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ROCKON! +San Francisco Fun & Pre-school 101













Summer Arts Education at the Grand Grand Theatre Center for the Arts, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Community Youth Support Network & the Grand Foundation, presents:


The rd Annual

Art Garage Sale

Attendance Is Free & Open To The Public! Saturday July 14, 2012 | 10 am - 2 pm Location: Grand Lobby

The Arts Education Program hosts the Summer 2012 Art Garage Sale. Faculty, students and Tracy artists will be selling unique and bargain-priced pieces of of their work! • • • • •

Artwork Art supplies Musical instruments Fine arts publications Electronic media and more

All Sales Are Final CASH ONLY For more information contact the


Youth Camp

This Summer the Grand is proud to introduce a whole new theatre camp experience in two sessions, one for Youth and one for Teens. Managed by the professional staff of the Grand and taught by theatre teachers and professionals from around the area, we will have the expertise to provide a safe, educationally dynamic and engaging environment.

The three-week Youth camp is designed to inspire confidence and creativity in young theatre enthusiasts while encouraging the exploration and development of both skill and interest. For the Teens, our four-week camp has an intensive curriculum designed to build on the campers' current interest and experience level with a certain amount of custom focus. Ages: 9 - 13 Cost: $400

Dates: June 11th - June 29th Time: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Teen Camp

The four-week teen camp has an curriculum designed to build on the campers’ current interest and experience level. The morning will start with warm-ups, theatre games and improv exercises. Afterwards a they will have a guest speaker or workshop in general topics like audition techniques, performance art, analyzing scripts, staging, stage makeup and more. Ages: 14-18 Cost: $500

Dates: July 9th - August 3rd Time: 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM

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What’s Inside 14

Kids Tidbits Jessop Farms; My Friends Pediatric Day Healthcare Center


Summer Kids Calendar


Kids Spotlight Judy Ridpath: Founder of Camp Sew & Sew


Your Family Are My Kids Spoiled? How saying "no" now will help your kids in the long run.


Haute Items: By the Seaside

22 Your Kids Pre-School 101: How to choose the right school for your tots.


24 FEATURE: Rock On! Making Music With Your Kids With school budget cuts, the arts are taking a hit. But keeping your kids engaged in music has some serious benefits. by Jenn Thornton 32 San Francisco Adventures Craving a fun-filled daycataion by the bay? We've got plenty of ideas for you and your family. by Don & Ann Jackson

San Joaquin Kids Book Giveaway!



READING? Then send your name, age, address, and the title of last book you read to:





HEALTH PLAN OF SAN JOAQUIN MEANS... - Hundreds of primary care physicians and specialists - Easy access to your personal doctor - Choice of hospitals and pharmacies - Local and nationwide emergency care - Healthy Families, AIM and Medi-Cal Coverage - Free 24/7 advice nurse - Serving San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced Counties Eligibility guidelines apply and may be based in part on household income. Plan availability varies by county.



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Fine Art Classes for Kids and Adults

Ment i ad fo on this r li disco st of unts

Now Enrolling for Summer Art Camps ●

Year Round Classes ● Kids & Adult Classes ● Summer & Winterbreak Camps ● Birthday Parties ● All Mediums ● Adult Birthday Parties All Classes are private & doors are locked during class


229 E. Alpine Ave.● Stockton

Since 1999, owner Regina Rose has been nurturing, inspiring and growing young artists at her studio in Stockton, CA. A native of Stockton, an award winning artist, specializing in pastels and oil. Regina has studied art throughout the nation, including "The Art Student League" of New York City and studies abroad in Italy. Regina began painting later in life, after her kids were out of the house and she sought to fill a void. Taking a watercolor workshop in Yosemite with Evelyn Write, instantly she knew this was how she would spend the rest of her life, painting and teaching. Regina closed the doors to her roofing business and went on a one year sabbatical, simply painting everywhere and all the time. Fast forward to now. Regina Rose has spent the past 12 years teaching young artists. Many of her students have been with her at The Art Korner for more than seven years. The business continues to grow. "Now I have nine classes a week., two of which are adult classes. Just recently I doubled my size and added a full time clay studio wing to the art school. My teaching styles have huge emphasis on drawing skills, after which we switch mediums throughout the year to get kids to know how to work with printmaking and clay." Attending The Art Korner will enable most children to gain outstanding artist abilities overtime. During the process of creating art their self confidence is enhanced. This self confidence spills over into all academic endeavors. 6


