandparents own First Street Family Bakery, and she dreams of opening up her own bakery. In the three books about her life, Grace travels to Paris where she helps at her aunt and uncle’s bakery, La Pâtisserie!, though things do not always go as planned. She also loves riding her bike. It’s in the third book of her series that Rhode Island really gets to shine. For her 10th birthday, Grace takes a train ride through the Blackstone Valley and passes sites such as the Blackstone River and Canal, Slater Mill Historic Site, and the Blackstone Valley Bike Path.

Getting the details right

The books are accurate to the Blackstone Valley because Donna Houle, manager of special projects at the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, was asked in March 2014 to proof all of them. Houle offered suggestions on what Grace would see out the window on her train ride, including everything from what birds would be resting on the river to details about Slater Mill.


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

Learn more about the Blackstone Valley

T (Photos supplied by Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.)

American Doll researchers came across the Council’s site, decided to use the Blackstone Valley setting, and contacted her out of the blue, said Houle. “They asked a lot about the history of our area,” she said. “It was a lot of fun seeing references to our area.”

You can follow in Grace’s footsteps

Now Rhode Island children can not only read the books, they can follow Grace’s exact path through a one-day only train ride being offered by the Tourism Council and Natick’s American Girl store. The Grace Thomas Train Ride Experience takes off September 19 at the Historic Blackstone Valley Train Depot, One Depot Square, Woonsocket. Grace-themed activities will be offered including crafts, food, and the chance to take photos in Grace scenes. Tickets are $75.70 and $69.70. The entire event takes two hours with a one-hour train ride included. There are four opportunities to take part: 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. Children are encouraged to bring their American Girl dolls with them. The train cars will be decked out in American Girl style and the brand’s signature lemonade and cupcakes will be available, as well as plenty of souvenirs. “This gives American Girl doll fans the chance to see and experience the things she did.” said James Toomey, the Council’s director of marketing. “This is the only train trip you can go on and experience what Grace Thomas experienced.”  For information on the Grace train ride: Susan Gale is the publisher/editor of Rhode Island Parent Magazine.

here is a great deal of history to be found in Blackstone Valley. The area from Worcester, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island, known as the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, is considered the birthplace of the U.S Industrial Revolution. In the 1840s, French Canadians began arriving from Quebec to work in the textile mills of Woonsocket. Last year, a portion of the 45mile river corridor became home to the 402nd U.S. National Park – the Blackstone River Valley National Park. Once completely designed, it will include several landmarks in the area, such as Slater Mill in Pawtucket. Here are some things you can do with your kids in the Blackstone Valley: Tour the Museum of Work and Culture: Learn about the FrenchCanadian immigrants., click on “visit.”

Visit the Slater Mill Historic Site:

Take a Blackstone Explorer Riverboat Tour:

Attend the annual Autumnfest 2015: October 10-12.

Ride the Grace Thomas Train Ride Experience:

For additional ideas: and

September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


September 2015 Our calendar is as up-to-date as possible at press time. Be sure to check information with event sponsors for updates/changes. To submit calendar items for October and beyond, please email them to 1/Tuesday

Play and Learn. Open-ended, storybased program for ages 2–4 and parents, 10 a.m.–noon. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. Free with admission. $9/person; children under 12 months, free.

All aboard, Thomas the Tank Engine™ fans! Land, the T hefirstnewof itsThomas kind in the U.S.,

opened in August at Edaville USA in Carver, Mass., just over 50 miles from Providence. The Thomas amusement park, based on the television show, offers 11 rides that bring the Island of Sodor to life, including a 20-minute ride through cranberry bogs on a lifesize Thomas the Tank Engine. This year is Thomas’ 70th anniversary, having started with books in the 1940s and first airing on PBS in 1989. The only other Thomas Land amusements parks are in Tokyo and the U.K. Thomas Land will be open daily from April 1 through January 1. Admission included in daily admission for Edaville USA, which is $29/person (does not include the Polar Express event in December). For information and tickets:


Flutterby: Butterflies in Bloom (Final Season). An immersive experience inside the Roger William Park Zoo’s beautifully landscaped greenhouse, filled with hundreds of free-flying native North American butterflies. 10 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. $3/person.


Ms. Z’s Story & Craft Hour. Runs weekly through Dec. 30. 3:30 p.m.– 4:30 p.m. Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street, Providence. Free.


Chipmunks Story Hour at The Athenaeum. Songs, clapping games, and books for infants and toddlers. Runs every week through Dec. 22. 10:30–11 a.m. Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street, Providence. No registration required. Free.


Multi-Age Storytime. Drop-in story time for all ages. 10–10:30 a.m. Barrington Public Library, 281 County Road, Barrington. Free.

