December 2020

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Karimah Henry of @Craftingafunlife is sharing fun holiday crafts for kids. page 23


Events, Lights, Where to Find Santa & More! page 15


Open 24/7/365 with offices in Citrus Park, Trinity and Riverview! 2 DECEMBER 2020

WE HANDLE OUR PATIENTS WITH KID GLOVES. Emergency care for kids Emergencies are frightening enough. The emergency room (ER) shouldn’t make it more scary. At our pediatric ERs, we treat children in a kid-friendly environment, using things like cold spray and other drug-free methods of pain relief and doing procedures needle-less when possible. And our team members are trained to talk to kids like they’re kids, to make them feel safe and comforted. Additionally, keeping you safe is our priority—to help protect you and your child from COVID-19, we’ve put enhanced safety measures in place in our ERs. Learn more about the difference our pediatric ERs make:

PEDIATRIC ER LOCATIONS Mease Countryside Hospital • St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital • St. Joseph’s Hospital-South






ASSOCIATE EDITOR Anu Varma Panchal EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Sarah Rigby CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Laura Byrne Anu Varma Panchal Laurie Schacht Karimah Henry Kate White Anna Tataris DeJesus Tara Payor, PhD Julie Tingley Laura Cross Courtney Cairns Pastor Harvey Karp, MD Megan Armstrong, RD, LD

25/ THE GIFT OF PLAY: Glazer Children’s


ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Ralf Gonzalez LAYOUT & DESIGN Nicole Barolo of Page Four Creative Sarah Rigby CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Howie Mac Photo Jessica Fredericks Photography BOOKKEEPING Employee of the Month, LLC

Museum has these great ideas to encourage interactive play with your kids

26/ THE CARGO BIKE: Travel writer Anna

Tataris DeJesus shows us a cool new option on wheels for families with little ones

28/ SADDLE UP: How a love of all things

horse-related gave these moms the best gift of bonding time with their children

39/ WHY CHOOSE A K-8 SCHOOL? 5 Benefits

of an Elementary and Middle School Program

46/ MY CHILD HAS TO QUARANTINE. NOW WHAT? One parent shares their experience


with the dreaded call and how you to handle quarantine if it happens to your family


54/ IT ONLY TAKES A SECOND: The impor-

13/ COVER STORY: CHRISTMAS TOWN AT BUSCH GARDENS: The beloved holiday event returns with

56/ SAFE AND SOUND: A conversation about

From camps to fun activities, MOSI is THE place to be for holiday fun

safety precautions in place for a magical night

tance of water safety and why you should make your kids take swim lessons, especially if they have Autism Spectrum Disorder safe infant sleep with Harvey Karp, MD

15/ HOLIDAYS IN TAMPA BAY: Our top picks of


19/ 12+ PLACES TO DONATE NEW TOYS IN TAMPA BAY: Want to make a difference in a child’s life

60/ PLAYING IT SAFE: Tips on how to pick out



TAMPA BAY PARENTING MAGAZINE 320 W. Kennedy Blvd. Ste. 220 Tampa, Florida 33606 Phone 813-949-4400 Fax 813-315-6688

things to do with the kids around Tampa Bay and beyond

BECOME A FAN tampabayparentingmagazine @tampabayparenting @TBParenting

swaps for a healthier holiday dinner with the family toys that are as safe as they are fun

this holiday? Here’s a list of organizations where you can donate a new toy Read our Q & A with The Toy Insider’s Chief Toy Officer Laurie Schacht

8/ NOTEWORTHY: December’s highlights and noteworthy events

22/ GIFT IDEAS FOR THE MOM-TO-BE AND LITTLE ONES: Some gift ideas that family and

30/ MOMS TO KNOW: Meet Joanna Gutierrez

friends will love

Winters of Winters Global Solutions


of shares three cool holiday crafts for the kids

62/ WHAT’S ON TAMPABAYPARENTING.COM: Your most clicked stories and more!

ON THE COVER: Tampa Bay Parenting is published twelve times per year and distributed throughout the Tampa Bay community. Tampa Bay Parenting is not responsible for any errors, inaccuracies, omissions or incorrect information (or the consequences related thereto) contained within the magazine or online; readers should not rely on any information contained in the magazine and they should always consult with an appropriate professional for guidance. Tampa Bay Parenting accepts no responsibility for the consequences of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the information or materials provided by Tampa Bay Parenting. Some content published by Tampa Bay Parenting is sponsored or paid for advertising content, and some individuals quoted or cited in articles have paid for advertising or sponsorships; this content or opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Tampa Bay Parenting.


Tampa Bay blogger Karimah Henry of and @craftingafunlife is pictured at Christmas Town at Busch Gardens with her sons Caleb (5) and Kaisen (2). She’s sharing some fun holiday crafts for kids on page 23.

READ MORE ON PAGE 23 Photo Credit: Howie Mac Photography DECEMBER 2020

Karimah Henry with her two sons, Caleb (5) and Kaisen (2).



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Meet our contributors

Because of them, we are able to provide this family-friendly resource to you for FREE.


ANU VARMA PANCHAL Anu Varma Panchal has written and edited for area publications for nearly 20 years. She’s ac­tive on her children’s PTA boards, loves theatre, concerts, the local brewery scene and travel, and spends way too much time schlepping her 12- and 15-year olds around in her minivan. She never leaves home without her library card. You can find her at



Julie Tingley is an 8-year Tampa transplant who has found her way through numerous professional and parenting transitions by maintaining focus on her daily inspirations: Ella, 6, and Kate, 3. With a vision of a better future for her girls, she has introduced the KNOW Book + Tribe, a women’s publication and community, to Tampa Bay.

TBPM Editorial Assistant Sarah Rigby has a degree in vocal performance musical theatre, as well as minors in business and entrepreneurship. When not keeping Tampa Bay Parenting organized behind the scenes, you may see her portraying many of your favorite princesses with Parties with Character or dancing around Tampa Bay.

Story idea? Are you a local blogger or writer? If you have a content idea or a story to tell, tell us.


Tara Payor, Ph.D. has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. She is a contributing faculty member for Walden University, where she guides doctoral students through their dissertations. She is also a language arts educator. Reach her at



Anna Tataris de Jesus is an Emmy–nominated television journalist with a passion for traveling with her family. After 15 years on camera, Anna gave up hard news for travel reporting. In 2012, she and her husband Roy, also an Emmy–nominated television journalist, created “The Great Escape Plan” to travel Europe with their daughter Sophia and son Nikolas. Together they create videos for social media and their website in hopes to inspire other families to travel Family Style.

DR. HARVEY KARP Dr. Harvey Karp is a world-renowned pediatrician and child development expert. His celebrated Happiest Baby/Happiest Toddler books and videos have guided millions of parents and have been translated into 30 languages. In 2016, Dr. Karp debuted SNOO Smart Sleeper, a new class of responsive infant bed designed to add 1-2 hours to a baby’s sleep, quickly soothe crying and improve safety by preventing dangerous rolling. Dr. Karp is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the USC School of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is an advocate for children’s environmental health and a board member of the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Megan Armstrong is a registered dietitian currently serving her community through her role as an in-patient clinical dietitian and community health educator at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Texas Christian University and completed their Coordinated Program in Dietetics to become a registered dietitian. Her years of experience come from working in community centers and working directly with food insecurity at a local food bank. Her love of working in patient care comes from her lifelong passion for helping others. She believes nutritious foods should be available to everyone and loves teaching people new recipes and introducing them to new foods.

Learn & Play Tampa Bay offers: • Weekly In-Person Play Sessions • Weekly Virtual Play Sessions • Online Library of Original Content Early learning and literacy experiences at no cost to you: • Songs, stories, and play in English & Spanish • Support from experienced, bilingual Educators • Time to connect with your child through play




Attendance Space is limited. . Please register based on Lottery or at LearnPlayTam 26-7529). 833 GCM PLAY (4

We love this! My grandson has become so much more social and interactive with other kids. Gena

ildren: Participating Ch birth to 5 es ag n • Must be betwee an adult • Must attend with dress in • Must have an ad ty Hillsborough Coun

CLASSES PROVIDED AT THE CHILDREN'S BOARD FAMILY RESOURCE CENTERS: Brandon Children’s Board Family Resource Center 1271 Kingsway Road, Brandon FL 33510 Fridays: 10:15am-11:45am

South County Children’s Board Family Resource Center 3030 East College Avenue, Ruskin FL 33570 Thursdays: 10:15am-11:45am

Central Tampa Children’s Board Family Resource Center 1002 East Palm Avenue, Tampa FL 33605 Tuesdays: 10:15am-11:45am

Egypt Lake TRIBE Seminole Heights 6111 North Central Avenue, Tampa FL 33604 Fridays: 10:15am-11:45am

North Tampa Children’s Board Family Resource Center 116 West Fletcher Avenue, Tampa FL 33612 Tuesdays: 10:15am-11:45am

Town 'N Country Children’s Board Family Resource Center 7520 West Waters Avenue, Suite 8, FL 33615 Wednesdays: 10:15am-11:45am

Temple Terrace Doretha Wynn Edgecomb Children’s Board Family Resource Center 5892 East Fowler Avenue, Temple Terrace FL 33617 Wednesdays: 10:15am-11:45am Additional Locations Coming 2021: Plant City, West Tampa, and Gibsonton. Locations, dates, and times are subject to change. Stay up to date at



[ noteworthy ]



It’s manatee season in Crystal River! As the temperatures begin to drop. manatees make their way to the pristine springs of Crystal River where you and the family can experience them up close. Crystal River and Homosassa Springs are the only places in North America where you can legally swim with manatees in their natural environment during a guided tour. Plantation on Crystal River offers tour packages for a unique experience you and the kids will never forget! The season runs through March 31, 2021.

The holidays and movies usually go hand in hand, but if you’re not ready to sit in a movie theater with strangers, why not rent the entire theatre for a private screening? You can do it at AMC theatres! You’ll still need to wear a face mask unless you are drinking or eating. The private screening fee starts as low as $99 plus tax for several different movie titles and goes up to $149 to $349 for new releases. The fee covers up to 20 tickets. While there is no minimum food and drink requirement, you will not be allowed to bring in your own. There are 11 AMC theatres in the Tampa Bay area. Learn more by visiting

JUNIOR LEAGUE OF TAMPA HOLIDAY GIFT MARKET: The Junior League of Tampa’s 17th annual Holiday Gift Market presented by Publix is going virtual this year! This is one of the League’s largest fundraising events of the year. A portion of the sales from the 100+ small business merchants will help support the League’s programs and projects that support families in our community. You can shop online through Dec. 13.


LETTERS TO SANTA USPS: Photo credit: Darlene Barlows Photography

Did you know your child can get a letter from Santa? The United States Postal Service’s “Greetings from the North Pole” program makes this possible, real postmark from the North Pole and all! You’ll want to get your child’s letter in the mail no later than Dec. 7 to be safe. We’re sharing the details on what you need to know on

The Dali in St. Petersburg is the first venue in North America to host a virtual experience like no other. Van Gogh Alive brings the artist's greatest works to life using high definition projectors and music to make you feel as if you have literally stepped inside one of his paintings like “Starry Night” and “Sunf lowers.” You will be required to wear a face mask and practice social distancing when you go to experience Van Gogh Alive. Copyright: © 2020 Grande Experiences

Van Gogh Alive

NUTCRACKER AT THE STRAZ: The Next Generation Ballet is bringing back the Nutcracker in a way you’ve never experienced before! Nutcracker Wonderland will be performed outdoors on stages throughout the Straz Center campus and Riverwalk Stage on select nights between Dec. 11 and Dec. 23. There will even be a special visit from Santa! Seating will be social distanced and face masks will be required. It will be magical!

ENCHANT CHRISTMAS GOES VIRTUAL: The beautiful lights of Enchant Christmas so many of us were able to enjoy last year at Tropicana Field are on hiatus this year due to COVID-19, but you’ll still be able to experience some of the Christmas magic virtually. The Enchant Shop brings the market to your fingertips with unique gifts for everyone on your list. You can even sign up for a phone call from Santa! Enchant Christmas hopes to return to Tropicana Field in 2021.




Holiday Section

‘Tis the Season of STEAM! by Janet White, Director of Education, photos provided by MOSI

The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) on Fowler Avenue continues to be a community resource for your family. Whether you visit the exhibits or attend an educational program, MOSI provides a safe, engaging place for children to thrive in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM). MOSI’s STEAM education programs guide students through inquiry and critical thinking using hands-on experiences. By integrating STEAM, we encourage kids to use their natural curiosity to explore, discover and innovate. In all of MOSI’s programs, students work collaboratively and creatively to discover new passions and build on existing skills while surrounded by other creative and motivated children.

WINTER BREAK CAMPS: Winter break means no school! Keep your child’s mind engaged while having fun at one of MOSI’s four fun-filled, interactive Winter Break Camps this December. All of MOSI’s programs incorporate safety protocols following the CDC guidelines.

DREAMING OF A STEAM–CHRISTMAS! (Dec. 21-23; K-3) Bring in holiday cheer by using chemistry to break down candy canes or create Rudolph f lashlights and Christmas-colored bouncy balls and candy glass. This is going to be a fun and festive time with STEAM!

READY, SET, MOD! (Dec. 21-23; Grades 4-8) Get ready to build your own mods for everyone’s favorite blocky game. Learn how to modify Minecraft and make it your own by adding blocks, items, mobs and more. This is Minecraft, but with YOUR personal touch!

10 DECEMBER 2020

COOL CHEMISTRY (Dec. 28-30; K-3) Nothing is cooler than chemistry! From bouncy balls to home grown crystal snowf lakes, we cover it all. Learn about the states of matter and the difference between endoand exothermic reactions. Make your own ice cream and chill out in this cool camp.

ROBOTICS 101 (Dec. 28-30; Grades 4-8) Get ready for an exciting camp where you’ll build, program and test robots using the LEGO EV3 system. Work together to overcome the daily challenge and make it through our obstacle course. Finish the week with an epic showdown in the Robot Battle Arena!

CHECK IT OUT! NEED A COUPLE OF HOURS TO TAKE A BREAK OR GET READY FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON? Check out Minecraft Mania each Saturday where your child can learn new tricks while exploring Minecraft with a MOSI educator. TIRED OF GIVING THE SAME OLD GIFTS? This season, give an experience where memories are made. A gift of a MOSI membership lasts all year long and helps to support a local non-profit. Have a child who has everything? Give the gift of camp for a week or Minecraft Mania on a Saturday!




















Sc i ence Af t er D ar k



4 8 0 1 E A S T F O W L E R AV E • TA M P A • 8 1 3 - 9 8 7 - 6 0 0 0 • M O S I . O R G MOSI is a leader in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives by making science real. DECEMBER 2020 11


Holiday Section

Take a ride on Falcon's Fury and see the park's millions of lights from a whole new perspective.