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Fireworks & Watermelon I can vividly remember being a kid in the summertime. I can feel the black watermelon seeds in my mouth before I spit them into the yard; I can see the fireworks lighting up the sky as billows of smoke are illuminated with purple and green; I can feel the grassy ground beneath my sneakers as I run from my cousins in a diehard game of tag. I have a little girl in my life and though she has a very limited view of the world (only three feet from the ground) it’s also seemingly endless and amazing to her at this point. I love taking a break from my daily hustle-bustle to stop and smell the roses with her, literally. I’m so glad that she’s growing up in San Joaquin, surrounded by the beauty of nature, only an hour away from one of the greatest cities in the world, and full of amazing resources for parents to expand their children’s minds. This issue of San Joaquin Kids & Parents has a little bit of all that. Check out our great write-up on Jessop Farms which has tons of activities for kids as well as great U-Pick berries. Our Haute Items page is filled with adorable swimwear and accessories from local boutiques, and we have a feature on all the family-friendly sights to see in San Francisco when you need to beat the Valley heat this summer. And since your kids are out of school, keep them from uttering the dreaded words “I’m bored,” with our fantastic ideas for summer classes and projects, like sewing instruction with Judy Ridpath and music lessons from Janis Music in Manteca. No matter what you choose to do with your kids this summer, remember to enjoy it with them. Grab that slice of watermelon and start a seed spitting contest, take the quilt to the park and hunker down for a fireworks show, and incite a romp through the sprinklers, (we used to pretend our yard was a full-fledged water park.) Let your kids bring out the kid in you, and you’ll both have memories to last a lifetime. Thanks for reading!


San Joaquin Kids/Parent Magazine is published 6x a year by San Joaquin Magazine 793 S. Tracy Blvd, Suite 230 Tracy, CA 95376 Phone: (209) 833-9989

ADVERTISING OFFICE: 209.833.9989 PUBLISHER | EDITOR Tony Zoccoli MANAGING EDITOR Katy Berry CREATIVE DIRECTOR David Martinez DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING Heather Hilton-Rufo Advertising Email: ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Michelle Cox, Lauren Sturman, Valerie Zoccoli, Leslie Gerard EDITORIAL INQUIRIES CONTRIBUTING WRITERS NIssa Hallquist, Tammy Hansen, Don and Ann Jackson, Jenn Thornton EDITORIAL INTERN Jessica Clare PHOTOGRAPHY Dan Hood, Matthew James Photo OFFICE ASSISTANT/AD COORDINATOR Chauntae Thomas WEB DESIGNER Violet Whitworth DISTRIBUTION SERVICES Rebecca Ristrim

COVER IMAGE: Courtesy Heather Mompean and Moomp Photography

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from this publisher. Photographs, graphics, and artwork are the property of Inside Magazines Publishing Company. © 2012 Inside Magazines

Katy Berry




Sunday, August 5, 2012 1pm to 5pm University Plaza Waterfront Hotel 110 West Fremont Street â?˜ Stockton, CA 95202

FREE Admission FREE Mini Workshops FREE Goodie Bags to the first 400 New and Expectant Mothers Photo Contest Products for Sale Raffle Prizes & More! Visit for more info Gold Sponsors

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Preschool Full Time DayCare 209.956.5437 4453 Precissi Lane, Stockton

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Delta Charter School • K-12 Programs for students at ALL ability levels offered both onsite and online • Open Enrollment across the San Joaquin Valley serving students at our Learning Centers in Stockton, Tracy and Manteca • NCLB Highly Qualified Credentialed Teachers • Tuition-Free Public School • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) • A-G coursework approved by the University of California • 21st Century Learning with digital curriculum available online 24/7

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A Chic Children’s & Maternity Boutique Plus Tea Lounge

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Offering Registry for Showers, Birthdays and More! Call 209-594-0556 to reserve today! 2319 Pacific Ave. Stkn CA 95204 •

NEW Summer & Back to School Apparel!

Stockton’s best collection of fashion forward styles for infants, toddlers and pre-teens. Sizes Newborn - 12. Upcoming Events! Saturday, July 14th- 10:30am-4:00pm 2nd Saturday Summer Sidewalk SALE Stroll the Mile and enjoy a slew of summer savings as neighborhood boutiques host their Sidewalk Sale

Thursday, July 12th 5:30pm-8:30pm Mommy’s Night Out Miracle Mile Restaurants, Boutiques and Home Décor offering special discounts, culinary treats, wine and more!

Each child has a gEm insidE.


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kids and parent: tidbits

Looking for a great way to get the family outdoors? Jessop Farms in Ripon has everything you need to tire out the little ones. Their U-Pick blueberries, strawberries, lavender, blackberries and boysenberries will have your kids out in the fields learning about where their food comes from, and for the price ($1.75/pound for strawberries and $2.92/pound for blueberries) parents can happily stock up on fresh summer snacks for a serious bargain. The farm also has a large jungle gym for kids to play on, putt-putt golf greens, a Koi pond, and color-sand crafting stations. But as owner Loren Jessop says, “The biggest thing we have is space to run, which is what kids like the most.” Jessop Farms is open six days a week (closed on Sundays) from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Entrance is free, you just have to pay for what you pick . —Katy Berry

