• February 2022

    Preschool UPK TK

    What’s the Difference Between Preschool, UPK and TK? By Jeanette Prather Many opinions and options surround early childhood education and pre-kindergarten. With the new roll-out of the universal pre-kindergarten program easing strict TK regulations, there will be even more. Between preschool, transitional kindergarten (TK), and as of last year, universal pre-kindergarten (UPK), California parents have – and will have even more in the coming years – a myriad of pre-kindergarten educational options. And, what the heck is UPK? UPK is a 2021 early childhood education legislation and pandemic response by Governor Gavin Newsom to make pre-kindergarten more accessible to California parents. Experts are hailing the new $2.7 billion universal transitional…

  • November 2021

    lying or pretending

    Lying or Pretending? Teaching Kids to Tell the Truth By Jan Pierce Somewhere around the age of three, when children begin to understand parents may not know what they actually did or didn’t do, your precious little angel may begin to tell big whoppers. “Baby Jack made that mess,” or “I played with a dinosaur today and rode on his back.” Before you panic, thinking your child is destined for a life of crime, let’s take a look at when children lie, why they lie, and how to teach them to tell the truth. WhyChildren tell lies for a variety of reasons. They’re afraid of getting in trouble, they want…

  • November 2021

    Holiday Toys

    By brad kava Three things you need to know this holiday season right way. First, if you put off toy shopping you will be in trouble. Those container ships you keep hearing about are backed up all the way to China and Santa can’t get at ‘em. Sadly, Santa Cruz’s homegrown toy maker, Modarri, says they don’t want publicity for their hot make-your-own-cars because they won’t be available for the holidays. So be the early bird and not the worm. Second, Hanukkah starts Nov. 28 and lasts for eight days, with a gift on each. You can be sure a lot of shopping will be done by then. Third, you…

  • October 2021

    Child Tax Credit

    Child Tax Credit Brings Benefits And Potential Pitfalls By Suki Wessling The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, whhich was signed into law on March 20, enhances the 2021 child tax credit (CTC). Most families are automatically receiving monthly payments of $250 or $300 per child without having to take any action. This is great news for families, no matter how you cut it. But it adds some complexity over the existing child tax credit, tax experts say. Read on to learn what the new credit is and how it will affect your taxes. What is this new CTC and how is it different from the old one?The major difference…

  • October 2021

    Pandemic-era Birth Stories

    Pandemic-era Birth Stories Unknowns, Rainbows, and Hard Choices By Suki Wessling Pregnancy and birth are full of unknowns even in the best of times. During a pandemic, everything you thought to expect gets thrown by the wayside.Three moms talked to me about their experiences with birth during this time. Two of them were first-time moms and so their experiences were all new. One was having her third—and her experiences were all new as well! I want to thank these moms for their openness and sharing. Although each related struggles associated with pregnancy complications, Covid restrictions, and mental health challenges, their stories—like all good birth stories—are about perseverance and strength in…

  • August 2021

    School Anxiety

    Facing Anxiety as Schools Reopen By Suki Wessling Caught early, anxiety can be alleviated and treated. But as children continue to suffer, anxiety can take a toll on their physical, social, and academic health. Before the pandemic, professionals were already sounding alarms about the state of our children’s mental health. Now with the return to school, parents, psychologists, and caregivers are concerned that the problem may have been exacerbated by long months of isolation. Caught early, anxiety can be alleviated and treated. But as children continue to suffer, anxiety can take a toll on their physical, social, and academic health.In this article, a variety of professionals weigh in to help…

  • August 2021

    Right Feet

    Getting off on the Right Feet By brad kava I spent Superbowl Sunday at the emergency room with my 5-year-old son, after he slipped and ran headfirst into a bench at Anna Jean Cummings Park. Four hours and seven stitches later, I didn’t really care about the game. But I did wonder about his shoes. Why didn’t they grip the ground better? Looking them over, they had flat soles with no tread like I have on my more expensive hiking and running shoes. I realized we are cheating our kids. Why don’t we buy them the best shoes, like the ones we buy for older kids and adults? I soon…

  • July 2021

    Reading This Summer

    Reading This Summer More Important than Ever If your child can read, he or she can learn anything. It’s really quite important. So get on the reading bandwagon this summer and let those skills flourish.. Summer is here and it’s time for fun in the sun. Yes. But, many of your children have been through the pandemic mill when it comes to their classroom experiences and they will need extra support to maintain their reading skills.Some children in primary grades have not had “normal” educational direct instruction for two years. While we all applaud the efforts of classroom teachers during this challenging time, even they know the instruction has not…

  • June 2021

    Don’t Forget to Dance with Your Baby

    Don’t Forget to Dance with Your Baby 7 Reasons a Baby Twitches & Moves from Tongue to Toes by Sue Doherty Have you noticed how often a baby twitches while sleeping or waves, wiggles, and squirms about while awake? Is all this movement necessary? What can the science of sensorimotor development tell us about these phenomena? Let’s look at the sleeping infant first. When a baby sleeps, if they are developing typically, you will observe them profusely twitching. Professor Mark S. Blumberg studies such twitches called “myoclonic” twitches. As he puts it, there are “intriguing relationships between twitching and the skills that babies are developing.”  Twitches send sensory feedback from…

  • June 2021

    Musical Children

    Raise a Musical Child…Even if You Aren’t a Musician By Suki Wessling I think that it’s a wonderful thing to have your children go and be in a room filled with music, see other kids listening to music and dancing and moving your body. “They felt like they were going to give us something that we would use for the rest of our lives,” music educator Barbie Wong says of her parents. Wong is a music educator who has made a study of how parents can instill a love of and passion for music in their children’s lives. She leads workshops for parents on the subject, starting with biology. “When…