Our cover family got a sneek peek at the Holly Jolly Express at Christmas Town where you can take a ride while singing your favorite songs of the season.


Photo Credit: Howie Mac Photography

For the first time ever, park guests can enjoy Busch Gardens’ longest-running holiday show at a NEW outdoor location on the Festival Stage.

12 DECEMBER 2020

Festive Fun at ChristmasTown by Rebecca Romzek, Public Relations & Communications Manager, photos provided by Busch Gardens

Wrap up the year with holiday cheer at Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™, the park’s award-winning holiday event. Christmas Town runs daily with park-wide festive fun from Nov. 20 through Jan. 3, 2021.





To bring the merriment to life, Busch Gardens’ creative team has consulted with medical experts to offer a modified event with required reservations and limited capacity that celebrates the spirit of the season safely. This seasonal event features open-air entertainment and experiences as well as enhanced health, safety and sanitation measures, including temperature checks, face covering requirements and physical distancing. Included in park admission, park guests can enjoy holiday traditions with a twist, from millions of twinkling lights throughout the park’s 335 acres to physically distant holiday shows, breathtaking animal encounters and contact-free visits with Santa and Rudolph® the Red-Nosed Reindeer. P h o to

DAZZLING ENTERTAINMENT: A warm-weather winter wonderland awaits park guests with a variety of holiday programs. Guests are encouraged to check the park’s website before visiting to learn which programs are available each date. This year, guests will have several opportunities to enjoy “Spark the Night,” a new fireworks show filled with festive bursts of Christmas colors that cover the sky in a dazzling display. Fireworks are offered select nights throughout the event at the Festival field, offering plenty of space for guests to spread out and enjoy the sights. For the first time ever, park guests can enjoy Busch Gardens’ longest-running holiday show at a NEW outdoor location on the Festival Stage. This fan-favorite skating production will feature awe-inspiring delights on real ice for physically distant audiences every Friday through Sunday and additional holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. With the Holly Jolly Express, Three Kings Journey and Elmo’s Christmas Wish, there’s heartwarming holiday entertainment for everyone to enjoy.


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DELIGHTFUL TREATS: As guests dash through the night between iconic rollercoasters, they can explore the Christmas Town Village: a delicious destination filled with drinks and dishes from an all-new chef- and mixologist-created holiday menu. Beyond a selection of fan-favorite seasonal beers and mulled wine, guests can also choose from a variety of new holiday inspired beverages rooted in classic Christmas traditions. These unique, limited-time options include the “Winter Wonderland Hot Toddy” made with winter cider, honey whiskey and a chai infusion and the festive “Spiked Hot Cocoa” with gingerbread crumbles, caramel and whipped cream. The spirit of the season is in every bite of holiday dishes throughout the park such as sliced pork tenderloin, smoked turkey legs with pumpkin cider glaze, harvest turkey and prosciutto sliders and a variety of peppermint desserts.

THE WISH LIST: After fueling up for festive fun, guests can check everyone off their holiday shopping list with every thing from dazzling ornaments to charming nutcrackers. Busch Gardens exclusive 2020 merchandise is only available during this special event.

Visit for more information, park hours and to purchase tickets, Fun Cards or Annual Passes.



NOV. 21 - JAN. 3

Make new memories every night at Busch Gardens Christmas Town






*EZpay available to Florida Residents only. Proof of a Florida residential address (non-PO box) is required (valid Florida driver’s license or valid Florida state-issued ID card with a Florida address). Credit card holder must be over the age of 18. Once your initial 12-month EZpay commitment is satisfied, your Pass will continue and your credit card will be charged on a monthly basis, subject to your right to cancel at any time. SEA reserves the right to change your monthly payment amount after the expiration of the initial term. Please refer to EZpay contract for full terms and conditions. Price does not include taxes or service fees and is subject to change without prior notice. Benefits and pricing vary by Pass type. Annual Pass term starts on date of purchase. Following initial term, please check our website for the current benefits and rewards. Benefits are valid only at park(s) of membership and are subject to availability, change or cancellation without prior notice. Annual Pass includes unlimited admission during the initial 12-month commitment and any renewal period. Does not include admission to select special events (including Howl-O-Scream®). Parking not included and blockout dates apply for Fun Card or Bronze Annual Pass. Free Guest Ticket: Valid for Silver, Gold, and FL Platinum Passes. Quantity based on tier of Pass. Limited per Pass Member per initial term to your choice of (one) 1 park of membership excluding Discovery Cove. Parking not included. Ticket must be used on the day printed. Discounted Guest Tickets: Valid for Silver, Gold, and FL Platinum Passes. Quantity based on tier of Pass. Savings based on full-paid adult single-day admission and valid per park(s) of membership per initial term. Ticket must be used on the day printed. Free PhotoKey Annual Digital Photo Downloads: Valid for Gold and FL Platinum Passes. Valid at SeaWorld & Aquatica Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Limit 1 Free Photo Print per Platinum Pass Member. Limit 1 per initial term. Free Animal Encounter: Valid for Gold and FL Platinum Passes. Limit 1 (one) free animal encounter per Pass Member per initial term. Includes a Dolphin Encounter at SeaWorld Orlando or a Serengeti Safari at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Based on availability. Pass Member must visit Guest Services at the park to make reservations the same day that the reward is redeemed from the self-service kiosk. Animal encounter may be booked for the same day as visit or for a later date pending availability. Online or phone reservations are not available at this time. Other restrictions apply. © 2020 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.

14 DECEMBER 2020

Holiday Section

Holidays in Tampa Bay


*Events, dates and times are subject to change and cancellation. Be sure to check with each event website or social media before you head out the door.

Like everything else in 2020, the holidays will look pretty different this year. However, while travel or large holiday gatherings may not be on the agenda, we don’t have to let COVID-19 be the Scrooge of our season. It just calls for some slight adjustments: You may not be able to sit on Santa’s lap this year, but that doesn’t mean the big guy won’t visit at all! And here’s another benefit: Checking out Christmas lights during a drive-through means you can sing along at the top of your voice to the carols radio station. Here’s our list of socially-distanced and safe December activities in Tampa Bay that will be sure to bring some holiday cheer to your family.










WHERE TO SEE SANTA IN TAMPA BAY: SANTA’S MERRY MEET & GREET AT BUSCH GARDENS CHRISTMAS TOWN Daily through Jan. 3 Jolly elves guide guests for a physically distant photo with Santa at a spacious new outdoor location this holiday season. SANTA AT ZOOTAMPA’S CHRISTMAS IN THE WILD Select Nights Through Dec. 30 Santa and one of his reindeer have traveled to Africa aboard a Safari truck to greet you for a unique safe photo moment and unforgettable holiday memory. SANTA CLAUS VISITS THE FLORIDA AQUARIUM Dec. 5, 12 & 19, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Santa will be making a stop on Saturdays at the Florida Aquarium! To keep the jolly old elf safe and healthy, he'll be sitting behind a snow globe (aka germ barrier), but you'll still get to say hello and even snap cute photos! Keep in mind that masks are required for all guests ages 3 and older at the Aquarium. SANTA AT BASS PRO SHOPS 10501 Palm River Road in Tampa, Through Dec. 24 A ‘Magic Santa Shield’ will help protect Santa so he stays healthy for his big trip around the world, but your kids will still be able to talk to him and even snap a photo during this contactless visit. You will need to make a free reservation online. There are other holiday themed activities too! DRIVE-THRU SANTA VISIT AT SAFETY HARBOR CITY PARK Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Santa is waiting to meet you and the kids during this unique photo opportunity! You don’t even have to get out of the car for your photo which is the whole point to keep everyone safe. You will want to pre-register to get your photo. SANTA PHOTOS AT TAMPA BAY SHOPPING CENTERS Santa’s visits to several Tampa Bay Area malls and shopping centers like International Plaza in Tampa are being orchestrated by Cherry Hill Productions to ensure a safe visit and memorable photos with Santa. Advance registration is strongly encouraged and face masks must be worn by all guests ages 2 and older to keep Santa safe. Kids will not be able to sit in Santa’s lap, but they will get close enough for a chat and photo. Book your spot:

OUR FAVORITE PLACES TO SEE HOLIDAY LIGHTS IN TAMPA BAY: Christmas Town at Busch Gardens and Christmas in the Wild at ZooTampa top our list of holiday lights, but there are even more to explore: WONDERLAND OF CHRISTMAS LIGHTS & SANTA’S CHRISTMAS VILLAGE AT HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS IN DOVER Through Dec. 27 You and your family can drive through a mile of spectacular Christmas lights. If you choose, after seeing the drive-through Christmas lights you can make a visit to Santa’s Village at the end. Santa’s Village features wagon rides, a Circus Show, camel and pony rides and more Christmas lights and Holiday activities for children and adults of all ages. HOLIDAY LIGHTS & RIDES AT LARGO CENTRAL PARK Through Jan. 3, 5-10 p.m. Largo Central Park will light up again with more than 2 million LED Christmas lights. This is an outdoor walking Christmas light tour only, not a drive-through Christmas light display, so the Largo Central Park Holiday Light display organizers will be sure you remind everyone in your party to stay six feet from other people. There will also be rides, including a seven-story Ferris wheel, to give you a bird’s eye view of the 70-acre park.

WATERFRONT LIGHTS IN ST. PETERSBURG Through Jan. 3 Stand along the pedestrian walkways at North and South Straub Parks in St. Petersburg for this free light show on the water. There will also be Christmas lights and displays at Pioneer Park, Vinoy Park and the new St. Pete Pier. CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS LIGHTS 2020 IN SHADY HILLS Select Nights Through Dec. 20 Enjoy a great holiday light display in Port Richey! This Christmas light event takes place at the Concourse in Shady Hills in Pasco, a short Christmas light drive away from Tampa Bay. This light event happens weeknights 6-9 p.m. and weekends 6-10 p.m. $10 per carload. 11919 Alric Pottberg Road, Shady Hills 34610. TAMPA HOLIDAY LIGHTED BOAT PARADE Dec. 19 (rain date: Dec. 20), 6:30 p.m. This is another social distancingfriendly activity because there are so many viewing spots along the Riverwalk between Armature Works all the way through the Sail Pavilion and even a spot over by Sparkman Wharf. *We have even more holiday light displays to see on



Holiday Section



CHRISTMAS TOWN AT BUSCH GARDENS Daily through Jan. 3 From mid-November until the end of December, Busch Gardens will begin its annual Christmas Town festivities. Included with park admission, guests can enjoy beautiful lights, a new fireworks show, contactless meet and greets with Santa and other character favorites from the classic “Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer” television special!

SEAWORLD ORLANDO’S CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION Through Dec. 31 Head to SeaWorld Orlando to make new holiday memories with festive shopping, delicious food and dazzling live shows inspired by the natural world. Stroll the lakeside Christmas Market and pick out unique, artisan-crafted gifts. The Christmas Celebration is included with park admission.

NUTCRACKER WONDERLAND AT THE STRAZ Select Nights Dec. 11-23 The Next Generation Ballet has re-imagined the beloved holiday ballet with moments and performances on stages throughout the Straz Center campus and Riverwalk Stage. Guests will be required to wear a face mask. And be on the lookout for a special visit from Santa! See showtimes and purchase tickets at

CHRISTMAS IN THE WILD AT ZOOTAMPA Select Nights Through Dec. 30 Enjoy a special evening as ZooTampa lights up with holiday magic! This year’s modified event includes new attractions, like a Holiday Kaleidoscope. The outdoor Christmas Market presented by Melitta is also back with some tasty holiday treats. Advance reservations are strongly encouraged due to limited capacity.

GRINCHMAS AT ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE Through Jan. 3 Head over to Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort for “warm fuzzies with a side of sarcasm” at Seuss Landing. Enjoy holiday festivities and cheer as you immerse yourself in Dr. Seuss’ Whoville.

HOLIDAYS AT LEGOLAND Select dates through Dec. 31 See a dazzling 30-foot tall LEGO Christmas tree made of 270,000 LEGO bricks at LEGOLAND Florida Resort in Winter Haven. Young guests can send letters to the North Pole, sing along to Christmas tunes on the carousel and watch a live show featuring Mrs. Claus and her holiday helpers. Capture precious memories at one-of-a-kind, socially distant photo ops with LEGO Santa, LEGO Gingerbread Man, LEGO Toy Soldier and more. legolandflorida. com

WALT DISNEY WORLD Through Dec. 30 Magic Kingdom has put Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on hiatus this year, but they are still bringing home the magic with holiday decor and treats, themed character cavalcades, pop up appearances by Santa and super cool holiday projections on Cinderella’s Castle. Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are also decorated and will have character cavalcades throughout the day. The Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays started on Nov. 27 with the sights, sounds and tastes of the season from cultures around the world. Masks are required for all guests ages 2 and older.

WINTER VILLAGE AT CURTIS HIXON PARK Through Jan. 3 Outdoor ice-skating returns in downtown Tampa with a few changes to keep people safe. Capacity is being reduced by half and you will be required to make an advance reservation to book your time to skate. NEW this year is a trackless choochoo train that will make loops around the park. The popular outdoor marketplace is also returning this year. LOST PEARL: A PIRATE’S CHRISTMAS Set sail on a pirate-themed Christmas cruise on Tampa’s pirate ship, the Lost Pearl. The ship departs from Sparkman Wharf for a festive 45-minute cruise filled with themed activities, including an opportunity to write and mail a letter to Santa and drop it off in Tampa’s only floating mailbox! PIRATE WATER TAXI RIVER OF LIGHTS Select Nights Throughout December Don’t miss this water taxi cruise to view Tampa’s Christmas lights and holiday decorations. The Christmas Light cruise departs from the Tampa Convention Center and includes cookies, hot chocolate and Holiday Christmas carols. There is also a special Christmas Light cruise for the Tampa Holiday Lighted Boat Parade on Dec. 19. GINGERBREAD VILLAGE AT GLAZER CHILDREN’S MUSEUM Through Jan. 3 Celebrate the holidays at the Glazer Children’s Museum with a gingerbread-inspired wonderland. Visit GCM’s sweet winter wonderland to build a gingerbread house and watch the village grow, all made from recycled materials like cardboard, pipe cleaners, bottle caps and more! Gingerbread Village is included with museum admission.


Lost Pearl: A Pirate's Christmas

NOON YEAR'S EVE EVENTS ON DEC. 31, 2020 PINT SIZED NOON YEAR’S EVE AT LARGO CENTRAL PARK PERFORMING ARTS CENTER BEGINNING AT 10:30 AM This daytime event is designed just for kids featuring music, crafts and more! Only one parent per child is allowed to attend. The center will provide party blowers for tots to celebrate. Cost is $8 per child before Dec. 26 and $10 after Dec. 26. DOWNTOWN COUNTDOWN AT GLAZER CHILDREN’S MUSEUM Ring in the New Year at the Glazer Children’s Museum with countdowns, family play projects and socially-distant celebrations throughout the day. You can celebrate as a family by day and still have time for evening festivities. Downtown Countdown is included with museum admission. LEGOLAND FLORIDA: KIDS’ NEW YEAR’S EVE This celebration isn’t at noon, but early enough for the kiddos to celebrate with a fireworks display at 8 p.m.