Being the parent of a child who has special medical needs is a round-the-clock responsibility with no breaks and no vacations. For many families, finding a trustworthy caretaker to help out can be difficult. But now, local parents can finally have a break. The My Friends Pediatric Day Healthcare Center in Stockton is one of only four facilities of its kind in Northern California, and only fourteen in the whole state. This licensed nursing facility is staffed with skilled medical professionals and is equipped for medically fragile children whether they are prone to seizures, require feeding tubes, nebulizers, tracheostomies, or any other specialized care. According to Dan Huffman, community outreach coordinator for My Friends, Stockton was an obvious choice for the new location, as the city has a high concentration of special needs children and showed great interest and support for the facility. “This is the first center we’ve ever opened where we have kids already signed up and ready to go,” says Huffman, who added that people are usually unaware that such a specialized service exists. Huffman says some parents use the facility to go to work; others just need an hour to rest, go shopping or see a movie. Even a small break can help them get the personal time they need. The facility also offers some transportation services if a child needs to be picked up or dropped off. The cost to attend My Friends is often covered by MediCal or other financial assistance programs. The center is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. —Katy Berry



Jessop Farms, 21386 South Murphy Rd., Ripon (209) 824-0341,

My Friends Pediatric Day Healthcare Center 2427 N. California St., Stockton (916) 987-8632,

Jessop Farms




Photos courtesy of Jessop Farms; My Friends Pediatric Day Healthcare Center


Summer package

C E L E B R AT E S U M M E R AT W I N E & R O S E S ! • One Night Stay in a King Guest Room

• Wine tasting at the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center • $100 Dining Credit, which can be used in our Restaurant or Lounge • Artisanal Cheese Platter in guest room • Breakfast for two the next morning in the Restaurant • $10 Coupon towards any spa product at The Nest $349 + tax and resort fee See for restrictions and reservations

H O T E L R E S E R VAT I O N S : 2 0 9 . 3 3 4 . 6 9 8 8 o r o n l i n e a t w i n e r o s e . c o m 2 5 0 5 W. T U R N E R R D . L O D I , C A L I f O R N I A 9 5 2 4 2



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Feeding/Grooming of Animals • Bug Hunt Fruit, Vegetables, Herbs & Flower Picking • Seed planting Sack Races • Tug-a-Rope • Bounce Balls • Hay Ride Mid morning snack and nutritious lunch will be served. Please call for dates and times. REGISTRATION WILL CLOSE TWO DAYS BEFORE CAMP START DATE. CAMP REGISTRATION WILL CLOSE AT 15 CHILDREN. TO REGISTER CALL 209-943-1632 OR 209-484-5480 OR BY e-mail:

6666 E. Main St., Stockton, CA 209.943.1632 |

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kids and parent: spotlight

Camp Sew & Sew BY KATY BERRY

“I’ve been sewing since I was 8,” recalls Judy Ridpath, founder of Camp Sew & Sew, a program designed to help kids and adults learn how to sew by hand or with a machine. Ridpath, who has been teaching and working with children since she was a teenager, says that combining her hobby of sewing with her love of kids made her decision to start Camp Sew & Sew an easy one. She also considers it a way to give back to students who have experienced cutbacks in their schools, losing their art classes and other creative electives. While sewing is a skill that comes in handy throughout one’s life, whether replacing buttons or fixing a pair of ripped pants, Ridpath says she especially loves meeting kids who want to use it as a creative outlet. “I’m really excited when I get my hands on a little kid and her mom says she’s been stapling all her clothes. I get real excited to be able to give them the skills they need to develop their creative side,” says Ridpath. This summer, Camp Sew & Sew will not just offer sewing instruction, but host guest speakers to teach things like flower arranging, gardening, cooking, and other creative endeavors as well. She also encourages her kids to work on projects that give back to the community, like sewing bathrobes for



Photos: Jacqueline Mehrer; Courtesy Judy Ridpath

Sewing a Path for Kids

convalescent homes or clothing for foster kids. On Saturdays, Ridpath runs a special class where kids who are working on their own projects at home can bring them to her for review. Ridpath also offers regular, private classes at her students’ homes. Most kids start with a beginner class and are not required to purchase any tools. “Sewing isn’t for everybody and I don’t want parents to put out the expense for a machine and fabric,” she says. “This way they can come and I have all the supplies for the first project, and the only cost parents have is for the lesson itself.” And you don’t have to be a kid to learn. Judy is happy to teach adults, and even offers parent-child classes so moms and dads can learn alongside their kids. Her goal is for all of her students to eventually become independent with their sewing skills. “I absolutely love it,” she says of Camp Sew & Sew. “I love being around kids in a learning environment. I just know I’m giving back something to them and that’s very satisfying for me. I never tire of this job.”


Judy Ridpath (650) 678-1174

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Lodi Montessori offers a nurturing and stimulating learning environment to help children follow their natural path of development, be motivated by their own natural curiosity and learn through hands on activities.

Waitlist space is limited, call by July 16th to secure your child’s spot! High-Quality Learning • Kindergarten Readiness • Before & After Care School Year & Summer Programs • Healthy Snacks Provided

(209) 366-1012 • 2525 S. Stockton St., Lodi, Ca 95240

354 Lincoln Center • Stockton


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kids and parent: your family





Pleading, nagging, tantrum on aisle 5? Rid your kids of bratty behavior with these tips.




