2004 Letters to the Editor

Published on: December 01, 2004

December, 2004
Some kids too old for kindergarten

I just wanted to commend Linda Morgan on her kindergarten readiness
article. This is the first I've read that points out the DIS-advantages
to holding your child back.

My girls both went to kindergarten at age 5 (summer birthdays, both)
and my younger daughter had a child in her kindergarten class who was 7
years old! This was the same age as her second-grade sister.

This child did NOT fit into a kindergarten classroom, physically or
emotionally. The developmental difference was amazing and definitely
put the other, correctly aged children at a disadvantage (i.e., this
older child could already read, and would "spoil" the word of the day
on the board by reading it aloud before other children had the chance
to sound it out).

Just as there are minimum age limits to entering kindergarten, there
should be maximum age limits as well. If the child exceeds those age
limits, put them in first grade where they belong! I think holding
children back has become epidemic and it's unnecessary. Let's get back
to kindergarten at age 5!

Mary-Leah Gordon, Bothell

December, 2004
Thanks for 'Shark Tale' review

Bravo to Kris Collingridge for her bold comments about "Shark Tale" and
other animated films of late. We have been disheartened to find
inappropriate content in movies that are marketed at children. Please
let us know when you find children's films that keep our kids both
interested and innocent, and thank you for saving our family $25.

Debbie Woolsey, Seattle

December, 2004
Holiday cheer for foster children

I often find myself wondering, "Who is going to be responsible for the
well-being of foster children?" Your feature article on foster care
("Bridge Over Troubled Waters," October 2004) helps all of us to
identify opportunities to take personal responsibility.

The state of Washington is not an adequate parent. DSHS is staffed with
well-meaning and well-trained employees, but it's not a parent. When
birth parents cannot or will not take care of their children
effectively, we ask volunteer foster parents to step up to the

Most of us cannot volunteer to be foster parents. Yet, I believe every
one of us can do something to improve the lives of foster children. I
am excited about a comprehensive article like yours because it moves
readers to action. People do want to help. We know from calls received
at Treehouse. Our community is better when each of us steps up to help
care for a vulnerable child. Our world will be better because a child's
potential will be nurtured instead of wasted.

As the holidays approach, I would like to ask your readers to do a
simple thing to help foster children. Organize a drive for clothing and
gift items at a school, office, church or community organization.
Deliver the items to Treehouse in the week or so before Christmas, and
feel great that you have helped a child feel cared about during the

After the New Year, call me to find out how else you can help. There
are many opportunities to volunteer or advocate for kids in foster care.

Janis Avery, Executive Director, Treehouse

November, 2004
Real politics means changing the world

Today I read the article, "Parenthood inspires political involvement "
(October 2004). It's great to see families getting involved with the
political process. As former co-director of Pike Market Child Care
& Preschool and a member of the Worthy Wage Task Force, I have a
few comments on Jolene Gensheimer's piece.

Something the author failed to mention is that activism is central to
Pike Market Child Care & Preschool's work. The article makes it
sound as if the children somehow pick it up through osmosis. The
preschool offers a sliding fee scale, making NAEYC (National
Association for the Education of Young Children) quality care available
to families with a variety of economic resources.

They also integrate a philosophy of anti-bias and cultural relevancy
into all aspects of their program. They do this to support children in
developing the skills they'll need to live in a diverse society. This
philosophy also promotes fairness and equity among all people.

Layered over these goals is a component of action: The idea that by
working collectively, we can change our world for the better--and I
believe this is truly what politics are all about, to echo PMCCP's
program manager. Both this philosophy and its methodology stand in
stark contrast to the idea of coloring flags and memorizing pictures of
American iconography, as is mentioned at the end of the article.

On another note, Worthy Wage Day is on May 1 each year--National
Workers Day. If it falls on the weekend, folks can expect it to be the
Friday before or Monday after. For more information about the event or
to join the planning committee, check out www.seattle.worthywageday.org.

Jodi Golden White, Seattle

November, 2004
Keep politics out of ParentMap

I recently picked up the October edition, and after reading your Voice
editorial "It takes guts to cast a ballot," I want to tell you that I
will never consider subscribing to your magazine because of your
overtly political article.

Your presentation of the pros and cons of I-884 was somewhat
informative, and certainly relevant to your audience of parents, but
you went too far when you stated your personal political leaning. I am
interested in facts, not YOUR gut feeling.

You would better serve parents by sticking to topics on parenting,
rather than by politicizing your publication. If you want to express
your political opinions, write to The Seattle Times.

Gina Humphries,

November, 2004
Thanks for thoughtful foster care article

Thank you for the thoughtful article on the foster care program (Bridge over troubled water ,
October 2004). So many articles about foster care focus on abusive
foster families that sometimes I think twice about admitting that I
grew up in a foster family. (I had four foster sisters growing up and
it was a positive experience for us all.)

While it's
important that horrific abuse cases are brought to light and changes
made to the system immediately, the foster care program will benefit
more from thoughtful articles like yours that talk about the majority
of hard-working, sacrificing and giving foster families and the real
issues and benefits of being a foster family.

More people will be willing to become a foster family if there isn't a
stigma attached to foster families, and breaking down the stigma that
the general media has applied starts with balanced articles like yours.
Thank you.

Susan Moe,

November, 2004
More postpartum help for moms, dads

First, I want to thank Sally James for her excellent interview of Thomas Soukakos (One dad's crusade: Know signs of postpartum depression , October 2004). Second, I want to applaud Thomas for his courage and dedication. He is a true inspiration!

I was one of the providers who saw Carol (Soukakos' wife, who committed
suicide), though it was only once and it was on the last day of her
life. It was clear to me that she was in deep trouble, although by then
it was too little too late. She agreed to the treatment I recommended
but inwardly had made another choice. It was a preventable tragedy.

I have worked with moms with postpartum depression for 10 years and
have seen the vast majority get well and go on to live happy lives as
mothers. But there are still many women who do not get help, who do not
know about the resources out there and whose providers are unaware of
the problem.

As chairperson of Depression After Delivery, I can tell you that our
mission has been to change this. We are a board made up of providers
and recovered moms who have dedicated countless hours to offer phone
support, referrals, educational forums, etc., and I believe we have
made a difference in our community.

The other hopeful change that I have seen in my professional career is
a growing national awareness. Tragedies like Andrea Yates in Texas, the
mom who drowned her five children because she was psychotically
depressed, have brought attention to the problem of postpartum mood
disorders and have stirred the nation.

Finally, fathers need more support. I agree with Thomas that there
aren't enough resources for dads. We at Depression After Delivery are
always looking for male therapists who want to specialize in supporting
fathers. It is a huge adjustment for both the mother and the father
becoming parents.

Thank you very much for devoting an article to this subject and I hope you will do more!

Abby Myers MN, ARNP,

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