16 DECEMBER 2020




Photos International Plaza has reimagined Santa’s Flight Academy into a socially distant, safe experience: • By reservation and pre-payment only to eliminate crowds and lines • Socially distant photos with Santa • No-touch experiences throughout • Heightened cleaning protocols




® DECEMBER 2020 ®





/internationalplazaandbaystreet @internationalplaza









Visit to make your reservation with Santa.


Holiday Section




The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on families and the non-profit organizations that support them. If you are financially able, donating a new toy and even food for their families will make a big difference this holiday season. We’re sharing some local nonprofits your family can support, whether it’s in-person or by shopping online!



Your financial gift will help fulfill the wish of foster children in our community. Along with your donation, you can also send a heartfelt note to the child, which will be delivered directly to them. They’ve set a $20,000 goal this year. Donate by visiting

This U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program collects and distributes Christmas gifts for children of all ages. Donate new, unwrapped toys at any of the drop-off locations in Hillsborough County. To learn more about the Toys for Tots program and locate toy drop-off sites, visit

METROPOLITAN MINISTRIES HOLIDAY TENT  The Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent is expecting to assist more than 40,000 families with 50,000 children this holiday season, a demand they’ve never seen in their 48-year history. Non-perishable food and toys are in significant need, along with volunteer hours if you can spare your time to work in the Holiday Tent. If you are still strictly social distancing, you even have the option to shop gift and food registries online! Learn more at

CHILDREN’S HOME NETWORK You can help local at-risk families year-round, but your help is always needed during the holidays. They also have a great need for clothing, shoes, bedding and personal care items. There are even shop-the-gift registries online to directly support the kids and the cottages they call home. Visit the Christmas Giving section under the “How You Can Help” tab at to learn more about how you can help.

HOPE CHILDREN’S HOME You can shop the general Christmas Wish List online and the gifts will be delivered directly to the children of Hope Children’s Home. Gift cards are another favorite gift because the children often love to go shopping for things they’ll need throughout the year. Learn more by visit and select Christmas under the “You Can Help” section.

Resident families at the Ronald McDonald Houses of Tampa Bay need your help to have a better holiday season. You can donate new gifts for children, including toys, books, board games and movies. Gift cards and pantry items are also appreciated by the families. You can see the whole list at rmhctampabay. org/other-ways.


SALVATION ARMY The Salvation Army Angel Tree is a great way to directly give to a local family and child during the holidays. There are Angel Tree locations throughout Tampa Bay. Visit to find one near you.

MARY LEE’S HOUSE Mary Lee’s House assists abused and neglected children in our community through a collaboration of government, private agencies and support from the public like you. They accept donations of new toys, baby items, books and sporting equipment yearround. Donations can be dropped off during business hours at the Tampa office at 2806 N. Armenia Ave.

THE SPRING OF TAMPA BAY You can donate new toys (no stuffed animals) year–round to The Spring of Tampa Bay, which supports domestic violence survivors and their families. Survivors can pick out items in the thrift store to help them rebuild their lives. The store is also open to the public, and 100% of items sold go back into supporting the families with emergency shelter and services. This is also a good time to clean out those closets and donate gently used or new items you and the kids have never worn.

ST. JOSEPH’S CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL  Year-round, St. Joseph’s Children's Hospital accepts toys, activities and comfort items for children of all ages ranging from infants to teens. Items such as Play-Doh, puzzles, educational games, video games and teethers are just a few of the items on the wish list. For the complete list, visit give2stjoeskids. org. You can drop off new toys and gifts at the information desk in the lobby at 3001 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

JOHNS HOPKINS ALL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL  New, unused toys for infants, children and teens can be dropped off in the hospital lobby. You can find their wish lists on Amazon for NICU Nook, Baby Bundles, Kids Corner and Teen Scene. Learn more about items needed at

SHRINER’S HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN  The patients at Shriner’s Hospital for Children need your help for a better and more festive stay this holiday season. Due to space and patient needs, only new items on the wish list (that includes arts and crafts, Barbies, Uno cards, trucks and more) can be accepted. Find the full wish list for the Tampa Shriner’s Hospital at locations/Tampa.

BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF TAMPA BAY The Boys and Girls Club is collecting new toys for children of all ages from elementary to high school age, and would appreciate puzzles, board games, toy cars and more. Toys and gifts for children and teens can be dropped off at 4221 W. Boy Scout Blvd., Suite 450. To learn more about the Boys and Girls Club, visit


Even if donating new gifts isn’t part of the family budget this year, you can ask your children if they want to donate some of their gently used toys they don’t play with anymore. Organizations such as Salvation Army, Goodwill, churches, schools and others will accept used toys and gifts. After all, giving is in the spirit of the holidays!



Holiday Section

INSIDE LOOK: The Toy Insider’s Hot Toys List for 2020

by Laura Byrne

The team at The Toy Insider has what is arguably the coolest job ever: to play with and test thousands of toys each year, narrowing down a list of favorites to help parents like you find the perfect gift.

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In true 2020 fashion, we Zoomed with Schacht to find out what it takes to put together their annual Holiday Gift Guide and how she got her start.


Like many of us, The Toy Insider had to make the ‘pandemic pivot’ by taking their popular Holiday of Play event virtual to announce the Top Toys for the 2020 holiday season. This is where we caught up with The Toy Insider’s Chief Toy Officer Laurie Schacht, a mom of three who now calls Southwest Florida home.

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TBPM: Laurie, before we dive into the top

TBPM: This year was a bit different for your team as you



toys, we want to learn more about you and The Toy Insider and how it works.

The Toy Insider is a guide. We update our website all year long, but for the holidays, we have a print edition as well. It is all about being the most important resource for parents who are searching for the perfect gift for their kids and any adult who is a gift giver for children in their lives, so our list is broken down by age. We also break out a Hot 20, a STEM 10 and a 12 Under $12. The whole Toy Insider team, we’re a group of editors who are looking, reviewing and playing with toys all year long. [It’s] not a bad job to have, but I will say it is tough work narrowing it down to a list.

TBPM: How did you get your start in what is probably the most FUN business ever?


I actually grew up in the toy business. My father had been a publisher of a trade magazine called Toy and Hobby and then in 1983, he started The Toy Book. For the last 18 years, I have been the Chief Toy Officer for The Toy Book and then we launched The Toy Insider about a year and a half later.

TBPM: You and your team review thou-

sands of toys every year. How do you narrow it down? What’s your criteria for a top toy?


Play value is one of the most important things, but we look at the integrity of the toy, the ingenuity—is it new? Every thing on the Toy Insider list is new (as of at least 2019). We also look at how much does this toy cost at retail and is it worth it? It’s not easy to make a decision. There are a lot of things that go into what is going to be on that final list.

had to begin working remotely. What has that been like for you all?

We play with quite a few toys, and it’s funny. In a normal world, we’re in the office and I’ll hear hootin’ and hollering in our conference room and it’s because my team is having so much fun toy testing that I know they found a winner. This year it was a little more challenging. We’re doing a lot of virtual demos. We did get to see every thing in October and again in February—we do go to shows where we get hands-on even if a product is not ready, even if we’re just playing with a prototype or an early sample. And then the toy companies, since they’re not sending to every single one of us, they’ll send us a few samples to test and to check out.

TBPM: We found a whole new appreciation for toys this

year. How do you think it will impact the toy selection this holiday season? We’ve seen a lot of nostalgic type characters on your list like Super Mario Bros Lego sets.


That one is fun! Even games like Twister are back. There’s a new game of Operation out that’s a pet version which is a lot of fun. I think that parents have discovered playing games with their children is fun; it’s fun for everybody. There’s one called Drone Home that’s a hoot. There’s a game called Hands Full: I want you to think about Twister, but 2.0. And also, people discovered puzzles this year. Crafts have also been a huge item that have done really, really well.

TBPM: Anything else you want to add? SCHACHT: It’s important to remember to not get caught up in the hype. Know your child and the kids you are buying for. Use us as a guide. We look for things for all children who have all kinds of different interests.

20 DECEMBER 2020 treemouse



Our top picks from the Toy Insider’s 2020 Holiday of Play Crayola Imagination Art Set 4+, $19.99

Blockaroo Critter Set 18 months+, $29.99

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Grow-the-Fun Garden Kitchen 18 months+, $79.99

Just Play Blues Clues and You! Dance-Along Blue Plush 3+, $49.99

Step2 Side-by-Side Push Around SUV 18 months-5 years, $149.99

LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Mario Starter Course 6+, $59.99

Barbie Color Reveal Slumber Party Fun Set 3+, $49.99

WeCool Toys Butter Cloudz Castle Bucket Grape 4+, $9.99

Healthy Roots Dolls Zoe 5+, $79.99

HEXBUG Nanotopia 3+, $49.99 Just Play Licensed Face Masks 14 count is $14.99 Fits most kids ages 2-7

Hands Full! 6+, $24.99

National Geographic Earth Science Kit 8+, $24.99

Step2 Ball Buddies Adventure Center 18 months+, $99.99

National Geographic Science Magic Kit 8+, $14.99

Crayola STEAM Space Science Kit 7+, $19.99

Geomag Magnetic Tiles Made From 100% Recycled Plastic 5+, $79.99 Monster Jam Megalodon Storm All-Terrain Remote Control Monster Truck 4+, $43.99

Just Play Doc McStuffins Wash Your Hands Singing Doll 3+, $24.99

VTech® Go! Go! Smart Wheels® Ultimate Corkscrew Tower™ 1-5 years, $29.99



Holiday Section

Gift Guide for the mom to be and the little ones

Each set includes 400 pieces and 1 or 2 baseplates. With Glow-in-the-Dark, learn to build dragons, planets and stars.


5-12 $24.99,

Made from food-grade silicone, this adjustable bib is perfect for a clean mealtime. Available in multiple colors. $12.99,

WORLD OF ERIC CARLE: THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR DOUBLE SIDED FLOOR PUZZLE The Very Hungry Caterpillar helps teach children colors and shapes with this 2-sided floor puzzle. One side features a beautiful rainbow filled with colors, and the other side introduces eight unique shapes.

KOMUELLO BABY SHOES: Meet the most innovative-designed baby footwear that combines a sock and a shoe in an easy pull-off and pull-on design. 0-36 months $34.00,

3+ $13.99,

PUTTISU PEEL OFF NAIL POLISH Puttisu features nail color that easily peels off. Water-based and non-toxic, Puttisu eliminates 18 different harmful chemicals usually found in nail polish from its formula. 6 months+ $14.99,

EV ER EDEN GOLDEN BELLY SERUM Made from 13 nutrient-rich botanical actives to provide a multi-reparative treatment to naturally help skin regain comfort, elasticity and glow, the serum is ideal for skin during pregnancy and postpartum. adult $32,



This Makeup Set looks just like Mom’s, but without the mess or expense. All items are made from 100% safe plastic, foam and rubber, so you won’t be cleaning up any misapplied lip gloss.

It can carry everything you need for a day at the beach, an evening in the park and everything in between. Featuring a changing station, sustainable material and a luggage slide/laptop pocket.

2-5 $24.99,

adult $199,

NEW CHICCO® FIT4™ 4-IN-1 CON V ERTIBLE CA R SE AT First to Prov ide Tailored Fit at Ever y Stage from Birth to Year 10 All-in-one car seat from Chicco offers an exclusive grow-with-you 4-Stage child fit design, more recline positions, a best-in-class harness height, and additional unique features for better child fit vehicle fit and easy installation. 0-10 years $349.99,

22 DECEMBER 2020 Tetiana Garkusha


Karimah Henry is our December cover mom along with her two sons, Caleb (5) and Kaisen (2).

DIY Crafting Fun

with Karimah Henry of Christmas Town is always a Henry family favorite, so we knew these annual Busch Gardens passholders would be a perfect fit for this month's issue! When Henry and her kids aren’t out and about exploring Tampa Bay, you’ll often find them crafting at home and sharing their adventures on Instagram at @craftingafunlife. If you don’t already, definitely give her a follow! We asked her to share some of her favorite holiday crafts to inspire some crafting magic in you and your kids.

DIY GIANT CARDBOARD REINDEER Supplies: cardboard, scissors, paint, glitter ornament, 4-inch wiggle eyes (2), glitter (optional), paint brush, pencil or marker, hot glue gun, glue Directions: ★

Search your recycling bin for a cardboard box. Then draw a simple reindeer face and antlers on the cardboard. Thin cardboards are easier for younger children to cut.

Have your child apply any color paint to the reindeer face and antlers. We decided to keep it simple by using only brown for the face and gold for the antlers. Allow the paint to dry.

Next, glue the wiggle eyes to the reindeer face.

Attach the glitter ornament for the nose by either using glue or poking a hole and popping it in.

We love glitter so we added some to our antlers. This step is optional.

Finally, glue the antlers to the back of your reindeer face.

DRIP PAINT DIY CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS Supplies: clear plastic ornament, acrylic paint (2 or more) Directions: ★

Have your child squeeze some paint into the opening of the clear plastic ornament.

Swirl the ornament around until the paint stops dripping.

Add a different color paint to the ornament and continue to swirl. Use at least two different colors.

Place the ornaments upside down in an empty cup or egg carton to allow any excess paint to drip out.

Let the paint dry for at least 24 hours then hang your ornament or give it to a family member.

DIY CARDBOARD CHRISTMAS WREATH Supplies: cardboard, acrylic paint, ribbon, pom poms, paint brush, glitter, sequins, mini gift bows, stickers Directions: ★

Grab a board from a recycling bin to complete this project.

Find a large circular object in your home (like a platter), then trace a circle on the cardboard. Then cut a smaller circle inside to form the wreath.

Let your child paint their wreath any color. Allow it to dry.

Start decorating your wreath by adding glitter, sequins, pom poms or other festive items.

Finally, secure the ribbon around the wreath, then hang it inside of your home. DECEMBER 2020


Sponsored by

November 21-January 3 Treat yourself to some festive fun in Gingerbread Village at the Glazer Children’s Museum! Build your own sweet design using recycled materials, then add your house to our growing village.

24 DECEMBER 2020

Give the Gift of Play! This holiday season, give your loved ones a family membership to GCM for a full year of imagination & discovery! Visit

Holiday Section

The Gift of Play by Kate White, Director of Marketing and Communications at Glazer Children’s Museum

Play is the foundation of early learning and development. Children grow and learn through play as they develop their physical, cognitive and social and emotional skills. And they need play now more than ever. It offers respite and is a wonderful tool for coping with stress. This holiday season give your child the gift of play with presents and experiences that promote family connection, physical activity and imaginative play.