No one wants to be the heavy, but saying “no” and setting boundaries for appropriate behavior is the best way for parents to teach their kids how to cope with disappointment in critical moments and to self-regulate in the real world (where kicking, screaming, and name-calling don’t cut it). So the next time you feel yourself caving, ask yourself this question: Am I doing this for my child’s long-term well-being or because I need to feel better in this moment? If it’s the latter, flash forward ten years for a sobering reminder of why it is important to hold firm. Better your kids realize now that they are not entitled to something merely because they “want it” (and you want it to all go away) then to learn this lesson the hard way in later years.

Repeat these words: bribes don’t work, rewards work wonders. The difference between these powerful forces is key. Bribes—pleas for cooperation during a meltdown in progress (“If you stop crying, you can have ice cream)—are manipulative. Rewards, on the other hand, are earned— ah, the keys to the good behavior kingdom. But be careful about rewarding with material goods. “Special time” with you, whether it is playing a game, taking a walk, or doing an art project, puts a higher premium on what is most meaningful in life—connectedness and relationships, not stuff. In fact, maybe “special time” could include going through old toys and taking them to a children’s charity together. Remember, the best way to teach good behavior is to model it.

If a child’s tactics—rhymes with antics—are out of control, it’s because the behavior gets a reaction. This just in parents: that’s the point. Kids will do anything to make “no” a “yes” and usually this means breaking you down until you have but one shred of sanity left. They cajole, they act up, they whine. Give this behavior attention consistently and you’re done. But if you don’t respond, there’s nothing in it for your kid. The more audience you give your kid’s drama, the more demanding he will become. Give clear guidelines and expectations for acceptable behavior then make it be known that the only act that will get your attention is acting right. And lastly, but always, follow through with consequences.




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52 Family-friendly fitness resorts & growing, including these locations near you...

IN-SHAPE 5 STOCKTON LOCATIONS IN-SHAPE SPort: wESt lANE 1074 E. Bianchi Rd. • 472.2100

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IN-SHAPE FItNESS: lAtHroP* 15362 Harlan Rd. • 373.2441

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IN-SHAPE CIty: trACy 239 W 11th St. • 833.3370

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IN-SHAPE CIty: HAmmEr lANE 7920 Kelley Dr. • 472.2105 *Kids Club not available at these locations


IN-SHAPE SPort: trACy 101 S Tracy Blvd. • 836.2504

IN-SHAPE FIt: trACy IN-SHAPE SPort: mANtECA 1805 E. Yosemite Ave. • 823.0174 2311 N. Tracy Blvd. • 836.8787



1-800-5-INSHAPE • Pass is valid for 14 onsecutive days. Must be local resident and at least 18 years of age with valid photo ID. Certain restrictions apply. Facilities may vary. First time visitor only. Offer expires 7/31/12. SJM-712 209.833.9989 I 19

kids and parent: haute items

By the Seaside —Compiled by Katy Berry

Volcom Rocker Creedlers Flip Flops Available at Zeusters 363 Lincoln Center Stockton, (209) 951-5581

Inflatable Swim Toys Available at Target 2355 West Kettleman Ln., Lodi (209) 369-9371, Billabong ‘Dee’ Bathing Suit Available at Zeusters 363 Lincoln Center Stockton, (209) 951-5581

Intact Board Shorts Available at Sassy Pants 354 Lincoln Center, Stockton (209) 451-9775,

Deux Par Deux ‘Mimi’ Bathing Suit Available at Sassy Pants 354 Lincoln Center, Stockton (209) 451-9775,

Sanuk Flip Flops Available at Zeusters 363 Lincoln Center Stockton, (209) 951-5581



millennium dental quality family dentistry

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Where Kids Come First! San Joaquin County Office of Education 2901 Arch-Airport Road, Stockton, 95206 (209) 468.4800

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kids and parent: your kids


Predictor Is your child ready for preschool? Two teachers weigh in. BY JENNIFER THORNTON

Generally a child is considered preschool aged at 3, but one’s readiness to attend actual preschool depends on much more—a fair amount of independence and few exhibitions of separation anxiety being two solid indicators. To help whittle down the ‘when’, Dawn Whitley, co-director and teacher at Lodi Montessori, suggests that parents ask the following questions: Has your child had experience in a social setting without you? Does your child know how to cooperate and share in a group setting? And finally, is your child potty trained?

Carefully consider the answers, because, she adds, “Preschool is generally a child’s first experience in a structured environment.” It is here that pre-math, reading, and handwriting skills are introduced. Social skills are emphasized and kids learn to be independent from teachers and caregivers. If the answers add up to yes, preschool is possible, providing the values and expectations of the family and the institution align. Plan a preschool scouting trip to help make this determination, and don’t be shy about conducting a few interviews with school authorities. Inquire after staff qualifications, teacher-to-child ratio, and disciplinary methods, and take a good look around—are equipment and materials current and the environment tidy? Pre-enrollment drop-ins also allow parents to glimpse how their new-schoolers will acclimate to the environment. “Parents should definitely visit with the child to see how [he or she] responds to the setting as well as the staff and other children,” affirms Gail Rummel, preschool director at Lodi’s St. Peter Lutheran Preschool. “Maybe make it a trial run and see how the child reacts. I feel parents should look for a balance of structured and unstructured learning experiences, a consistent daily routine, and a caring and attentive staff. Safety and cleanliness should be obvious pri-



orities.” Whitely adds, “A parent experiences feelings of anxiety just as the child does, so the more comfortable a parent feels with the child’s caregivers, the better the experience for the entire family.”

