Biking for the cure
Everyone these days at “The Hutch” (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) is buzzing about Obliteride, a new community-wide bicycling event dedicated to accelerating lifesaving cancer research. Obliteride is an entire weekend of cycling, celebrations and concerts, with all proceeds raised going to fund cancer research.
The ride will include multiple routes in western Washington, offering various distances and terrains for all levels of riders. The event will be held Aug. 9–11, and organizers are looking for 2,500 riders and at least 1,000 volunteers. Go to obliteride.org for details.
When it is wet and the sun is not sunny
Visit Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery in Bellevue and catch the cool new Dr. Seuss art exhibit. More than 20 rare editions from Dr. Seuss’ Secret Art, Unorthodox Taxidermy and Archive Collection will be on display between May 18 and June 2. The exhibit, which is free, will offer visitors a glimpse into the artistic life of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) with a focus on his private collection of paintings and sculptures.
Geisel was a political cartoonist for PM Magazine during World War II, a contributing illustrator for Vanity Fair and Life, and worked for many years in the advertising industry. Go to drseussart.com for more details.
Last fall, the Wellspring Family Services Early Learning Center was hit with some bad news: No funding was allocated for the center in the City of Seattle’s 2013–2014 budget. The early learning center is a licensed child-care program for homeless families that offers a safe learning environment for kids ages 1 to 5 who are living in Seattle in a shelter or transitional housing.
Here’s the latest: Thanks to public support, the city revisited its earlier decision and reinstated full funding. All four of the agency’s early learning classrooms will stay open — with uninterrupted services.
These talks are for you
This year’s wildly popular ParentMap Lecture Series features experts every parent can learn something from. Don’t miss these last three speakers: Susan Cain on raising an introvert, April 10 at Mercer Island High School (perfect for parents who are nurturing quiet kids); Adele Diamond, Ph.D., on early learning and executive functions, April 30 at Kirkland Performance Center; and John Gottman, Ph.D., on “Making Love Last and Marriage Work,” May 7 at Town Hall (for couples looking for love).
All lectures run from 7 to 9 p.m.; tickets are $20.
New leader for Issaquah
The Issaquah School Board has chosen associate superintendent Ron Thiele to succeed outgoing superintendent Steve Rasmussen when he retires from the district on June 30. Thiele has almost 25 years of educator experience, eight of them as a classroom teacher. He came to the Issaquah School District in 2001 as principal of Issaquah Middle School.
Learning the write stuff
Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program helps kids hone their skills in two crucial areas: reading and writing. Last year (2011–2012), the program worked with the following school districts: Kent, Mercer Island, Seattle, Shoreline and Port Townsend, as well as at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Students work with professional writers to learn to tell their own stories, while discovering the craft of writing. In January, the organization held two poetry contests. The winners of each contest were chosen based on originality, vivid language and success of the poem as a whole. Take a look at the finalists and their (awesome!) winning poems at salwits.wordpress.com.
When failure is not an option
Is your child risk averse? Does he need a push to try new things, answer “I don’t know” in class rather than risking a wrong reply, or seem afraid he’ll strike out if he goes up to bat?
How can you help? Try these tips from Beyond Smart: Boosting Your Child’s Social, Emotional, and Academic Potential:
• Emphasize effort as much as outcome. Praise the fact that your child tries.
• Take breaks. None of us is at our best when pushed beyond our limits.
• End on positive notes. Divide complex tasks into smaller, more doable segments and celebrate the completion of each.
• Create a healthy balance between challenging projects and tasks and easy ones. Review the day with your child.
• Spend time talking about success. Catch the child doing things “right.” The more a child hears and receives praise for positive efforts, the more that child will come to internalize that message.
• Embrace failure and help your child to not be afraid of it.
We all had to fall many times before we learned to walk.
Thanks in part to the work of Elham Kazemi, Ph.D., associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Washington (UW), students at Lakeridge Elementary in Renton made impressive gains in their math scores on the Washington state Math Benchmark Assessment test.
In 2010, one in five Lakeridge Elementary students were passing the state test. Kazemi’s team helped students make gains that are approaching or outpacing the district average on math benchmark assessments, according to UW College of Education sources.
Food Lifeline is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending hunger in Western Washington by engaging communities and mobilizing resources. The agency provides food to more than 745,000 people through a network of nearly 300 food banks, meal programs and shelters. Ninety-four percent of the food that Food Lifeline receives from local, state and national contributors is donated. You can help eliminate hunger with monetary contributions, food donations through food drives or events and by volunteering.
We’re pleased to have Food Lifeline as our April Giving Together partner. And you can help as well: For every ParentMap Honey purchase made, 5 percent of the profits will be donated directly to support the Food Lifeline’s mission of helping to end hunger in Western Washington. Visit Honey each week to find an outstanding deal that is specifically tailored to families.
Surprise! TV content matters
Here’s a new study that confirms what we’ve all suspected: TV content counts. The programs kids watch can have a positive effect on their behavior. According to author Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, preschoolers in this country watch nearly four and a half hours of television a day, which often include inappropriate programming — and kids learn by imitating what they see.
The study found that what children watch is as important as how much they watch. Six months after the families involved in the study reduced the hours of violent shows they watched — and substituted higher-quality or educational programs, the kids’ behavior improved. “An intervention to reduce exposure to screen violence and increase exposure to prosocial programming can positively impact child behavior,” reports Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
What can you do to change your children’s viewing habits at home? Here are some tips from Dr. Christakis:
• Keep a media diary to make sure you’re aware of the TV programs and movies your child is watching.
• Choose less violent and more prosocial content for your kids to watch, via sites like Common Sense Media.
• Watch TV and movies with your children, so that you’re more aware of the content.
Safe Kids offers parents and caregivers resources and information to help protect kids from unintentional injuries, the number-one cause of death for children in the United States. Visit its website (safekids.org) for information on water, sports and play safety, and more.
Here are safety basics for preventing burns at home:
In the bathroom:
• Never leave your child alone.
• Check the temperature of bathwater before putting a child into it.
In the kitchen:
• Make the stove area a “kid-free” zone.
• Cook with pots and pans on back burners, and turn handles away from the front of the stove.
• Place hot foods and liquids at the center of the table.
• Always supervise young children in the kitchen and around electrical appliances and outlets.
Around the house:
• Set your water heater to 120 degrees or lower.
• Keep all flammable materials away and out of children’s reach.
• Cover unused electrical outlets.
To highlight awareness about autism, the Autism Society celebrates National Autism Awareness Month every April. Because early diagnosis and intervention lead to better outcomes, the organization encourages parents to understand and be aware of the signs of autism. Here’s what to watch for:
• Lack of or delay in spoken language
• Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand flapping, twirling objects)
• Little or no eye contact
• Lack of interest in peer relationships
• Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
• Persistent fixation on parts of objects