FAMILY PLAY: At the Glazer Children’s Museum, we are noticing an interesting trend during this pandemic. By spending more time together, families seem to have shifted the way they play and communicate. We are seeing more interactive family play and the benefits that go along with it. When parents play with their children, it deepens the family connection and enhances the early childhood learning and development that is quietly happening beneath the surface. Here are some gifts that promote family play. ★ Board games for family game night ★ Yard games like croquet and corn hole for outdoor fun ★ Books for family story time ★ Equipment for family adventures like camping gear or bird watching binoculars ★ Annual membership to an interactive museum like the Glazer Children’s Museum for a whole year of discovery


Exercise is vitally important for kids, and play is the best way for them to get moving. At the Glazer Children’s Museum, our exhibits help develop fine and gross motor skills, from building blocks in Engineer’s Workshop to the Water’s Journey climber. Physical play allows kids to explore boundaries and discover what their bodies can do. Here are some gifts that promote physical play. ★ A bike, scooter or roller skates to get them up and moving ★ Sports equipment like a soccer ball or tennis racket to practice new skills ★ Classic toys like a jump rope or hacky sack that will entertain them for hours ★ A slack line to practice balance and risk taking ★ Annual membership to a hands-on museum like the Glazer Children’s Museum, or any play place that gets your child excited to move


Imaginative play is one of the most beneficial tools for any child, leading to a lifetime of innovation and creativity. At the Glazer Children’s Museum, we witness imaginative play every day. Children can try on the different roles of hospital workers in the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital exhibit, put on a show in the Little Stars Theater, tend crops in the Farm and more. Allow your child’s imagination to run wild with these gifts that promote imaginative play. ★ Costumes that transport them to new worlds ★ Toy tools for little helpers with big imaginations ★ Doctor or vet equipment for nurturing compassion ★ Blocks and other tinkering toys for design-thinking and invention ★ Art supplies for expressing creativity ★ A journal for writing imaginative stories ★ An annual membership to any cultural attraction that promotes creativity and imagination



a new way to see tampa bay: A FAMILY CARGO BIKE

by Anna Tataris de Jesus

Exploring Tampa on a bike just got a lot easier for my family. We laugh together as we ride to Hyde Park Village, The Riverwalk, Armature Works and Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. We ride at the same pace. I can see them all the time and no one is left behind. That’s because we are riding together on a Bunch Family Cargo Bike. This family adventure started when I was driving down a South Tampa street and saw a man pedaling along effortlessly on what looked like a bike with a bucket in the front. In it were

two kids strapped in with seat belts. I’ll never forget the contagious smiles on the kids’ faces. My mouth dropped open. I slowly followed them in our car until it was safe enough to ask the magic question, “Where did you get that bike?” Little did I know that soon, I would be answering that same question for others. You see, I am a mommy who loves family travel. In fact, for the last eight years I’ve used my journalism skills to make videos inspiring families to travel the world with their children. It’s my passion! But 2020 obviously had a different plan for us. I wondered how as a family we could still enjoy exploring new places together in a socially distanced and safe way. I had visions of my kids smiling and laughing too. We couldn’t bike very far if we

got individual bikes, since my littlest one is still learning. And, honestly, I hadn’t ridden a bike for an extended length of time in years. I did my research on Family Cargo Bikes and decided to get a Bunch Bike with electric assist. The Bunch Family Cargo Bike has a wooden cargo box in the front with bench seats facing each other and enough seatbelts to safely seat four children. There’s cargo space underneath the seats for groceries or anything you pick up along the way. It has electric assist which obviously makes it easy to ride. It has 5-levels of speed but trust me, the 48v battery has so much power you probably won’t go past three. Once I ordered the bike from the Texas company, it arrived in a few weeks already assembled and delivered to my

front door. It was an investment, but one of the best I’ve ever made. We aren’t spending all our time in the car anymore, because we can use the family cargo bike for small errands too. It will travel 35 miles on a single charge. This family purchase couldn’t have come at a better time. The city of Tampa recently announced they received a grant for a major expansion of the Riverwalk which will include new bike lanes stretching to nearby neighborhoods. And personally, for us it was a life saver. We wanted to explore together again in a safe way and now we are doing it in our own city. So be on the lookout for us as we zoom by you with smiles on our faces. If we are going too fast to answer you, I’ll just tell you now: It’s called a “Bunch Bike.”

FOLLOW: Facebook @TheGreatEscapePlan and Instagram @TheGreatEscapePlan1 26 DECEMBER 2020

Age Has No Limits Reinvent Yourself

B U B B L E S A N D B L O W O U T S . C O M | 8 1 3 . 8 7 1 . 2 8 2 2 | 8 0 8DECEMBER S D A L2020 E M ABRY, TAMPA 27

Saddle Up: Galloping Through Time & Tradition with Our Children by Tara Payor, Ph.D.

I love giving loved ones gifts. Life teaches that the most memorable gifts are experiences. Days (sleepless nights, too) with our children are numbered. No greater gift exists than sharing time and hobbies with children. When time is gifted, no novelty wears off.

TRADITION Traditions are beautiful, and more likely to be passed down than gadget gifts. Quarantine gifted two Tampa moms with traditional silver linings. Shelley Sciortino and Katherine Stone grew up steeped in horsemanship. Sciortino, mom to Harrison (6) and Liam (5), and Stone, mom to Isabella (10), reentered the equestrian world when the world shut down amid COVID-19. “It’s always been in my blood,” Sciortino says. “Whenever we go on vacations, I book every horse activity.” She started riding in kindergarten and proudly shares her love for animals with her children. “The boys are learning horses’ magnificence, as well as the kindness and respect they deserve.” Stone’s tradition of horsemanship, like Isabella’s, started at 9: “I had my horse until law school, and I always missed the saddle. It wasn’t in the cards until recently.” This summer, Stone’s parents, farm and hay business owners in Mississippi, were going to sell their horses. “I woke up in the middle of the night and knew I wanted Bob, the grey horse.” The two women got a trailer and brought Bob to Tampa. Following in their mothers’ tradition, the Sciortino boys and Isabella saddled up, learning all things horsemanship from the ground up.

WORK ETHIC Equestrianism is a time commitment. Sciortino, an Instagram inf luencer, and Stone, attorney and law firm owner, have slammed schedules. However, busy moms are time-savvy people. Tacking horses onto the schedule leads into lessons about time management and solid work ethic. Stone and Isabella ride several times a week to 45-minute lessons, and the fourth grader maximizes car time for reading and studying. Stone sets up a mobile law office when traveling to horse shows. Sciortino underscores how long tacking, untacking and clean-up take. “The boys are learning responsibility. I don’t do barn chores for them. They’re practicing things like picking hooves.” There are mom-child disagreements, surely, and both moms have trainers aiding with kids’ instruction. Lessons learned about hard work’s value will carry kids through many successes; good ol’ dirty, sweaty work—with a focus on process over product.

CONNECTION Isabella, who plays softball, shares that pastime with her dad. Liam and Harrison, avid fishermen, share that passion with their father. Riding has given the moms a touchpoint unique to them and the kids. “We constantly talk about Bob and horseshows. The house brims with horse stuff, and I love sharing that with her,” Stone recounts. Stone’s mom also enjoys repurposing old show outfits for Isabella and the ten-year-old loves having her Gigi and Bubba at shows. Beyond loving extra connection with the boys, Sciortino has reconnected with herself. “Riding is like church for me. It helps my anxiety. It’s filled a void.” Sharing passions with children breeds lifelong bonds and connections more significant than any tech gift provides. Introducing kids to our cherished hobbies encourages trying new things, supports a mastery mindset, and gifts parent and child with the most precious, elusive gift: time.

Isabella Agliano showing in Western Pleasure. The 10-year-old started showing horses with her mom as a byproduct of COVID. The saddles she uses belonged to her aunt, Stone's sister.

28 DECEMBER 2020

Shelley Sciortino and sons Liam and Harrison. Shelley grew up riding in the Hunter Jumper tradition and says the sport has clicked with both boys.

BEFORE BRIDLING, DO… ● Research varying riding styles ● Seek guidance from a trainer ● Start with lessons (great holiday gift) ● Consider associated expenses ● Understand the sport is not gender bound ● Follow Shelley on IG @shelleysciortino ● Follow Bob on IG @bobthegreyhorse

Shazia Nagamia Sparkman

Attorney concentrating in Family & Matrimonial Law

313 South Bungalow Park Avenue Tampa, Florida 33609 813.374.2000 DECEMBER 2020


moms to by Julie Tingley, The KNOW Book + Tribe Director, KNOW Tampa and KNOW St. Pete | Clearwater

JOANNA GUTIERREZ WINTERS | W IN T ER S GL OB A L SOL U T IONS TELL US ABOUT YOUR BOUTIQUE FIRM, WINTERS GLOBAL SOLUTIONS, AND HOW YOU ARE ABLE TO PARTNER WITH AND SERVE LOCAL BUSINESSES. I founded Winters Global Solutions after working for many years for the U.S. government, both at the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense. In Tampa Bay, we focus on supporting local organizations in leadership, team building and assisting in creating collaborative organizations. Our company’s work in task force development, leadership, strategic planning and building intelligence capabilities is something that I am proud of. My husband, a Navy Seal for 33 years, is sought out to speak on these topics throughout our community.

IN WHAT WAYS DID YOU PIVOT AND WHERE WERE YOU MOST SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR CLIENTS AND YOUR FAMILY IN THE MIDST OF THE PANDEMIC THIS YEAR? For our clients overseas, we did not have much of a change as we are always using technology to our advantage. In fact, we gained a few more clients as a result of it. On a personal level, we are now virtual schooling our daughter who is in 2nd grade. I was thinking about educating her through virtual school but was afraid to take the leap, since I am juggling several balls at any given time. The pandemic forced us into that situation. Having my daughter at home and watching her grow intellectually every day is truly a gift that I am cherishing. YOU ARE ALSO PRESIDENT OF THE FREE NETWORK. TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW THIS NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION IMPACTS OUR TAMPA BAY COMMUNITY AND HOW THE READERS HERE CAN SUPPORT YOUR EFFORTS. I am so honored to have the opportunity to give back to my community in this capacity. Human trafficking is a horrible crime that exists everywhere, including in Tampa Bay. Florida is the third highest state in our nation to receive calls from the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The FREE Network is a collaboration of organizations dedicated to ending human trafficking


and supporting those who have been affected by this terrible crime. To get involved and/or learn more, please visit our website

WHAT PIECE OF INSIGHT OR ADVICE CAN YOU SHARE FROM YOUR PHD FOCUS IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND PEACE STUDIES THAT WILL HELP MOTHERS AND BUSINESS OWNERS TO PREPARE FOR THE NEW YEAR? Conflict is everywhere. It is part of life, and the way we decide to view conflict has a profound effect on how we each deal with it. For several years, I thought about getting a PhD. When I read about the program on Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies, I knew I was ready. I think I could write a book, and someday I might, but for now I created My hope is that some of the strategies and insights I’m learning on managing conflict and finding inner peace will help others. I think we all need a little bit of this. If you change/adjust your metaphor or meaning of conflict and view it as an opportunity, your mind will find ways to turn conflicts into occasions for transformation and growth.

EVEN WITH ALL YOU DO AS A BUSINESS OWNER, A PUBLIC SERVANT AND A MOTHER, YOU ARE ALSO COMMITTED TO AN EXCITING PASSION PROJECT WITH YUMMY GLOBE. TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS INITIATIVE. I love to cook, and I love food! When I was comfortable enough to take my daughter to day care, I asked myself, “If I had to choose a different career path, what would I have done instead?” My answer was always: “Become a chef!” So, I decided to go to culinary school. It was a wonderful experience! [My husband and I] both gained some weight during this time. He ate 20 eggs (no kidding) during egg week where I had to master flipping two eggs without breaking them. It took me 10 tries. We didn’t eat eggs for two months after that! As a result of my culinary adventure, I created, a place where I can continue to explore my passion for food and community and share that with others. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO IN TAMPA BAY WITH YOUR FAMILY? We live on Clearwater Beach and love it! I have to say that going to the beach is definitely one of our favorite things to do. To me, our sunsets are proof that everyday can have a beautiful ending. DECEMBER 2020

Photography by: Jessica Fredericks Photography


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See All Things With Your Heart, Not Just Your Eyes DECEMBER 2020


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QUIT YOUR WAY Quitting tobacco isn’t easy. Finding help should be. Tobacco Free Florida offers free tools and services to help you get started.

USF Area Health Education Center presents

FREE Virtual Tools to Quit Classes Start the New Year off Tobacco Free!

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, quitting is more important than ever! Let us help you get the support you need from the comfort of your own home.

***MONTHLY SCHEDULE*** Every First Saturday of the Month 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Every Second Sunday of the Month 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Every Second Wednesday of the Month 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Every Third Monday of the Month 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Every Third Thursday of the Month 5:00 PM- 7:00 PM

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32 DECEMBER 2020

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Your Guide to:

Ta m pa BayArea Schools The Tampa Bay area is lucky to have such a wealth of incredible private, charter and magnet education options making it easy to find the perfect school for your child. ACADEMY AT THE LAKES

2331 Collier Parkway, Land O’ Lakes 34639 813-909-7919; Academy at the Lakes is an independent, non-denominational college preparatory school located in Land O'Lakes. Offering grades PreK3-12, Academy is a learning community of shared values dedicated to the success of each individual. Academy at the Lakes celebrates the love of learning and the joy in the journey.

Enrollment: 475 Class-size: 7 Grades: PreK3-12 Tuition: $12,300$25,250

ACADEMY OF THE HOLY NAMES 3319 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa 33629 813-839-5371;

Enrollment: 970

The Academy of the Holy Names empowers students to be authentic individuals who engage in independent thought, are inspired by creativity and lead culturally aware, spiritually rich lives. Our innovative approach to curriculum integrates technology, encourages artistic expression and actively engages students in exploration and inquiry.

Grades: PreK-8 Coed, 9-12 All Girls

Class-size: varies by division.

Tuition: $13,000 (PreK) to $20,730 (High School)

ADMIRAL FARRAGUT ACADEMY 501 Park St. N., St. Petersburg 33710 727-384-5500;

Admiral Farragut Academy is a co-ed, private PreK-12 school that offers boarding for grades 8-12. Farragut offers more than just an education—it’s an experience, a journey, a launch point for life. The student body represents an average of 32 countries and 17 U.S. states. Signature programs include aviation, marine science, scuba, sailing, engineering, NJROTC and leadership. Summer day and boarding camps also offered. Discover what only Farragut students can experience.

Enrollment: 500 Class-size: 17:1 Grades: PreK-12 Tuition: $13,000$50,000


5995 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S., St. Petersburg 33705 727-310-8243;

Enrollment: 140

Alegria Montessori School is an authentic Montessori program that creates a rich learning environment and supports individual development. We are also a bilingual program, with students receiving Spanish instruction throughout the week from native Spanish speakers. We offer a true Montessori education through middle school. Come discover the joy of Montessori.