And, when all aforementioned factors have been considered, “Look for a happy staff and happy children,” says Whitley.

On the attendance front, Whitley touts consistency—a four to six hour day, three to five days per week schedule—and daily routine as the keys to helping usher along a preschooler’s emotional and social development. Too many breaks in the schedule, she adds, can cause a lack of normalization where children “learn to trust their environment or the people in it.”


“Ultimately,” reminds Rummel, “parents should trust their instincts since they know their child best.”

Lodi Montessori 2525 S. Stockton Street, Lodi (209) 366-1012, St. Peter Lutheran School 2400 Oxford Way, Lodi (209) 333-2225,

We are here for your family!

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Our mission at St. Peter Lutheran School is to assist parents in the training of their children through Christ-centered teaching and excellence in209.833.9989 academic curriculum. I


R O 24






Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religious or socioeconomic status, music is the language that everyone speaks and understands. As life’s one great universal, music stirs feelings common to the human experience, triggers memories, and stirs up deep emotional responses. Kids are among music’s most passionate and impressionable receivers. With the power to teach and transform, music is a gateway to creativity and the ideal outlet for a child’s natural exuberance, energy, and expression. Here, the high notes.


With schools increasingly underfunded, cutbacks to music and arts programs are the norm. But no matter where you come in on the education debate (more arts vs. a back-to-basics curricula), when you weigh the positive benefits that music has on a child’s physical, emotional, and social development, not providing any form of it seems more like a critical misstep than an unfortunate shortfall.

Supporting this notion are George and Inda Janis. If the name sounds familiar it’s because they own and operate Janis Music, which has long been covering the music beat in Manteca. “According to recent studies, learning music improves spatial and temporal reasoning,” they say. “Testing shows it can raise [one’s] I.Q. by 100 points.” Research also indicates that melody helps spark memory and stimulate imagination, while strengthening language skills.

Stats aside, many argue that it is not the schools’ responsibility to provide music education. Still others insist that music and the arts should not be a privilege for some but an essential right for all. As this debate soldiers on, some facts remain undeniable.

MUSIC IS A POWERFUL INFLUENCE Many parents don’t hesitate to register their kids for sports, not only for the physical benefits it offers, but also for highly serviceable lessons of teamwork, perseverance, and self-control; together, essential prep for establishing good relationships and, later, to achieve success in the workplace. Music, on the other hand, seems to require a bit more selling; not because parents don’t recognize and acknowledge its value—most do—but perhaps not to the same degree.


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In fact, music is equally vital toward helping kids of a formative age develop qualities such as selfdiscipline (music mastery takes practice), determination, improved communication and a host of other invaluable traits. And, because not all children are athletically inclined, music gives kids with a more artistic bent an opportunity to tap into their own unique gifts while nourishing their creative sides, which tend to need a bit more incubating. Equally important is that music exercises the body’s most important muscle—the brain.


Serving San Joaquin County since 1965, the Central Valley Youth Symphony provides young people ages 8-22 with the opportunity to play great symphonic music while making new friends! Weekly rehearsals at the University of the Pacific in Stockton prepare our student musicians for 3-4 concerts each season in Stockton, Tracy and Lodi. CVYS features two orchestras, and students in both groups receive expert coaching from Music Director Thomas Derthick and Preparatory Orchestra Conductor Shane Kalbach, with assistance from faculty and students from the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music.


1-888-FOR- CVYS |

For kids who have difficulty socializing, “music instills selfconfidence that allows shy children to come to the forefront,” The Janis’ explain. “We have witnessed this personally. Parents of these children are amazed when their child starts to interact with other adults and students. Communication is so important in this society that music and the ability to perform in front of a group are skills that will benefit them for a lifetime. When they succeed in music, they succeed in life.” Knowing this, Janis Music, as do other music schools and music teachers, make it a point to provide kids with a performance platform that allows them to nurture new and sometimes fragile self-confidence. Along with recitals, where students play for an

audience, students are encouraged to join a group that fosters interactivity, interconnectedness and new ways of relating to and with others. Given the cooperative component, parents of children with special needs have embraced music as a social lubricant. As a workability jobsite, notes the owners, “Janis Music has been awarded the Laraine Davenport Award for outstanding training of special needs kids. Some of these kids took lessons from our school and have shown great advancement. Music seems to bring everyone to the same goal and they learn to work as a team. They practice together and soon become close friends.”

