• June 2022

    Defining Gender

    Banned in Florida, but Freely Talked About Here Gender Isn’t Always What You Think It Is By Suki Wessling Most of today’s parents grew up with what’s called the gender binary, which assumes the existence of two distinct genders. Most of today’s kids learn about changing gender norms from their peer groups, for whom gender is seen as fluid and as a spectrum. But for many families when they’re at home, gender is simply not an issue…until it is. “My child is 14 and was assigned female at birth, and that’s how we raised this child—as a female, you know? Because that’s how it’s done.”Goldi’s child came out as nonbinary…

  • April 2022

    Raise a Water Wise Kid

    Raise a Water Wise Kid! Let’s Enter Another Year of Drought with a Positive Outlook By Suki Wessling I have to admit, it’s very easy to feel dispirited about entering yet another summer in a drought that’s now in its third year. But research shows that a positive focus on how we can help makes us more likely to take successful action to solve a problem. So instead of getting bummed out, let’s work on energizing our families to learn more and become Water Wise Kids. How bad is it?On the bright side, Santa Cruz is one of the few counties on this end of the state that are water-independent. That…

  • March 2022

    Parenting

    Summer Jobs for High Schoolers By Jeanette Prather There are the classic high school summer jobs that might include a smaller retail position, tutoring, babysitting and the food industry. However, in the questionable times we’re living in with ongoing employee shortages, less willing capable workers and more ample excuses, creative options are a must… for everyone. Most summer jobs for teens range between $10 and $25 per hour, according to Indeed.com. Indeed suggests grocery store cart attendant, movie clerk, cashier, lifeguard, housekeeper, automotive detailer, stocking associate, delivery person, lawn care specialist, dog walker and swim instructor as plausible high school summer jobs. Conventional-ish Santa Cruz Jobs Almost everyone from Santa…

  • February 2021

    Unique Preschools

    Creating New Ideas for Preschools By Jeanette Prather Thinking outside of the box in education has become a super norm as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Outdoor schooling becoming more popular, more accessibility to personalized learning and governmental funding supplementing early education, to name a few of the scholastic pivots. Some preschools are taking these opportunities to continue developing their own new and alternative curriculums.             “This year, I’ve set up a classroom outside so that we can safely be together,” said Westside Parent Education Nursery School (WPENS) director and teacher Cory Cherk, who is also a 25-year veteran of the preschool co-op scene and a current parent education…

  • 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…