Grades: age 1 to grade 8

Class-size: Small class sizes in elementary and middle school Tuition: Varies depending on age


3909 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa 33611 813-839-4297; Bayshore Christian School is a college preparatory, accredited, non-denominational Christian school serving students 2 years old through 12th grade. Founded in 1971, Bayshore Christian School is located on 10 acres in residential South Tampa. BCS provides athletics and fine arts opportunities in addition to a rigorous and challenging academic curriculum.

Enrollment: 250 Class-size: 10 Grades: K2-12 Tuition: $8,860-$10,800


13221 Boyette Road, Riverview 33569 813-793-6075; A tuition-free public charter school proudly serving grades 6-12, Bell Creek provides a well-rounded college preparatory education. The challenging and rigorous curriculum includes a special concentration on math and science, a technology-rich atmosphere and a focus on character development. We are an “A” rated Florida School of Excellence offering the Cambridge Program for Advanced Studies and an award-winning athletic program and are Cognia accredited. KEY



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Grades: 6-12 Tuition: FREE



EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section BERKELEY PREPARATORY SCHOOL 4811 Kelly Road, Tampa 33615 813-885-1673;

Enrollment: 1,386

In Berkeley Preparatory School’s safe, nurturing environment, inspiring teaching, engaged parents and alumni and incomparable facilities come together on a beautiful campus. Our broad curricular and extracurricular program serves a diverse community of learners who relish a supportive culture, the school’s Episcopal identity, its ongoing commitment to continual self-improvement and a deeply authentic dedication to making a positive difference in the world.

Class-size: 20 Grades: PreK-12 Tuition: $18,370-$27,750

BISHOP MCLAUGHLIN CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL 13651 Hays Road, Spring Hill 34610 727-857-2600;

Enrollment: 350

Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School provides a Christ-centered education that nurtures the development of the whole person. Bishop has a 100% graduation rate and a 100% college-acceptance rate. We are the number one college-prep, private high school in Pasco County as ranked by Niche. com and offer a wide variety of class options, sports and extracurricular activities.

Class-size: 20 Grades: 9-12 Tuition: $13,595


801 Limona Road, Brandon 33510 813-689-1952;

Enrollment: 237

Motto: QUALITY EDUCATION IN A COMMUNITY OF RESPECT At Brandon Academy, students, parents and teachers work together in an environment supported by open communication and community pride. Experienced, respectful children with a positive attitude toward learning are the end result of the Brandon Academy school program.

Class-size: 12 Grades: PreK3-12 Tuition: $6,350-$12,200


110 N. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater 33759 727-449-2247;

Enrollment: 675

Calvary offers an advanced college preparatory education in an environment where students are taught a Christian worldview with the Word of God being integrated into each subject. Calvary also offers many extra-curricular activities for your child including athletics, fine arts, SGA, clubs and leadership opportunities.

Class-size: 13:1 Grades: 9-12 Tuition: $13,800 + fees

CAMBRIDGE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 6101 N. Habana Ave., Tampa 33614 813-872-6744;

Enrollment: 690

Cambridge Christian is a college preparatory, Christian outreach school serving students 3 months through 12th grade. We are an award-winning, National Blue Ribbon 2020 school. Our goal is to partner with parents and the local church in the education of your children. This partnership provides a strong foundation for college and life. Visit us today!

Class-size: 17 Grades: 3 months through grade 12 Tuition: $8,000-$16,000

CANTERBURY SCHOOL OF FLORIDA 990 62nd Ave. NE, St. Petersburg 33702 727-521-5903;

Enrollment: 350

Canterbury School of Florida is a private, co-ed, college preparatory school on two campuses in Saint Petersburg serving ages 3 through grade 12. Founded in 1968, Canterbury School of Florida educates and nurtures the whole child in mind, body and spirit in preparation for college and an honorable life as a responsible steward of our world.

Class-size: 12 Grades: PreK3-12 Tuition: $6,000$22,000


Bearss Avenue Campus | 1515 W. Bearss Ave., Tampa 33613 Early Childhood Campus | 12606 Casey Road, Tampa 33618 813-920-2288;

Enrollment: 1,008 Class-size: Varies

Carrollwood Day School is a world class co-ed IB school in Tampa for college-bound students age 2 through 12th grade. CDS fosters the development of the entire student not only in academics, but also ethically, emotionally and through social experience. Our goal is to help students discover and develop their own talents and interests and use these to better the world and themselves.

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Grades: Age 2 to grade 12 Tuition: $6,500$24,000


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Solid Rock Community School “Making the World a Greener Place”

*Scholarships Available

Now Enrolling K-12 School Options Available: Traditional Virtual Blended Solid Rock Community School is “Making the World a Greener Place” with our sustainable seed-to-table lunch program, environmentalism classes, and a strong focus on health, wellness, and fitness. We encourage, challenge, and inspire our students to become thinkers, leaders, and collaborators who can contribute to the greater good of society and be good stewards of the world in which we live.

2801 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs, FL 34688 | | 727-934-0909


Rigorous, Dynamic Curriculum Faith-Based Perspec�ve and a Christ-Centered Worldview •

Located in Citrus Park 6201 Ehrlich Road Tampa, FL 33625

Caring and Qualified Faculty Cost-Effec�ve Tui�on and Scholarships

Preschool (K3 & K4) - 12th Grade some restric�ons apply for 7th-12th grade Call Today! 813.884.8250 x235 DECEMBER 2020


Introducing the

STEAM Signature Program at Shorecrest A new academic track allowing for in-depth study of Computer Science, Engineering, or Entrepreneurship and Design

#1 School for STEM in the Area; Ranked among the Best Schools in the State by

Learn more at


5101 1st St. NE | St. Petersburg, FL 33703 | 727-522-2111 | DECEMBER 2020

EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section CENTER ACADEMY

6710 86th Ave. N., Pinellas Park 33782 727-541-5716; Founded in 1968 and AdvancED accredited, Center Academy provides a small, safe setting to help students to focus, organize and learn. We work with students in grades 4-12 with ADHD and learning differences and accept McKay, Gardiner and Tax Credit Scholarships. Dual enrolment and summer programs are available.

Enrollment: 90 Class-size: 18 Grades: 4-12 Tuition: $12,680-$15,180

CHANNELSIDE ACADEMY OF MATH & SCIENCE 1029 E. Twiggs St., Tampa 33602 813-579-9649;

Students at this tuition-free, public charter school receive a well-rounded college preparatory education. The challenging and rigorous curriculum includes a special concentration on math and science, a technology-rich atmosphere and a focus on character development preparing students for their secondary education and beyond. Offerings include the Cambridge program for Advanced Studies, Edvantage before and after school program, Tampa Bay’s Grasses in Classes Program and Cognia accreditation.

Grades: K-8 Tuition: FREE

CHRIST THE KING CATHOLIC SCHOOL 3809 W. Morrison Ave., Tampa 33629 813-876-8770;

Christ the King Catholic School offers an academically challenging PreK4 through 8th grade curriculum in a nurturing, Christ-centered environment. Our outstanding faculty, joyful campus and enriching academics provide students with a strong foundation of skills, compassion and confidence to excel at the area’s leading high schools.

Enrollment: 507 Class-size: 23 Grades: PreK4-8 Tuition: $8,230-$9,940


Toddler & Primary Campus, 4930 Webb Road, Tampa 33615; 813-886-2050 Elementary & Middle Campus, 8411 Civic Road, Tampa 33615; 813-886-3969 Community Montessori School provides a prepared environment that responds to the developmental needs of the child and cultivates the unique potential of each individual by adhering to Montessori principles. CMS is a warm, secure community with a high expectation for the quality of thought, work and mastery of content and skill.

Enrollment: 133 Class-size: Average 25 Grades: 18 months-15 years Tuition: $7,200-$10,700

CORBETT PREPARATORY SCHOOL OF IDS 12015 Orange Grove Drive, Tampa 33618 813-961-3087;

Founded 52 years ago, Corbett Prep offers the International Baccalaureate curriculum for all students. Teachers use research-based strategies to create hands-on learning experiences. Visual and performing arts, team sports and social-emotional learning curriculum align to develop confident, creative, innovative thinkers with character ready to contribute to the world in a meaningful, positive way.

Enrollment: 514 Class-size: Varies by grade (12-20) Grades: PreK3-8 Tuition: $12,890-$17,410


1850 N. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater 33759 727-799-1618 ext. 1901; Countryside Christian Academy’s mission is to provide excellence in Christian education while instilling Biblical principles in students’ lives that they might impact their society for Christ. Our program is fully accredited and well-balanced, encouraging the development of the whole child: spirit, soul (mind) and body.

Enrollment: 140 Class-size: 1:15 Grades: K5-8 Tuition: $9,000 + fees


5495 Pinellas Park Blvd., Pinellas Park 33781 727-542-6294; Covenant Academy offers a college preparatory and Christ-centered education in a safe, nurturing and engaging environment. We’re the only certified University-Model® school in Florida. Stimulating, character-based teaching is provided three days a week in the classroom paired with two days of home learning. We offer an award-winning art instructor, soccer program and music education by the Patel Conservatory. KEY



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Enrollment: 54 Class-size: 10 Grades: K-10, Dual enroll at grade 11. Tuition: $4250-$5150





(813) 961-3087 • PreK3-8th Grade • 38 DECEMBER 2020


Why Choose a K-8 School?

5 Benefits of an Elementary and Middle School Program by Courtney Cairns Pastor, photos provided by Corbett Preparatory School of IDS

Middle School may seem miles away when you are looking for a pre-kindergarten or kindergarten school for your child. And if you have a student entering sixth grade, does it really matter if his school includes an elementary or high school program? Actually, it does. The grade levels a school includes can inf luence the experiences students have when enrolled there. A school that includes elementary and middle grades, also known as a K-8 model, offers advantages to students socially and academically over a school that stops at fifth grade or includes high school students.



A school where eighth graders are the oldest gives middle school students the chance to be “top dogs” at a time in their lives when they are especially vulnerable, according to a 2016 study in the American Educational Research Journal. At a school that starts with sixth grade, however, middle school-aged students sit at the bottom of the pecking order. Shifting from “top dog” status in fifth grade to the bottom rung as a sixth grader may contribute to academic declines in middle school, already a difficult time for students due to hormonal changes and peer pressures. Students who attend schools that encompass kindergarten through eighth grade—such as Corbett Prep, which starts in PreK3—have more chances to be “top dogs.” That privilege translates into a better experience socially and academically for students. The benefits even extend to new students who transferred into a K-8 school during their middle school years.

The elementary and middle school model also encourages parents to stay active in their children’s education. A key indicator of student success, parent involvement remains steady through the middle grade years in K-8 schools while engagement tends to drop off after students graduate from K-5 elementary schools. At a K-8 school, middle school parents are comfortable volunteering and have had years of positive community experiences and connections. They also may have younger children at the school, motivating them to stay involved.



As the oldest at their school, middle school students act as role models for their younger classmates. Corbett Prep hosts special middle school retreats and overnight trips to help sixth through eighth graders learn leadership skills, discover their personal strengths and work together as teams. Middle school students can serve as ambassadors to school guests, giving tours and answering questions about Corbett Prep. They plan community service efforts or school spirit days and learn to advocate to the administration when they want changes, such as adding refillable water bottle stations to campus or establishing an eSports league. When middle school students partner with their younger buddies in elementary school at schoolwide events or in their classes, everyone benefits. At Corbett Prep, elementary students also have opportunities to participate in certain sports or performances alongside the middle school kids. The friendships formed build community while preparing younger students to step in as mentors one day.

Middle school can be a tough adjustment for kids used to the warm cocoon of elementary school. But it doesn’t have to be. Small class sizes, familiar settings, leadership opportunities and an uninterrupted continuum of support help students thrive in K-8 schools, make them feel safe and contribute to a consistently positive environment. SAT scores in reading, math and science are significantly stronger in K-8 schools than in the traditional 6-8 environment, according to a study done by Dr. Robert Offenberg, a researcher for the Philadelphia school district. Students from K-8 schools were 11 percent more likely to be enrolled in selective high school programs. When looking for a school for your child, remember to think beyond the grade they are entering and consider the school as a whole. A school dedicated just to elementary and middle school grades provides families with a caring and supportive community while balancing challenging academics. It may be just what your family needs.

IT MAKES TRANSITIONS SMOOTH: Once a year, Corbett Prep fifth graders cross the street to spend a day at the middle school and learn what life will be like as sixth graders. But by the time they go, many are already familiar with the building, faculty and students. Corbett Prep’s student-centered community develops over an 11-year span, emphasizing caring and belonging. Faculty and staff collaborate across grade levels and get to know students well, and teachers meet in the summer to learn from colleagues about the incoming class. In eighth grade, teachers help each student find their best fit for high school. Having had years of support to discover their strengths and passions, Corbett Prep graduates attend a wide variety of high schools based on their interests: magnet arts or science programs, International Baccalaureate schools, religious education or rigorous private high schools. DECEMBER 2020


EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section DOWDELL MIDDLE MAGNET (ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES) 1208 Wishing Well Way, Tampa 33619 813-744-8322;

enrollment: 625

We bridge passion for the environment with real world learning. Students can take unique environmental and animal science electives. Students learn outdoors with our salt marsh grass nursery and land lab, and experience our hydroponics and aquaponics labs. Education at Dowdell is strengthened by our proud partnership with The Florida Aquarium.

Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE

DUNBAR ELEMENTARY MAGNET (MEDICAL SCIENCE) 1730 Union St., Tampa 33607 813-276-5677;

Enrollment: 260

We partner with AdventHealth, USF Health’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine and the Patel Conservatory. Students participate in show choir, drums and Little Kids Rock band. Student-led inquiry and goal setting, National Elementary Honor Society, 3-D printing, and Genius Hour are other elements creating a great learning experience.

Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-5 Tuition FREE


4302 24th St., Tampa 33610 813-276-5608;

Enrollment: 583

As a Cambridge International Magnet School, we are dedicated to developing confident, dynamic, educated young women. Our technology-rich, interactive learning campus—including our 1:1 iPad program—infuses 21st century technology skills into every student’s learning. Our rigorous Scholar Quest high school credit courses challenge our students in a variety of subjects.

Grades: 6-8

Class-size: 22 Tuition: FREE


3915 21st Ave., Tampa 33605 813-744-8108;

Enrollment: 530

As a Cambridge International Magnet School, we are molding young men of distinction who will achieve greatness. We promote academic achievement, professionalism and self-confidence. Our young men prepare for college in a technology-rich environment with a robotics makerspace and Smart Boards and iPads available for every student. Free after-school Enrichment Academies including debate, golf and Model UN.