MUSIC BRIDGES THE GENERATION GAP The bolstering sense of togetherness that music tenders cannot be overstated, especially when parents are to a much greater degree competing with myriad distractions (activities, technologies) for their kids’ attention. As good role models become harder to find, music is among the most positive modern influences on a child, very often serving as a first influence—an overwhelmingly affective force that will follow him into adolescence and adulthood. On this front, parents are at a huge advantage, as music can

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JAM WITH THE FAM! How to Start a Family Band

Give everyone a voice! Set aside time for appointment listening. During this session give every family member a chance to play their favorite songs for the group. Everyone should then provide kudos and constructive criticism. Determine your style. After everyone has chimed in, settle on what style of music the band will play—if new to music, enjoying the interaction and conversation is what’s most important. The goal is to enjoy one another. Find instruments. If your family is novice musicians, stick to secondhand finds scored cheap on Craigslist; but if you’re serious, musical instruments can be rented and then later purchased. Make sure you take a tutorial on cleaning from a music teacher or even on YouTube. Make time to practice together each week. But call it something a bit hipper so that doesn’t sound like work. Calendar “The Family Jam” session at least once each week at a time that it is most convenient for everyone so that you’ll stick to it. Focus on fun! If seasoned musicians, you may be good enough for an actual gig, but chances are you won’t be hitting the circuit anytime soon. Rather than assign anyone a lead, work together to make decisions, whether it be what classes to take, setting up a regular practice schedule or putting together a playlist!

strengthen familial bonds. Take group lessons, for example. Kids are more likely to embrace and stick with an activity that involves the whole family, which is why martial arts—which is performed by participants of all ages, and commonly, entire families—are so popular. Music also is one of the few things that, well, band, all members together in pursuit of quality time and a common goal. Janis Music offers a group program that enrolls fathers and their sons. Participating together, as a unit, levels the playing field, so that both parties have a healthy sense of power and contribution. This pairing is not uncommon. “Many family groups form with the older generation bringing in the new,” the Janis’ explain. “The Torres family from Lathrop started much the same way. They are still playing today. The best way to accomplish this is to have parents who are already involved with music to guide the younger generation along.”

To gauge how much of your child’s interest in music is actually your own, and how much is genuine, pay attention to their practice routine—are sessions regular and whine-free, or sporadic with a lot of persistence on your part? Practice is the sticking point for many parents who’d


“If the child doesn’t need prompting and plays the instrument willingly at home, you can be reasonably confident that they are getting the most out of their lessons,” the Janis’ note. “They should be glad when they show up for lessons and smiling when they leave. Our free lesson program can help to see if their child is ready for music lessons.” As parents, George and Inda Janis’ interest in supporting music and the arts in the local community goes beyond business. “We need to stand up and have our voices heard so that school boards and superintendents know that this is an important subject. The future of our children is truly in our hands.” Isn’t it time to put a future in theirs?

Some kids don’t need the encouragement—their interest is either innate or kindled by interactive means. Video games such as Rock Band, for example, and those similar, have introduced Mom and Dad’s music to their kids. It is something that both generations can talk about, engage in and enjoy together. From a participation standpoint, this is really just an extension of the days when families gathered around the campfire or under a shady tree in song, with Dad on guitar. “It was at these gatherings that kids could ask questions and get answers about their everyday problems,” say the Janis’. “It brought families together.”



rather not shell out their hard-earned cash for lessons when their preteen Pink refuses to strum twenty minutes like she promised—and, with fewer discretionary spending dollars available these days, rightfully so.

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GLORIOUS CITY PARK ADVENTURES Golden Gate Park, with its sheer beauty and breadth, is one of our country’s paramount city parks. Exploring the entirety of its 1000+ acres by walking or biking is our recommended approach. It may take an entire day but it’s worth every minute. Adding stops at the California Academy of Sciences, Japanese Tea Gardens, de Young Art Museum, Conservatory of Flowers, Bison Paddock, Stow and Spreckels Lakes, Koret Children’s Quarter and Golden Gate Carousel, and the authentic North Windmill and Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden can add an extra day or more to your trip but all should be considered.


Ready for some hearty belly laughs? Then don’t miss Beach Blanket Babylon, the longest continuously running musical review in American theater history—over thirty-seven years! This constantly changing topical show never gets old to us: the costumes with humongous outrageous hats, the original spoof-filled song lyrics and talented performers dazzle. (


3. FAVORITE HOLIDAY SEASON PERFORMANCE Every December the esteemed San Francisco Ballet Company puts on the most unique and mesmerizing version of the Nutcracker Suite we’ve ever seen as the national critics rave reviews attest. Tip: Go online early to secure tickets as sell-outs are inevitable. (

Nutcracker photo: Erik Tomasson

As much as we love our home among the vines here in San Joaqiun County, there’s nothing wrong with traveling out of town to explore new frontiers of family fun. Luckily for us, we are only a short drive away from one of the greatest, most beautiful cities in the world. San Francisco is packed with things to do for every kind of family, and we have a few great ideas to get you on your way. One over-riding caveat: before heading in, check a trusted weather source and choose a clear forecast.