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

Public Stargazing. 7:30 p.m. Frosty Drew Observatory & Sky Theater. 61 Park Lane, Charlestown. $1/person suggested donation. Bring Your Own Improv. Familyfriendly comedy show. 7–8:30 p.m. Warwick Museum of Art, 3259 Post Road, Warwick.  Every Friday night. $8/Adults, $4/Children under 12 and seniors.


Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races & Taiwan Day Festival. Cultural and artistic events. 8 a.m.–5 p.m. School Street Pier, Pawtucket. Free. Second Annual Live Happy Live Healthy Live Green Expo. Family fun including face painting, kids’ vendors, a balloon pen, workshops, and food. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. River Island Park, Bernon Street, Woonsocket. Free.


Family Fun Day at Audubon Society. Exhibits on RI’s diverse habitats. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. 1401 Hope Street, Bristol. Free.


Providence Ghost Tour. Tour led by lantern light through the historic East Side of Providence sharing chilling stories. 7 p.m., occurs daily. Prospect Terrace Park, Congdon Street, Providence. $18/registered online, $20/cash in person, $10/children under 13.



Play and Learn. See 9/1. 10 a.m.–noon. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. Free with admission. $9/person; children under 12 months, free.

Slater Park Fall Festival. Art and craft vendors, activities at Daggett Farm, Looff Carousel, food trucks, exhibitions, music. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Slater Park, Newport Avenue, Pawtucket. Free.

Pre-K Summer Story and Stroll. Nature stories and nature walk geared towards preschoolers. 10:30–11:15 a.m. Norman Bird Sanctuary, 583 Third Beach Road, Middletown. $5/person.


Providence/Brown University Farmers Market. 11 a.m. Every Wednesday until Oct. 22. Thayer Street between Waterman Street and George Street, Providence. Free to attend.


Movies on the Block: The Muppet Movie. Outdoor movie. At dusk. Grant's Block, 250 Westminster Street, Providence. Free.


Public Stargazing. 7:30 p.m. Frosty Drew Observatory & Sky Theater. 61 Park Lane, Charlestown. $1/person suggested donation. Bring Your Own Improv. Familyfriendly comedy show. 7–8:30 p.m. Warwick Museum of Art, 3259 Post Road, Warwick. $8/Adults, $4/Children under 12 and seniors.

Learn your lesson well: Black education in Rhode Island Did you know that the first Black school in America opened in Newport in 1763, and the first Black teacher in the U.S. opened a school in Newport 1808? See fascinating stories like these in this exhibit, curated by Robb Dimmick. Tuesdays through Fridays, 1–4 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.–4 p.m. John Brown House, 52 Power Street, Providence. Free.

Artists’ Exchange Family Performance Series. “Laugh Out Loud” with Jessica Chase. Interactive improv and sketch comedy. 11 a.m.–noon. 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Pay what you can, $5/suggested donation.

RI Philharmonic “Pops in the Park.” Presenting its last concert of the season, followed by fireworks. Bring lawn chairs. 3–8 p.m. Slater Park, RR 1A, Pawtucket. Free. 5th Annual Fiddle n Folk Fest. A grassroots local music fest. 11 a.m.– 5 p.m. Haines Memorial State Park, Barrington. Rain date 9/13. Free. Audubon’s Raptor Weekend 2015. The largest raptor celebration in New England. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Audubon Environmental Education Center, 1401 Hope Street, Bristol. $5/Parking. Ticket prices from $10–$50. WaterFire. 7–10 p.m., Waterplace Park, 1 Finance Way, Providence. Free

13/Sunday Happy Grandparents Day! Providence Children’s Museum. 100 South Street, Providence. Free admission for grandparents. $9/ person; children under 12 months, free. Stacey Peasley Band Free Family Concert. A Parents’ Choice AwardTM winner. Arrive early. 3–4 p.m. Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum, 199 Hope Street, Providence. Free. Slater Park Fall Festival. See September 12. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Slater Park, Newport Avenue, Pawtucket. Free.


Rough Point Landscape History and Garden Tour. The tour covers 250 years of the property's history from farmland to premier vacation spot. Weather dependent. 5:30 p.m. Rough Point, 680 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. $10/person.


Learn about a top secret World War II Prisoner of War camp in Narragansett. German prisoners were recruited to “reeducate” their fellow prisoners on democracy and human rights. Hear the surprising story of Fort Kearney. 4:30– 5:30 p.m. Coastal Institute Auditorium, URI Bay Campus, 218 South Ferry Road, Narragansett. Free.


Gallery Night Providence. Art buses travel Providence, letting people on and off at galleries, museums, and historic sites. Guided tours begin at 5:30 p.m., leaving every 20 minutes. Last bus leaves at 6:50 p.m. Regency Plaza, 1 Regency Plaza, Providence. Free.