Grades: 6-8

Class-size: 22 Tuition: FREE

THE FRENCH AMERICAN SCHOOL OF TAMPA BAY (FASTB) 2100 62nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg 33702 727-800-2159;

FASTB offers a multicultural educational experience that is unique in this region. French is the language of instruction in all subjects, so children are immersed, learning the language in context and becoming bilingual naturally. Our school is in-person, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place, and we still have slots available for 2020-21 in our small, flexible environment. Contact us today - Merci! (Licence #52511985542)

Enrollment: 40, Capacity is 80-90 Class-size: 15 Grades: Pre-K (age 3)-8 Tuition: $6,500-$13,500


6925 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa 33617 813-987-6926;

Enrollment: 819

Our school-wide IB candidate program, guided by International Baccalaureate World School principles, launches in Temple Terrace in Fall 2020. Rigorous STEM and Pre-KAPS (King HS Advanced Placement Scholars) programs are offered, along with Scholar Quest high school credit courses including engineering, culinary and computer science. *Transportation provided for attendance-area only.

Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE


2704 N. Highland Ave., Tampa 33602 813-983-7278;

Enrollment: 2,000

Hillsborough Virtual K-12 offers personalized learning in a structured, yet flexible environment. It is a school choice option in which students learn in a digital space using a web-based curriculum with highly-qualified teachers from Hillsborough County. Students can take part in athletics and extracurricular activities at their zoned school.

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Class-size: n/a Grades: K-12 Tuition: FREE


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2021 Enrollment Now Open!

PreK3 – Grade 12

Learn more about the Academy at the Lakes experience by visiting our new website and see why You Matter Here. 813-909-7919


“My daughter loves learning together with me at home two days a week and she’s excited to go to school the other three days. I love the balance it brings to our family.”

- Karen, Covenant Academy Parent

Grades K - 10th th Contact us to schedule a private tour (727) 542 - 6294 | DECEMBER 2020


EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section HILLSDALE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 6201 Ehrlich Road, Tampa 33625 813-884-8250;

Enrollment: 155

Hillsdale provides a variety of activities and learning opportunities for our students. Our primary purpose is to help children grow spiritually, socially, physically, intellectually, and creatively in welcoming surroundings as a supplement to the home environment. Our staff will work hard to create a loving, Christian atmosphere for children's development.

Class-size: 15 Grades: PreK2-grade 6 Tuition: $180/week (preschool) - $7,700

HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN SCHOOL 3712 W. El. Prado Blvd., Tampa 33629 813-839-0665;

Enrollment: 191

Holy Trinity Lutheran School is a co-educational school located in the heart of South Tampa. Founded in 1958, HTLS offers an enriching and rewarding academic education in a loving and safe Christian environment. Our mission is to provide Christ-centered academic excellence and care for the whole child that equips them for lifelong learning and service.

Class-size: 16 Grades: PreK-grade 5 Tuition: $5,950


5001 Nebraska Ave., Suite A, Tampa 33603 813-467-3004;

Enrollment: 1,000

IDEA believes a quality K-12 public education is the key to success in college and life and is committed to helping every student achieve their own success. Personalized learning, critical thinking skills, mastery of core subjects and continued support through college is IDEA’s recipe for success.

Class-size: 18-25 Grades: K-2 & 6 upon launching in 2021. Each campus will add a grade each year until fully scaled to grades K-12. Tuition: FREE


1555 Windmill Pointe Road, Palm Harbor 34685 727-900-6164;

Enrollment 35

Ignite Academy is a growing, independent Christian School serving families from Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties. Ignite Academy is enrolling kindergarten through fourth grade for the 2021-2022 school year. At Ignite Academy, your child will be immersed into a learning environment of real health: mental, physical and spiritual health.

Class-size: 9 Grades: K-4 Tuition: $500-$8,000


12902 E. U.S. Highway 92, Dover 33527 813-473-8600;

Grades: K-8

Independence Academy provides a tuition-free, well-rounded college preparatory education. The challenging and rigorous curriculum includes a special concentration on math and science, a technology-rich atmosphere, and a focus on character development preparing students for their secondary education and beyond. Offerings include the Cambridge program for Advanced Studies, Edvantage before and after school program, Tampa Bay’s Grasses in Classes Program and Cognia accreditation.

Tuition: FREE

JCCS PRESCHOOL AND AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS 13009 Community Campus Drive, Tampa 33625 813-264-9000;

Located in Citrus Park and South Tampa, the JCCs provide a safe environment with low student-to-staff ratios. The preschools offer creative and meaningful activities, Club J Afterschool provides homework supervision and Club J School Day supervises virtual school. All programs deliver high-quality activities for infants through fifth grade.

Enrollment: Club J: 30-55 per location; JCC Preschool: 100-150 per location Class-size: Varies Grades: Infants-grade 5 Tuition: Varies

KEYSTONE PREP HIGH SCHOOL 18105 Gunn Highway, Odessa 33556 813-264-4500;

Enrollment: 43

Get ready to experience a school unlike anything you have encountered! Keystone Prep High School is a non-profit private school located in Odessa, just outside Tampa, with small classes and individualized support. Our mission is to not only help students achieve their full potential, but also reach pinnacles of success they never thought possible.

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Class-size: 8-12 Grades: 9-12 Tuition: $18,500$25,000


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EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section LAND O’ LAKES CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 5105 School Road, Land O’ Lakes 34638 813-995-9040;

A Christ-honoring atmosphere for preschool through high school, LOLCS trains students to develop and grow spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically. We offer a fully accredited, balanced program that emphasizes spiritual life, challenging academics for college preparation and opportunities for students to explore their interests and talents in fine arts and athletics.

Enrollment: 330 Class-size: 10-20 Grades: PreK3-12 Tuition: $5,000-$6,950


4400 Chancellor St. NE, St. Petersburg 33703 727-552-8331; LCC Day School is a partnership of school, church and families, inspiring superior academic performance while instilling leadership, responsibility and values in a nurturing environment. Our mission is to meet the changing needs of our students as they develop their God-given potential from early childhood through adolescence.

Enrollment: 532 Class-size: 8-17 Grades: PreK2-8 Tuition: Preschool $3,786-$5,549; Elementary-Middle $10,073-$11,910

LINCOLN ELEMENTARY MAGNET (IB) 1207 E. Renfro St., Plant City 33563 813-757-9329;

We prepare students to meet the challenges of world citizenship with confidence, imagination and integrity. Students can study global cultures and develop an open and curious mind. Students engage in music and arts programs, Odyssey of the Mind, Robotics Team, Inquiry-based learning centers, student action/service learning, world languages and more.

Enrollment: 501 Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-5 Tuition: FREE

LOCKHART ELEMENTARY MAGNET (CREATIVE SCIENCE CENTRE) 3719 N. 17th St., Tampa 33610 813-276-5727;

Students learn using the latest technology tools and programs. We provide STEM Education with PLTW (Project Lead the Way), where students engage in hands-on activities, projects and problems that are reflective of real-world challenges. Engage with robotics experiences, engineering challenges, outdoor learning and wildlife habitats.

Enrollment: 387 Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-5 Tuition: FREE

LOMAX ELEMENTARY MAGNET (GIFTED TALENT ACADEMY) 4207 26th St., Tampa 33610 813-276-5569;

Students are active thinking and learning citizens, engaging their minds with Math Olympiad, TiViTz, Chess, Future Problem Solvers and Odyssey of the Mind. We embrace the arts with World Drumming, Violin and Little Kids Rock; build with LEGO and VEX Robotics and grow through Student Ambassadors and National Honor Society.

Enrollment: 390 Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-5 Tuition: FREE

MACFARLANE PARK ELEMENTARY MAGNET (IB) 1721 N. MacDill Ave., Tampa 33607 813-356-1760;

As the #1 Elementary Magnet School in America, we prepare students to meet the challenges of world citizenship with confidence, imagination and integrity. Students study global cultures, engage in music and arts programs, Odyssey of the Mind, Robotics Team, inquiry-based learning centers, student action/service learning, world languages and more.

Enrollment: 370 Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-5 Tuition: FREE

MARSHALL MIDDLE MAGNET (IB CANDIDATE) 18 S. Maryland Ave., Plant City 33563 813-757-9360;

Launching with sixth grade in Fall 2020, students will be guided by the International Baccalaureate World School Philosophy in Plant City. Students can engage in STEM; Robotics; Culinary Arts; Math League and AVID college readiness. Optional Scholar Quest high school credit courses offer additional rigor. *Transportation provided for attendance-area only.




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Enrollment: 911 Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE




DANCE • THEATER • MUSIC Our stages may be experiencing a brief intermission, but our classes continue virtually and on-site. Private lessons and classes for all ages and experience levels






3721 Canoga Park Dr., Brandon 33511 813-571-3400;

Enrollment: 70

Our school is the premier international early childhood franchise offering an authentic Montessori-Reggio inspired curriculum. We have created a unique learning experience, integrating the Montessori philosophy with our proprietary DaVinci Kids art and science curriculum. Children benefit from a learning experience enriched with gardening, foreign language, yoga, music and cooking.

Grades: 18 months kindergarten

Class-size: Small class sizes

Tuition: Varies by age



13615 N. 22nd St., Tampa 33613 813-558-1355;

Enrollment: 439

Students learn through Arts and Science Integration, where they experience weekly strings, dance, music and art classes. They engage in the orchestra and rock band, performance groups and our annual musical. Students can explore the outdoor classroom, global gardens, and take part in the National Honor Society and student government.

Grades: K-5

Class-size: 18-22 Tuition: FREE


7777 62nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg 33709 727-541-7593; Named a Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education, Northside Christian School equips students to reach their God-given potential through outstanding academic and extra-curricular programs within a Christ-centered environment. NCS offers Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment, Honors and Praxis classes. Northside has been serving PreK3 -12th grade students in a safe, nurturing environment since 1971.

Enrollment: 720 Class-size: 16 Grades: PreK3-12 Tuition: $7,350-$13,450


5585 E. County Line Road, Wesley Chapel 33544 813-991-0801; North Tampa Christian Academy provides an on-campus experience that encourages innovation through project-based learning and thematic structure. When life demands flexibility, we offer the Titan Teacher Network, a “teacher-centric” virtual learning experience. Parents have the freedom to flex from on-campus to accessing at home instruction through the Titan Teacher Network, ensuring excellent education every day.

Enrollment: 300 Class-size: 15:1 Grades: K-12 Tuition: $13,475-$17,875

NORTH TAMPA CHRISTIAN EXPLORERS PRESCHOOL 5585 E. County Line Road, Wesley Chapel 33544 813-991-0820;

We support young children as they develop skills of exploring, choosing, creating and solving for God’s glory. Children are challenged to stretch themselves and persevere as they make sense of the world around them. Our safe and secure facility is nature-inspired, diverse and family oriented.

Enrollment: 135 Class-size: Varies by age Grades: Six weeks to PreK Tuition: $115-390 per month


19521 Michigan Ave., Odessa 33556 813-792-1825; OCS is a Christ-focused school for motivated, self-directed learners seeking to discover their God-given calling. Students dive deep with content through inquiry, investigation and discussion, and gain responsibility, perseverance, professionalism and compassion. Graduates achieve mastery in all areas of learning and launch into life with strong minds and hearts.

Enrollment: 75 Class-size: 25 students max per department (1-5, 6-8, 9-12) Grades: 1-12 Tuition: $10,100-$10,500






3415 16th St., Tampa 33605 813-276-5717;

Enrollment: 556

Be a shining star at Orange Grove, where high academic achievement meets creativity. Our historic campus includes two professional dance studios, video production, visual arts with a MAC lab and exceptional music and technical theater suites. We provide advanced courses, and our Scholar Quest offerings lead to high school credit.

Grades: 6-8

financial aid



Class-size: 22 Tuition: FREE



My child has to quarantine... Now what? by Laura Cross, Hillsborough County Public Schools

My son is an 8th grade student, and he’s amazing, so I knew he wasn’t in trouble. I knew it had to be THE call. The “your child has to quarantine” call. I was right. The school nurse on the other end of the line was very sympathetic when she broke the news, and she answered all my school-related questions about assignments, when he could return and how the absences would be handled. But be aware, they will not divulge any information about when, who or where your child came into contact with the infected person. They’re not allowed to do this because of personal medical information. My big worry was whether my son would be able to keep up with his classes. I admit, the teachers and the school were very accommodating. I had my son message his teachers over Canvas to explain the situation. I think his teachers appreciated this. Most of his teachers posted all their assignments online for him to follow along, and they made sure we were aware of their office hours in case we had questions. However, his math teacher went a step further and asked her colleague who was eLearning if she minded having another student in class temporarily. So my son was able to Zoom in on those difficult math lessons every day!

46 DECEMBER 2020

I won’t lie, those two weeks dragged. Especially when you consider that a school quarantine is a REAL quarantine. It doesn’t mean that your child can just stay home from school but live their lives in every other way. Nope. It means that your child needs to be as isolated as possible for those entire two weeks. No visiting friends, no trips outside the house, and he stayed in his room and away from the rest of the family as much as possible. Here’s something else no one tells you: the Health Department will be calling you. The first day, you’ll get a call from a real person who will talk you through the process, ask if your child is developing any symptoms and explain when the quarantine ends. After that, you can opt in to getting a text from the Health Department every morning, which I accepted. The text will ask if there are any symptoms in your household, and you reply Y or N. Fortunately, my answer was always N. I know a lot of people think the school district’s quarantine policy is pretty strict. Maybe they’re right. However, we follow CDC guidelines for determining which students and employees need to quarantine. Contact tracing, in direct cooperation with the Health Department, along with seating charts for each class and bus help with that process. And, FYI, the percentage of students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in our district is below 1%. If that quarantine process is to credit for that, I’m all for it. Solovyova

It started with a text from my son: “Mom, you’re about to get a call from the school.”

Go Virtual With Hillsborough Virtual K-12

Flexibility and quality teachers from Hillsborough County Public Schools

Hillsborough Virtual K-12 provides flexible schedules to fit your family’s daily needs. Hillsborough County Public Schools offers a structured, virtual K-12 full-time option where students learn in a digital space using a web-based curriculum with trained and local certified teachers.


Co-enrolled students can work with their guidance counselor to take fewer day classes and replace them with online classes, or supplement their schedules with classes beyond their school day. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram today! We are @HillsVirtualK12

Learn more about our virtual school offerings and apply at DECEMBER 2020 47

EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section OUR SAVIOR LUTHERAN SCHOOL 5843 4th Ave. S., St. Petersburg 33707 727-344-1026;

Enrollment: 185

Our Savior Lutheran School is committed to help your child grow intellectually, academically and spiritually. We are designed for students to learn on campus, but have technology in place to transition to remote learning during required times. Check us out and see if OSLS is the right fit for your family!

Class-size: 15-20 Grades: Preschool age 2 to grade 8 Tuition: $4,800-$8,100

PAIDEIA CLASSICAL CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 7834 N. 56th St., Tampa 33617 813-988-7700;

Enrollment: 86

Paideia Classical Christian School is a community of parents and teachers who share a commitment for educating children to love learning and grow in godliness. We are intentional about developing passionate disciples, exceptional scholars and virtuous citizens. As a nationally accredited, classical school, we employ time-proven curriculum and methods of education which teach students not primarily what to think, but how to think: thoroughly, maturely and biblically.