Every year we try to make it to Fleet Week (this year, October 4-8) where the famous Blue Angels air-show team still enthralls us. Viewing the parade of ships and visiting the S.F. Maritime National Historic Park next to Fisherman’s Wharf to tour the dockside ships are added pluses. ( When going to Fleet Week we strongly recommend staying at the Hyatt-on-Fisherman’s Wharf where you’ll likely be rubbing elbows with Blue Angel pilots and crews usually headquartered there. Our fave S.F. sports bar, Knuckles-at-the-Wharf, is also at the Hyatt and their grub is first rate. (

Photos: Courtesy Blue Angels; SFCVB / P.Fuszard; SFCVB / Bob Ecker



Our favorite tour in all of Northern California is Alcatraz. Overseen by the National Park Service this tour has actually gotten better over the years and continues to amaze us with its eerie facilities, famous criminal inmate history and bizarre happenings including brazen escape attempts, the Native American siege and the days under U.S. Army control. ( alcatraz) A special tour of the ongoing project to beautifully revitalize the prison gardens is worth inclusion. (; (

6. UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH ‘THE BRIDGE’ The Golden Gate is one of the world’s most famous and photographed bridges and actually

strolling or biking on its sidewalk is so much better than driving across it. It might be a tad windy but the vistas and the bridge itself are exhilarating. Tip: For the best photo ops try the Visitor’s Center or Fort Point on the southern side or Ft. Baker on the northern end.

( Dining across the street at local favorite MoMo’s Restaurant and staying within walking distance at the lovely Hotel Vitale on the Embarcadero should enhance your experience. (; (


Even Oakland A’s fans will admit that AT&T Park is one of the country’s finest baseball venues. On non-game days, we recommend the insider’s tour of the ballpark that often includes insider info, visits to the press box, dugout, visitor’s clubhouse, batting cage area and a luxury suite. Tip: Every year around January or February the Giant’s sponsor a special Fan Fest Day with free admission and parking. Most of the team shows up and close-up player viewing, photographs and autographs are much easier to come by than during regular season games. 209.833.9989 I


choices. Tip: go to their website for a free Fun Pack booklet for discounted parking, dining and shopping redeemable at the pier’s California Welcome Center. Our dining recommendation here is Pier Market Seafood where clam chowder and the freshest fish reign supreme. (


Telegraph Hill is well known as the site of the famous Coit Tower and we think it provides some of the most gorgeous 360 degree vistas in the city. It’s also a perfect place to view holiday firework shows. Tips: As you ascend and descend the hill be on the lookout for the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill, avian residents for over twenty-five years. If you’d prefer to drive, you’ll find limited parking at the top. For a fee, taking an elevator to the tower’s top is another option.


San Francisco’s Chinatown claims to be our country’s largest enclave of Chinese ancestry and, in our eyes, it’s the most genuine and picturesque. The shops are especially popular with tourists but the restaurants are frequented by both visitors and locals alike. The annual Chinese New Year’s Parade is considered by many as a do-not-miss spectacle. Tip: Stop into the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory on Ross Alley for free samples and special made-to-order gems. ( We recommend staying at the hip Triton Hotel just across the street from Chinatown’s grand and glorious gateway arch. ( Although not as well known, Japan Town is also worth a visit for lovers of Japanese culture and cuisine. The serene Hotel Kabuki is our recommended pick for overnight visits. (

9. CHOCOLATE LOVERS’ HEAVEN ON EARTH Ghirardelli Square has long been one of our favorite places to dine (check out McCormick and Kuletos Seafood Restaurant) and shop (we frequent One Of A Kind, a store dedicated to fine woodwork by local artists.) Enjoying an always tempting visit to the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop for a sweet treat and listening to the talented musicians performing on the square are added plusses. The Annual Chocolate Festival usually held in


September benefits Project Open Hand and is a chocoholic’s must event. ( We suggest staying just down the street at the historic Argonaut Hotel, where a nautical elegance gives a luxury cruise ship impression. (


The Exploratorium, currently at the Palace of Fine Arts but soon to move to a pier location in 2013, is one of the most exciting, fun-filled educational experiences anywhere. Kids from 3 to 90 will find numerous exhibits to kindle major exuberance! (


How fortunate that the Walt Disney Family Museum chose San Francisco as its home instead of Anaheim or Orlando to showcase his life and achievements? Our country’s most famous animated film maker is honored with tons of his personal art work, memorabilia and artifacts from his life’s work. Driving through the striking grounds of its Presidio location and complimentary parking are key added benefits. (

15. FIRST HAND VIEW OF ULTIMATE RISK TAKERS A drive out to Fort Funston on the city’s coast always gives us a thrill to see the many hangglider aficionados run off the sky-high cliffs launching pad, fly out over the Pacific, and soar back for an often bumpy landing. We’re not really temped to try but we’re always excited to witness these daredevils first hand.


What’s a trip to San Francisco without a stroll down Pier 39, one of California’s most visit attractions. There you can see dockside sea lions, complimentary stage shows, the Aquarium of the Bay, browse eclectic shops, and choose from a wide variety of dining



Ghiradelli Photo: James Hall Photography


Our number one recommendation for a photo op is the “Painted Ladies”– a row of multicolored Victorian houses overlooking Alamo Square and we’ve heard that next to the Golden Gate Bridge it’s the biggest selling photo-postcard. A stroll or auto ride down Lombard Street, one of the world’s most crooked roads, provides another great Nikon moment looking up from the hill’s bottom.