18/Friday FallFest. Amusements, food, music, rides, games. 5–11 p.m. Misquamicut Beach, 257 Atlantic Ave, Westerly. Free Parking. $7/day/person, children under 4, free. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage. Handson workshop exploring the musical traditions of Puerto Rico. 6–7 p.m. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street. Museum free on Fridays 5-8 p.m. Free. Public Stargazing. 7:30 p.m. Frosty Drew Observatory & Sky Theater. 61 Park Lane, Charlestown. $1/person suggested donation. Bring Your Own Improv. Familyfriendly comedy show. 7–8:30 p.m. Warwick Museum of Art, 3259 Post Road, Warwick. Every Friday night. $8/Adults, $4/Children under 12 and seniors. (continued on next page)

September 2015  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


19/Saturday Talk Like a Pirate Day! Tot2TotShop Fall Sale. Semi-annual consignment sale, infant and children’s clothing, baby gear, toys, maternity clothes. 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Swansea Mall, 262 Swansea Mall Drive, Swansea, MA. Free to attend. Artists’ Exchange Family Performance Series. Aesop’s Fables, Sparky’s Puppets. 11 a.m.–noon. 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Pay what you can. $5/suggested donation. Mosaics: Parts and Wholes. A celebration of Deaf Awareness Month. Make mosaics with Water Ways muralist and teacher of the deaf, Peter Geisser, and enjoy stories told in American Sign Language (ASL) by educator Heather Neidbala and interpreted for the hearing. 1–3 p.m. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. Free with admission. $9/person; children under 12 months, free. FallFest. Amusements, food, music, rides, games. 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Misquamicut Beach, 257 Atlantic Ave, Westerly. Free Parking. $7/day/person, children under 4, free. Coggeshall Farm Harvest Fair. Friendly competitions, games, lively music and dance, hay rides, against the backdrop of a working 18th century living history farm. 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Coggeshall Farm Museum, 1 Colt Drive, Bristol. $3/person. Peace Fest RI. Activities for children and adults to enjoy that celebrate peace; Peace Flags, Peace Pinwheels, Peace Cranes, tie-dye, and more. 1–4 p.m. Burnside Park, 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence. Free.


Fall Out of Summer Arts Festival. Art, theater, music, food, fun. 11 a.m.– 5 p.m. Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Rain date, 9/27 $1/age 3 and up, free/age 3 and under.


FallFest. Amusements, food, music, rides, games. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Misquamicut Beach, 257 Atlantic Ave, Westerly. Free Parking. $7/day/person, children under 4, free.

zumba, bhangra dancing, bouncy houses, contests and games for prizes. 11 a.m.– 7 p.m. Rhode Island Convention Center, One Sabin Street, Providence. $14/adults, $10/children.


Craft Bash. Make hand-painted canvas bags. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Free.

Play and Learn. See September 1. 10 a.m.–noon. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. Free with admission. $9/person; children under 12 months, free.


Imagination Playground. Kids invent their own ways to play with huge blue foam blocks. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. (Also on 9/20 and 9/24– 26.) Free with admission. $9/person; children under 12 months, free.


Waterfire. 6:35–10:00 p.m., Waterplace Park, 1 Finance Way Providence. Free.


New England Family Fun Festival. See September 26. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Rhode Island Convention Center, One Sabin Street, Providence. $14/adults, $10/children. Magnet Play. Experiment and sculpt with magnets. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. Also on 9/30. Free with admission. $9/person; children under 12 months, free.

An evening with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. An evening of engaging conversation on science, exploration, and the world. 7:30 p.m. Providence Performing Arts Center, 29/Tuesday 220 Weybosset Street, Providence. Rough Point Landscape History and Garden tour. See September 15. Tickets $55 and $80. Weather dependent. 5:30 p.m. Rough 25/Friday Point, 680 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. Public Stargazing. 7:30 p.m. Frosty $10/person. Drew Observatory & Sky Theater. 30/Wednesday 61 Park Lane, Charlestown. Windmill Wednesday. A family$1/person suggested donation. friendly evening with johnnycake Bring Your Own Improv. Familytasting, hands-on activities for kids, and friendly comedy show. 7–8:30 p.m. the opportunity to see inside the 1812 Warwick Museum of Art, Prescott Farm windmill. Bring dinner. 3259 Post Road, Warwick.  3:30–5:30 p.m. Prescott Farm, 2009 Every Friday night. West Main Road, Middletown. $8/Adults, $4/Children under 12 a Free. nd seniors.


Artists’ Exchange Family Performance Series. John McKenna, sketches, stories, funny songs. 11 a.m.–noon. 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Pay what you can. $5/suggested donation. New England Family Fun Festival. Live performances by dancers, story tellers, singers and bands, dance performances, martial arts, and gymnastics exhibits, face painting,

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

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Rhode Island Parent Magazine  September 2015

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Rhode Island Parent Magazine Sept 2015  

September 2015 edition of Rhode Island Parent Magazine

Rhode Island Parent Magazine Sept 2015  

September 2015 edition of Rhode Island Parent Magazine