Class-size: Varies Grades: K-12 Tuition: $7,930-$8,699


1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa 33602 813-222-1040;

Enrollment: 1,000

At the Patel Conservatory, every student deserves the opportunity to discover their creative potential. Our programs provide training in dance, theater and music. Camps and classes vary by length, age and skill level. Patel Conservatory classes require active learning participation by students and result in a performance.

Grades: All ages and skill levels

Class-size: Varies by program

Tuition: Varies by program


3916 E. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa 33610; 813-236-1755 9304 Camden Field Parkway, Riverview 33578; 813-533-2999 9804 Little Road, New Port Richey 34654; 727-233-2961 Pepin Academies are non-profit, tuition-free, independent public charter schools serving students with learning and learning-related disabilities in grades 3-12. Qualified as Exceptional Student Education (ESE) center schools, we provide a diversified curriculum driven by the student’s needs in a positive therapeutic educational environment, as well as a transitional job training program for post-high school students.

Enrollment: 1,200+ students between three campuses Class-size: 13:2 Grades: Grades 3-12 and a Transition Program for ages 18-22 Tuition: FREE


3020 S. Falkenburg Road, Riverview 33578 813-626-6724;

Enrollment: 225

Pivot Charter School is a free public charter school serving families in Hillsborough County. It is our mission to engage and empower each student to achieve excellence.

Grades: 6-12

Class-size: 10-25 Tuition: FREE



8113 Zinnia Drive, Tampa 33619 813-671-5110;

Enrollment: 953

We are proud to offer the largest dance and culinary arts programs in Hillsborough County. We’re routinely recognized as a Magnet School of America School of Distinction. Students can try exciting electives such as costume and fashion design, orchestra, journalism and more. The spotlight shines on students at Progress Village.

Grades: 6-8

Class-size: 22 Tuition: FREE

QUEEN OF ALL SAINTS VIRTUAL ACADEMY 20120 Barnett Road, Brooksville 34601 352-428-4847;

Enrollment: 100

Virtual private education wherever you are, QAS Academy offers a unique and highly engaging way for children to receive a private education in a live, interactive online classroom. Taking the best of the most prodigious educationalists of old while focusing on the technological advances of the day, QAS strives to build for its children an educational method unsurpassed in results. Please schedule an online meeting with us to put these assertions to the test.

48 DECEMBER 2020



Class-size: 8-10 Grades: K-12 On-Campus, 2-12 Online Tuition: $4,080-$4,462


financial aid



EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section RAMPELLO K-8 MAGNET (CULTURAL ARTS AND HUMANITIES ) 802 E. Washington St., Tampa 33602 813-233-2333;

Join us for experiential learning with walking field trips through downtown Tampa, and a Differentiated Instruction Focus to meet the needs of all learners. We have strong community partnerships and school-wide AVID instructional strategies. Middle school electives include: band, jazz, orchestra, steel drums, Art 2-D and 3-D, Spanish and creative writing.

Enrollment: 777 Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-8 Tuition: FREE

RIVERHILLS ELEMENTARY MAGNET (IB) 405 Riverhills Drive, Temple Terrace 33617 813-987-6911;

We prepare students to meet the challenges of world citizenship with confidence, imagination and integrity. Students can study global cultures and develop an open and curious mind. Students engage in music and arts programs, Odyssey of the Mind, Robotics Team, inquiry-based learning centers, student action/service learning, world languages and more.

Enrollment: 529 Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-5 Tuition: FREE

RIVERVIEW ACADEMY OF MATH & SCIENCE 9906 Symmes Road, Riverview 33578 813-412-6111;

The tuition-free, public charter school proudly serves students from kindergarten through middle school with a well-rounded college preparatory education. The rigorous curriculum includes a special concentration on math and science, a technology-rich atmosphere, and a focus on character development. Offerings include the Cambridge program for Advanced Studies, Edvantage before and after school program, Tampa Bay’s Grasses in Classes Program and Cognia accreditation.

Grades: K-8 Tuition: FREE

RODGERS MIDDLE MAGNET (CAMBRIDGE CANDIDATE) 11910 Tucker Road, Riverview 33569 813-671-5288;

Rodgers, a Cambridge International Magnet School, offers learning guided by the rigorous, world renowned Cambridge Pathways philosophy. Located in Riverview's Bell Creek Nature Preserve, we embrace and empower the whole student. Several national board-certified teachers highlight our exceptional team of educators. *Transportation provided for attendance-area only.

Enrollment: 823 Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE


1510 N. Manhattan Ave., Tampa 33607 813-872-5212; We inspire young inquiring minds to become compassionate, lifelong learners who are internationally-minded people with respect for various cultures and a desire to serve others. Students can experience inquiry-based learning centers, transdisciplinary units of study, an outdoor classroom with an international garden, a strings program and world languages.

Enrollment: 766 Class-size: 18-22 Grades: K-8 Tuition: FREE


11605 E. U.S. Highway 92, Seffner 33584 813-626-0001;

Enrollment: 700

The mission of Seffner Christian Academy is to provide academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment with a challenging educational program based on the principles of God's Word.

Grades: K2-12

Class-size: 22 Tuition: $5,000-$10,500






1908 2nd Ave., Tampa 33605 813-276-5712;

Enrollment: 441

We are an award-winning Magnet School of the Arts located in historic Ybor City. Students learn through arts and science integration, and can take part in the Annual Arts Festival and school musical. Students expand their horizons through visual art, dance, strings, music, drama, STEAM Engineering and robotics programs.

Grades: K-5

financial aid



Class-size: 18-22 Tuition: FREE



EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section SHORECREST PREPARATORY SCHOOL 5101 1st St. NE., St. Petersburg 33703 727-522-2111;

Enrollment: 965

Founded in 1923, Shorecrest is a coed, nonsectarian, PK3-12 independent school in St. Petersburg. In a safe, student-centered environment, Shorecrest educates a diverse community of students to become lifelong learners in the pursuit of personal and academic excellence, physical well-being, creative achievement and the development of a commitment to social responsibility.

Class-size: 15 Grades: PreK3-12 Tuition: $11,950$26,850


129 N Belcher Road, Clearwater 33765 727-797-1186;

Enrollment: 450

The value of a Skycrest education is immeasurable. School graduates enter their high school years with outstanding academic preparation, leadership skills and confidence in their ability to succeed. With newly integrated technology, an extensive list of extracurricular activities and a small student/teacher ratio, a Skycrest education is available at amazingly competitive rates.

Class-size: 22 Grades: K4 - grade 8 Tuition: $10,000 + fees



2011 E. Sligh Ave., Tampa 33610 813-276-5596;

Enrollment: 579

Join a culture of future health professionals who sport scrubs four days a week. We are preparing students for one of the fastest growing career fields in the country. Electives engage all students with Career and Technical Education, Family and Consumer Science and our AVID college readiness program.

Grades: 6-8

Class-size: 22 Tuition: FREE


2801 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs 34688 727-934-0909;

Enrollment: 200

Solid Rock Community School is "Making the World a Greener Place" with our sustainable seed-to-table lunch program, environmentalism classes, and a strong focus on health, wellness and fitness. We encourage, challenge and inspire our students to become thinkers, leaders and collaborators who can contribute to the greater good of society and be good stewards of the world in which we live.

Class-size: 18 Grades: K-12 Tuition: $10,500$13,500


4716 Montgomery Ave., Tampa 33616 813-272-3020;

Enrollment: 432

We develop active learners and internationally-minded students. Launching with sixth grade in Fall 2020, students will be guided by the International Baccalaureate World School Philosophy. Students can pursue unique electives like computer modeling and simulation. Our Sixth Grade Structure creates a supportive middle school transition. *Transportation provided for attendance-area only.

Grades: 6-8

Class-size: 22 Tuition: FREE

STEWART MIDDLE MAGNET (NASA EXPLORER SCHOOL) 1125 Spruce St., Tampa 33607 813-276-5691;

Enrollment: 1,024

Be part of a nationally recognized NASA Explorer School. Through our Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum, students choose from electives like aerospace and engineering. Scholar Quest options deliver high school credit in gaming, robotics and more. Stewart partners with NASA, NOAA and the U.S. Air Force for real-world learning.

50 DECEMBER 2020



Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE


financial aid



the Season Celebrate with your PBS KIDS friends Holiday Specials All Month Long Also on VIDEO PBS KIDS and the PBS KIDS Logo are registered trademarks of Public Broadcasting Service. Used with permission. DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD © 2012 The Fred Rogers Company. All rights reserved. Wild Kratts® © 2018 Kratt Brothers Co. Ltd./ 9 Story Media Group Inc. Wild Kratts®, Creature Power® are owned by Kratt Brothers Company Ltd. All rights reserved. PEG + CAT © 2018 Feline Features LLC. All rights reserved. THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! © 2018, CITH Productions, Inc. and Red Hat Animation Ltd. Underlying characters © 1957, 1985 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. LUNA ©LATW Productions Inc. All rights reserved. As we come to the close of 2020, a year filled with unprecedented challenges for our community, WEDU PBS continues to support students, educators, and families in a variety of ways that help keep the quality education of our children at the forefront during these difficult times.

Find weekly broadcast schedules, guides & much more: WEDU PBS At-Home Learning is presented by

Additional support also provided by Monroe E. and Suzette M. Berkman Family Foundation at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay


WEDU PBS At-Home Learning



EDUCATION DIRECTORY | special advertising section ST. CECELIA INTERPAROCHIAL CATHOLIC SCHOOL 1350 Court St., Clearwater 33756 727-461-1207;

Enrollment: 425

St. Cecelia (SCS) is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award, both in 2020 and 2010. SCS is also Pinellas county’s only private school to offer the International Baccalaureate to students in grades PreK-3 to grade 8. Through the IB Programme we provide tools, develop character and teach skills that prepare our students to thrive in high school, college and beyond. We remain steadfast in our commitment to our students’ educational and personal success and to the betterment of our local and global communities.

Grades: PreK3-grade 8

Class-size: 12-24 students depending on grade level Tuition: $7,120-$7,918


240 S. Plant Ave., Tampa 33606 813-849-4200;

Enrollment: 533

St. John's is distinguished by 70 years of demonstrated success preparing children for lives of learning and service. Renowned for its Episcopal identity and a core belief in the potential of our students, the school delivers an unparalleled, values-driven preparatory education in a safe and nurturing environment. Our graduates are prepared to thrive in high school and beyond.

Class-size: 18 Grades: PreK-grade 8 Tuition: $2,825-$14,635 (based on demonstrated need)


5223 N. Himes Ave., Tampa 33614 813-879-5090;

Enrollment: 480

Founded in 1961, St. Lawrence Catholic School inspires students towards academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment. Each unique student is challenged to develop their special talents and become lifelong learners. Our 21st century classrooms promote creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration. In response to the ongoing pandemic, we have invested in an extensive sanitation protocol and new technology for distance learning options.

Class-size: < 25 Grades: PreK3-grade 8 Tuition: $8,080-$11,445

ST. MARY’S EPISCOPAL DAY SCHOOL 2101 S. Hubert Ave., Tampa 33629 813-258-5508;

Enrollment: 445

St. Mary’s Episcopal Day School provides challenging academics, performing and visual arts, competitive athletics, technology, public speaking, foreign language, global studies, community service, religious education and more. St. Mary’s highly-qualified Pre-K through 8th grade faculty inspires students to achieve their best, developing well-rounded individuals ready for the challenges ahead.

Class-size: 22 Grades: PreK-8 Tuition: $15,700


1376 Snell Isle Blvd. NE, St. Petersburg 33704 727-821-9663;

Enrollment: 170

St. Raphael Catholic School welcomes families who believe that Christ is the cornerstone of our lives, strive for academic excellence, seek to provide faith-filled service to others, reflect Catholic values, and are responsible leaders of the Church and community.

Class-size: 17 average Grades: PK-8 Tuition: $6,100-$8,100


12606 Henderson Road, Tampa 33625 813-269-2100;

Enrollment: 145

Established in 1970, Tampa Day School has offered an innovative, highly effective approach to the private prep school experience. Our dynamic, private school environment and our tailored approach to learning are uniquely designed for the student who hasn’t been able to reach his or her potential in a more traditional school setting. Specialized tutoring is also available onsite.

class-size: 10-12 Grades: grades 2-8 Tuition: $21,000



3719 N. 17th St., Tampa 33610 813-276-5405;

Enrollment: 308

Our students become innovative thinkers, who achieve academically and socially through our 7 Wonders—Leadership, Environment, Economics, Wellness, Innovation, Communication and Culture. Students can participate in Model United Nations and Odyssey of the Mind, learn world languages and leadership and experience cultural clusters: yoga, cooking, African art and Lego Makerspace.

Grades: K-5 DECEMBER 2020



Class-size: 18-22 Tuition: FREE


financial aid



VALRICO LAKE ADVANTAGE ACADEMY 13306 Boyette Road, Riverview 33569 813-699-5049;

A tuition-free, public charter school proudly serving students in kindergarten through fifth Grade, theschool provides a well-rounded elementary foundation through a challenging curriculum with a focus on teaching math and science in proven and innovative instructional methods preparing students for their secondary education and beyond. We are an “A” rated Florida School of Excellence offering the Cambridge program for Advanced Studies. Cognia accredited.

Grades: K-5 Tuition: FREE


22000 US Highway 27, Lake Wales 33859 863-676-6091; The Vanguard School is a co-educational boarding and day school for students in grades 6-12. Vanguard specializes in educating students who experience academic learning challenges in an environment that works with academic strategies, executive functioning, social skills, celebrates student strengths and assists in transitioning into higher educational opportunities and independent living.

Enrollment: 100 boarding, up to 120 total Class-size: 6-10 Grades: 6–12 Tuition: 7-day $49,000; 5-day $43,000; Day $25,500


8282 N. Mobley Road, Odessa 33556 813-631-4726; We develop creative and confident learners. Communication, reflection and whole-child learning energize Walker Middle Magnet, Odessa’s IB World School. As a “Magnet School of Distinction,” students are exposed to a rigorous curriculum. High-impact teachers and our Florida Power School Library highlight our exceptional, highly rated team of educators.

Enrollment: 984 Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE


1551 Belcher Road, Palm Harbor 34683 727-781-3808; Westlake Christian School, a National Blue Ribbon School, is accredited by the Florida Council of Independent Schools and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/AdvancED. Westlake’s mission is to help students develop in their faith, academics, fine arts, and athletics. Westlake serves approximately 425 students in Kindergarten through eighth grade from Northern Pinellas County, Southern Pasco County, Trinity, Westchase and surrounding communities.