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kids and parent: summer kids calendar

July August CALENDAR compiled by Jessica Clare

Legends of Baseball Vintage Showdown July 4, Stockton The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and the Oakland A’s team up to bring old school baseball to Stockton. Retired players and hall-offamers will play by classic rules, equipment and traditions, giving spectators a glimpse back in time to the early days of America’s pastime. Kids will have a chance to participate in a free clinic to learn sports and life tips from the pros. 4:30-8 p.m. Free with Fireworks on the Waterfront admission. Banner Island Ballpark, 404 W. Fremont St, Stockton, (650) 318-1886,

4th of July Parade on the Miracle Mile July 4, Stockton The Miracle Mile’s Independence Day celebration is the perfect way to show your patriotism proudly. Bring a lawn chair and grab a seat for the parade as you enjoy food and entertainment. 10-11 a.m. Free. Beginning at the corner of Harding way and Lincoln Avenue and ending on Tuxedo Court, Stockton, (209) 463-7982,

Port City Roller Girls Derby Bout July 14, Stockton Come support our local roller derby girls as they battle the Bay Area Derby Mizfitz in the rink. This rowdy, high-energy sport is full of spills, thrills, and kills (okay maybe that’s an overstatement.) This family-friendly sport is something different and lots of fun so be sure to stop by. 6:30 p.m. $5-$15. Stockton Indoor Sports Complex, 3251 N Ad Art Rd., Stockton, 1-888-99-DERBY,

Haggin Museum Summer Art Workshop July 17-20 and 24-27, Stockton Imagination can run wild in the Haggin Museum’s art lab as students explore artistic inspiration. This workshop is open to children aged 5-12 and will teach a variety of techniques, including drawing, painting, collage, sculpture and printmaking. Times vary. $45 for members, $55 for non-members. Haggin Museum, 1201 N. Pershing Ave, Stockton, (209) 940-6332,

American Idol Live! July 21, Sacramento AMERICAN IDOL LIVE! gives fans the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the top ten Idol finalists: Colton Dixon, DeAndre Brackensick, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Heejun Han, Hollie Cavanagh, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips and Skylar Laine. 7:30 p.m. $32-$65. Powerbalance Pavilion, 1 Sports Parkway, Sacramento, (916) 928-6900,



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Movies on the Downtown Plaza: The Smurfs July 27, Tracy Grab a blanket and bring the kids to Tracy’s downtown plaza for an outdoor showing of The Smurfs. The movie is free and open to the public, so stake out your spot and spend a summer evening watching movies under the stars. 6:30 p.m. Free. Tracy Downtown Plaza, 6th Street and Central Ave, Tracy, (209) 831-6200,

Astronomy in the Park July 28 and August 25, Stockton Spend a summer night stargazing with the Stockton Astronomical Society. High-powered telescopes will be provided and volunteers will be around to point out planets, constellations and far away galaxies. 8 p.m. $5 per vehicle. Nature Center at Oak Grove Park, 4520 W. Eight Mile Rd, Stockton, (209) 953-8814,

Stockton Ports vs San Jose Giants: Pink Night August 17, Stockton The Stockton Ports do their part to save ta-tas everywhere by hosting their Pink Night to raise money for breast cancer research. Attendees are encouraged to wear pink and participate in the pink jersey auction. Stick around for postgame fireworks. 7 p.m. Free. Tracy Downtown Plaza, 6th Street and Central Ave, Stockton, (209) 831-6200,

Taste of San Joaquin and the Way Out West BBQ Championship August 18, Stockton This annual BBQ championship and street fair brings the best in local cuisine to downtown Stockton. Visitors can taste award-winning BBQ from the finest west coast competitors for only $1, listen to live rock ‘n roll, or try games and activities with the kids. $3 for adults, kids under 12 are free. Weber Point Events Center, 221 S. Center St, Stockton, (209) 464-5246,

Summer ArtSplash August 10, Stockton Soak in local artistic talent at the ArtSplash in downtown Stockton. Families can stop into the Mexican Heritage Center to try hands-on, take home activities like origami, hand-made Filipino star lanterns, or musical instruments. Student art exhibits, open mic poetry readings and receptions will be hosted at several venues. Maps of galleries and exhibits will be available at the Mexican Heritage Center, San Joaquin County Law Library, Tidewater Art Center and Gallery, and other participation locations. 5-7 p.m. Free. Multiple locations, Stockton, (209 )464-6868,



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The New Children’s Ballet Theatre is produced by Dorothy Percival in association with Ballet San Joaquin, Bolshoi West, and P.O.P.A. (Professional Organization for Performing Artists) and will be assisted by Tamara Wagner and Marcos Minjurez.

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San Joaquin Kids & Parents JUly 2012  

San Joaquin Kids & Parents JUly 2012