Enrollment: 425 Class-size: 1:18 Grades: K-8 Tuition: $8,950-$9,275


5020 N. 47th St., Tampa 33610 813-744-8600; We are a top-ranked IB World School, creating global learners focused on intercultural awareness and communication. Scholar Quest high school credit offerings challenge students in French, algebra and Emerging Technology in Business. Connect through clubs including LEGO Robotics, Model UN, Future Business Leaders of America and our award-winning Chess Club.

Enrollment: 841 Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE

YOUNG MIDDLE MAGNET (CREATIVE SCIENCE CENTRE) 1807 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd., Tampa 33610 813-276-5739;

We empower creative learners with our Project Lead the Way (PLTW) STEM curriculum. We focus on engineering, sustainability and “Global Planting”— engaging students in hands-on learning with an on-campus hydroponic farm and greenhouse, along with student-constructed rain gardens. Students learn using state-of-the-art technology, including touch-enabled whiteboards and 3-D printers.

Enrollment: 654 Class-size: 22 Grades: 6-8 Tuition: FREE




It Only Takes a Second: The Importance of Water Safety for

Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder by Laura Byrne

“I only turned my back for a second.” It’s one of the most common things first responders hear from parents when they respond to drownings and near drownings. “We often underestimate how long it takes to perform some of the most mundane tasks,” says Hillsborough Fire Rescue Quality Management Chief Jeremy Fischler. “We also underestimate how long it can take a child to drown. These two facts combined can lead to tragic results very quickly. Drowning is often a very quiet event and not the loud, dramatic event often portrayed on television.” As of Nov. 10 this year, Fischler says Hillsborough County Fire Rescue responded to 18 pediatric drowning calls in 2020, five of which were fatal. The number of children drowning in our community is devastating and concerning. Fischler says more should be done to educate families and caregivers about the importance of taking the extra steps to keep our children safe. There is also great concern for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who tend to be drawn to water. “Experts are not sure why this fascination exists, but when you add that children with autism may also have difficulty recognizing and avoiding danger, the risk for drowning is very high,” says Christine Rover, assistant program director of the Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD). 813-974-2532

54 DECEMBER 2020

Rover explains that CARD-USF assembles an annual list of swim lesson providers for the 14 counties they cover, and they encourage families to call or email the organization to learn about programs in their community. In Hillsborough County, the Children’s Board funds swim lessons for children with special needs who might benefit from individual lessons. “A crowded pool with lots of activity and noise may be overwhelming, so taking a small group lesson at a quieter time may be a good fit,” Rover explains. “Instructors should provide specific information about what the child should do, provide simple steps, use concrete wording and follow a routine. CARD is available to provide free training to instructors so they can support learners with ASD.” In addition to swim lessons and diligently keeping an eye on our children in and near water, Fischler says we can all take steps to keep our children safe like installing perimeter warning devices on exterior doors, installing pool fences and utilizing water surface alarms. These devices will alert you if a child has gone somewhere they shouldn’t.

It is recommended that all adults take a CPR course. The American Heart Association, American Red Cross and American Safety and Health Institute all offer virtual classes. The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County funds CPR classes at no cost at their Family Resource Centers. To learn more visit

As we approach the holiday season, ensure that any loved ones you are visiting have taken precautions in their homes too. “These precautions are no replacement for a high level of diligence when small children are present near water,” Fischler says. “When children are near the water or playing in the water, there should ALWAYS be an adult whose job it is to keep their eyes on the children. This is sometimes difficult to remember during social events with a lot of people, so it should be something discussed by all adults present so there is no question whether someone is watching the children.” When it comes to water safety, any additional precautions must be in addition to, not instead of, the ultimate protection: an adult's full and complete attention.



She tells us drowning is the leading cause of death for children with an autism spectrum disorder, and the first layer of protection is to introduce a child to swim lessons. This is something families can take advantage of year-round.



Safe and Sound: A Conversation with Dr. Harvey Karp, M.D. by Laura Byrne

If you’ve had a baby or are expecting, you’ve more than likely come across the name of Dr. Har vey Karp. He’s the world-renowned pediatrician, child development expert and author of “The Happiest Baby on the Block” and the “Happiest Toddler” books. Dr. Karp developed what’s known as the 5 S’s, techniques to help calm a cr ying baby. While the swaddle and shushing are mostly effective, he realized it didn’t help sleep deprived parents get through the night, which is why he developed the SNOO Smart Sleeper four years ago.

for this. (Dr. Karp donated SNOO sleepers to Tampa General Hospital, too.)

TBPM: We know the Centers for Disease Control says about 3,600 babies die every year from Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome.

Dr. Karp: It’s a serious issue. Fortunately, we know a lot about how to keep them safer. Keep them on the back; not have them in bed with you; breastfeed; have them in your room next to TBPM: What inspired you to write your books and share the your bed; use a pacifier at night; calming techniques with families around the world? get them vaccinated; don’t smoke (of course); don’t have Dr. Karp: In my early training, I worked on a child abuse team and the bulky bedding in the bed I saw babies who were injured and even killed by their parents. They with them. Those are all tips that weren’t bad people. They just red-lined; they couldn’t handle it. And then can significantly reduce the risk. I learned—as all pediatricians are taught—babies, they wake up a lot. SNOO will even more so reduce They cry a lot. Colic, we don’t really know what causes it, but it will go the risk because they [babies] away. You just have to deal with it and get past it. cannot flip over on their own. With the book, what I came to realize is, that babies are born with a Right now, what pediatricians reflex that we never knew about. It’s sort of a like an off-switch for crying teach is swaddling is okay, but and on-switch for sleep called the calming reflex. It really revolves when a baby gets to two months around the idea of the fourth trimester. or can start rolling over, you If you understand that your baby is born 4 months too soon, then you have to stop swaddling. realize why you have to hold them and rock them so much. When you stop swaddling, they When you understand that it is louder than a vacuum cry more, they roll over more, cleaner inside of you and the baby is being rocked they are brought into bed every time you breathe and is being held tight, THE 5 S’S: more … it’s kind of a tricky you understand why they need these things. situation for parents. SWADDLE If you do the techniques the way they’re That’s where we’re SIDE OR STOMACH designed, usually in seconds you see an hoping SNOO is going improvement. (the back is the only safe position to be a solution. By for sleeping this S is activated by improving sleep, you’re holding baby on side or stomach TBPM: What led to the not going to bring the over your shoulder) development of the SNOO? baby into bed with you SHUSH and by keeping them Dr. Karp: What do you do at night? This is SWING on their back, they’re not the key message about SNOO. SNOO is not a SUCK going to roll over. baby bed. SNOO is a service. It’s not a product. I’m really very hopeful that It’s your older sister who moved in and said, “Go we’re right on the verge of beto sleep, I’m going to hold and rock the baby all night ing able to dramatically reduce long, shush the baby all night long. If the baby gets upset, infant sleep deaths. I’ll rock and shush more, and if nothing is working, I’m going to get you because the baby is hungry and needs a feeding.” TBPM: We know sleep is The whole thing is that we should have extended families. It takes a important for babies, but village. Parents today think the normal family is two parents and a child it’s necessary for adults and it’s not. The normal family is to have five nannies, except that it’s too! your grandma, older sister and all the entourage. SNOO is really trying to Dr. Karp: We joke about fill that gap. tired parents, but in truth it’s a really serious issue. TBPM: How does the SNOO work? Parents are struggling. It’s Dr. Karp: What SNOO does is it rocks and shushes babies all night the number one complaint long, imitating their experience in the womb. It responds when the baby of parents that they’re exgets upset with a few different levels of a little more bouncy rocking and hausted. On average they’re louder shushing. Fifty percent of the time, it calms within a minute—50% getting under six hours of it doesn’t, which means the baby needs a feeding or needs you. It’s not a sleep a night, which studies magic bed. We’ve studied over 10,000 babies from 0-6 months and we’ve show makes you equivalent shown that within a week or so, the baby is getting an extra hour to even to someone who is drunk. two hours of sleep. It’s a trigger for post-parOver 80 hospitals are using the beds for all sorts of benefits for the tum depression, marital nurses, for the families and ultimately, think insurance companies will pay stress, breast feeding failWe caught up with him via ZOOM to talk about the device and why it was developed. (Inter view has been edited for space constraints.)

ure, obesity, child abuse … it’s not a trivial little problem. As a pediatrician, teaching the 5 S’s was great and helping them [parents] during the day, but it wasn’t helping them at night. That’s when I decided to see if I could do something to make it easier. That’s how SNOO came about.

TBPM: In all of your years of research, what are your top baby registry musthaves? Dr. Karp: Anything that would imitate the womb is something I would recommend putting on the registry. A good pacifier, a white noise machine and SNOO and a carrier and swaddle blankets. I’m not a big fan of buying tons and tons of stuff. As a culture we probably have more things than we really need, but if you understand the fourth trimester, the things you need are the things that imitate life in the womb.


$1,395 to buy or $129 a month to rent (discount programs available for military) LEARN MORE:

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c ertiFieD by the a Merican b OarD OF P eDiatric D entiStry

M ichael c hiaraMOnte , DMD K ara F OrD , DMD r ebecca w arnKen , DDS

J aMeS e. M c i lwain , DDS, MSD l eigh a nn M c i lwain , DMD M ichael M c i lwain , DMD

O rthODOnticS M atthew S. a hrenS , DMD, MS M ary S hehata , DDS 58 DECEMBER 2020

SPONSORED It’s easy for families to overindulge in traditional holiday meals and desserts, many of which contain ingredients that are high in fat, sodium and sugar. However, there are many ways to help kids enjoy their holiday favorites by taking a different spin on old recipes. Megan Armstrong, R.D., L.D., registered dietitian for Fit4Allteens and Fit4Allkids at All Children’s Hospital, shares ways to create tasty, hearthealthy holiday foods.

Getty Images 1189088320

Heart-Healthy Holiday Meal Swaps MAIN DISHES


Many casserole-type meals or appetizers require creamed soups, cream, lots of cheese, bacon, mayonnaise, sour cream and cream cheese, which equal saturated fat, calories and unwanted weight gain.

Baked goods are low in fiber and whole grains, and most of their calories come from added sugar and fat. Fat creates an even texture and provides moisture, but also may add cholesterol and saturated fat.

TRY THIS: * Replace half of any high-fat dairy product with a lower-fat version. Nonfat Greek yogurt is a great sour cream substitute that adds protein and probiotics. * Replace cream soups with a stock thickened with cornstarch or f lour, or add low-fat mashed potatoes, pureed vegetables or a reduced-fat soup already prepared. Add cornstarch or f lour mixed with a small amount of cold liquid first, then gradually pour into hot soup to avoid clumping. * Use lean protein such as 90% lean meats, turkey bacon and pork loin, then sauté vegetables in wine, broth, apple cider or fruit juice to increase f lavor. Olive oil is also a great substitute for butter.

TRY THIS: * Consider using oats. You can blend plain oatmeal or quick oats at home. They are a whole grain that increases the fiber and slows down absorption, making it less impactful on blood sugar. * Instead of pies, try fruit-based desserts (bananas, berries, apples) topped with a light layer of crumble (oats, cinnamon, butter) and served with a scoop of nonfat plain Greek yogurt mixed with honey for an extra touch of sweetness. * Make cakes and quick breads from scratch to control the added sodium, sugar and fats. Swap oil or butter for pureed pumpkin, banana, yogurt or applesauce. Add half the salt, then go heavy on spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. * Use oil or half butter and half fruit puree for best texture and taste. Try making chocolate chip cookies with oil instead of butter, but remove the cookies a few minutes before they are done so they don’t get too crispy. * Replace half the all-purpose f lour with whole wheat or use ¾ all-purpose and ¼ nut f lour (almond, coconut, chickpea or soynut).

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is dedicated to creating healthier communities through support from Kohl’s Cares for its Fit4Allteens program. For more ideas on healthy cooking, check out Johns Hopkins All Children’s free virtual cooking classes by emailing

* Make pie crust with a graham cracker crust to avoid added fat and salt. * Reduce added sugar by 25% and increase spices such as vanilla, almond or cinnamon. * Use up to 50% fewer chocolate chips, nuts and coconut. Toast the nuts and coconut for added f lavor without added calories and use 60% cacao chocolate or higher. DECEMBER 2020


Playing it Safe by Anu Varma Panchal

We may not know what the holidays will look like this year, but a well-chosen toy can still bring a smile of delight onto a little one’s face. However, toy-related injuries send 180,000 kids to the emergency department every year. Michelle Sterling, St. Joseph’s Children’s Wellness and Specialty Specialist, has eight tips for toy safety that you can keep in mind as you choose the perfect gift.


When buying roller blades, skateboards, bicycles, tricycles or any wheeled or riding toy, make sure you also PURCHASE A HELMET AND ANY OTHER SAFETY EQUIPMENT, such as elbow and knee pads. Ensure helmets fit correctly. The helmet should start no more than two finger widths above the eyebrows and straps should make a “v” around the ears. You should be able to fit no more than one finger between the chin and chin strap.


Many fun toys come with batteries, some of which are tiny and easily swallowed. Regardless of size, KEEP BATTERIES STORED SAFELY AWAY AND OUT OF CHILDREN’S REACH.


Research online to MAKE SURE THAT TOYS ARE SAFE AND NON-TOXIC. Some that are made outside the United States may not have the same safety standards for lead-free paint, for example.

60 DECEMBER 2020

The magnets in toys meant for small children are weaker than those meant for older kids or adults. KEEP THAT MAGNETIC DESK ACCESSORY FOR YOUR TEEN OUT OF YOUR TODDLER’S REACH. They can be extremely dangerous if the magnet falls out and is swallowed.


Especially if you are purchasing a second-hand or used toy, MAKE SURE THAT THE ITEM HAS NOT BEEN RECALLED by researching it on Recalls never expire, so if you see your item on the list, that means you have the recalled version, which is not safe. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission also maintains a list.


Some families like to purchase new furniture, televisions and other entertainment equipment during the holidays. Take advantage of the sales, but also PURCHASE THE WALL MOUNTING ACCESSORIES to secure these items to the wall so they don’t tip over onto a crawling infant or toddler.


For kids who have been sedentary and cooped up in front of screens e-learning and “e-socializing,” CHOOSE TOYS THAT ENCOUR AGE ACTIVE PLAY, such as hula hoops, jump ropes and cornhole games. Games that can be played together as a family are great ideas.


2020 has been the year of surprises, but a visit to the emergency room for a toy incident does not need to be one of them! Do your homework, then sit back and enjoy a safe and fun holiday. Prostock-Studio


BUY THE RIGHT TOY FOR THE RIGHT AGE. Even if you think your child is advanced enough for or can soon grow into a toy for older kids, it may not be safe to give it to them until they reach the age mentioned on the packaging, usually because of internal components such as choking hazards. Read the instructions and warning labels to be aware of small parts. Sterling suggests this trick: See if the toy fits into a toilet paper holder. If it does, it’s a choking hazard. Put away older siblings’ toys safely in bins where crawlers can’t find them. (Bonus: This keeps your adult feet safe from the stray Lego or Barbie accessory.)



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