Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Free Range Kids?

This month's Brainchild Magazine featured a fascinating essay by a Montana mother who was arrested for letting her 12 year old bring younger siblings to the mall, without an adult. Susan Linn recommended the book Free Range Kids, (also a blog) but I have been a bit put off by some of the romanticizing of the "good old days" when kids ran free in the wild, since I think there was also a survival of the fittest / Lord of the Flies element to peer socialization that we want to circumvent for good reasons. I'm more sympathetic to the Brainchild story because the mom is a little less sure of herself, and a little more tired -- she lets the kids go because she reaches her own limit AND thinks it is fine (enough). I believe in the tenants of "good enough parenting" and think each of us will sort out the boundaries depending on our own temperments and experiences and those of our children... and yet, still, there are community norms and guidelines, too, that matter... At what age can kids roam Mackworth Island without an adult? At what age can kids be free on the playground with supervision? At what age can kids be left alone in the car while a parent runs in? At what age can kids be left home alone? So many questions without clear answers... I'd love to hear how others in our community are sorting it out!

A Sing-Along with Ellie tomorrow

Rain or Shine, Ellie will grace us with songs and stories at 11am... bring a picnic lunch to eat inside, if you'd like... get ready by looking at some of the school songs on the sidebar....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fwd: Come Celebrate the Hardy Days of Summer

If anyone has the ummph to think about driving to Waterville, this looks pretty cool... Even more ummph for starting something like this in the Portland area would be fab!   For more information, call (207) 861-8131

Begin forwarded message:

Come Celebrate the Hardy Days of Summer


Hardy Days is a unique, interactive summer program for girls in grades 3-6.  This new and exciting two-session program is being offered for the first time because we want all girls to have the chance to participate in fun and engaging summer activities.  The program will give girls the opportunity to meet with other girls from around the area and participate in hands-on, low cost activities. During the sessions girls will get to meet women who are defying gender stereotypes and challenging notions of what a girl or woman "should" do or be; participate in team-building games and learn skills such as public speaking; and learn to think critically about media images through art projects. Workshops will be lead by community volunteers (local artists and martial arts instructors), members of the Hardy Girls' Girls Advisory Board, and Hardy Girls' Director of Programs.


Hardy Days will be held July 13-16, 2009, 12 pm - 5 pm.
1st Session: 3rd-4th graders July 13 & 14
2nd Session: 5th-6th graders July 15 & 16
  • Sessions are $50 per girl and include healthy snacks and materials for all activities.
  • Scholarships are always available for sessions! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Children Are Frequent Targets of PG-13 Movie Ads, Group Charges (NYT)

I thought folks would be interested in this article.

NYT, June 24th, 2009, 3:17 PM

Children Are Frequent Targets of PG-13 Movie Ads, Group Charges

By Brooks Barnes

A Harvard-based children’s advocacy group is stepping up its confrontation with movie studios over how PG-13 films are marketed.

Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood on Wednesday sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission and the Bureau of Consumer Protection demanding that the government take action to assure that films rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America are not marketed to young children. The organization complained that the FTC’s exhortation to the movie industry in 2007 to address concerns over the marketing of such sexualized and violent movies through self regulation has failed.

“The M.P.A.A. still has not done what the FTC urged it to do: adopt an explicit policy, incorporating objective criteria, for the marketing of PG-13 films,” the 10-page letter reads.

Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood is particularly concerned about the marketing of PG-13 movies through fast food toy giveaways and the sale of licensed merchandise, particularly the advertisement of such offers on television. The organization presented the government agencies with research it has conducted about four PG-13 movies that have been released since May 1.

Researchers for the organization monitored ads for “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “Star Trek,” “Terminator Salvation” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. with a heavy eye on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, which typically target children age 6 to 11. Between March 17 and June 14, the group counted 2,734 commercials for the films, their licensed toys and related fast-food promotions. (Not included: ads for branded food products like “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” M&Ms.

A representative for the FTC could not be immediately reached for comment. A spokeswoman from the M.P.A.A. had no immediate comment.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fwd: Organic News, Events & Resources

What's On My Food Database. If you ever have wondered about pesticides on your food, or in your drinking water, in particular which of those pesticides are most hazardous, the California-based group Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) has just the resource for you. Today, PANNA launched a detailed and informative website -www.whatsonmyfood.org. The site hosts an easy-to-use, searchable database of government test results for pesticide residues in food. The database shows what pesticides are found on each food, in what amount, and, for the first time, links those residues to the health effects associated with exposure to each of the chemicals.

Computer Camp

The Friends School Computer Program for 10-14 year olds will be offered July 20-24 & August 10-14. This student-centered, project-based day program offers children an opportunity to explore the creative use of computers through the use of the Apple iLife creative suite of software, including iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, and Garageband. Program Director, John Jaques, has his Masters Degree in Instructinal Technology and 15 years of experience working with groups of children and adults in computer-based instruction. For more information and to register go to: http://friendsschoolofportland.org/friends-summer-computer-program

Stories by the Garden (or inside, if it is raining)

The story program will happen tomorrow, rain or shine!
FSP's own Katie Clark will read her books, Seagull Sam and Grandma Drove The Garbage Truck and there will be some activities to go along with the stories... come see old friends, bring new friends, and escape from another cloudy day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Care for Caregivers @ Freeport Library

The Sandwich Generation: Taking Care of Your Children, Your Parents and Yourself without Losing Your Mind
When : Mon Jun 22 6:30pm – Mon Jun 22 7:30pm Where:Community Meeting Room 10 Library Drive Freeport ME 04032 Your children still live with you (or have moved back in). Your elderly parents need help making medical and living arrangements. How do you manage all of the responsibilities, copy with stress and still find time to take care of yourself? This FREE one hour presentation by the Community Counseling Center (www.commcc.org) will equip you with specific questions to explore about elderly parents' needs, concrete tips to manage stress, and ideas for self-care.

Summer Reading Programs

Portand Public Library's summer reading program starts on June 22 with a puppet show @ the East End School at 10:30. On June 24th they are offering a kids-sized version of the Edible Book project, called "Eat Your Words" at 5pm.
Falmouth Library's reading program kicks off with a concert @ 5:30 on June 23, but it looks like they require registration...

FSP Passion Flower

FSP PASSION FLOWER (Courtesy of Scott Peterman)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pirates, Ho - Wednesday

Wednesday looks like a gorgeous day to welcome our first Stories by the Garden Program. The theme is Pirates, with author Sarah Thomson reading from her new book, Pirates, Ho! We will also make some sailor/pirate hats, so bring nimble fingers if you can!
If your kids leave excited for more, check out these crafts and booklists. Picture books (from my favorite resoures, the Center for Children's Books, but from 2005)
For older kids : an annotated bibliography of pirate related chapter books
Google search of Pirate Crafts
And if you get completely inspired, check out the New England Pirate Museum in Salem MA (or just their activities page)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kids Art Spots

Tis the season to get out the finger paints, for sure, but when staying home another minute doesn't seem like a good idea, there are a bunch of spots around town for kids to paint over a different floor. The Children's Museum of Maine offers "Big Messy Art" a couple of times a week, plus other craft and art projects. (BMA is today (sunday) @ 2:30 and tomorrow (June 15) there is a Father's Day Craft at 11am)
Color Me Mine, in Portland, is a paint-your-own pottery studio... Monday is "1 child paints free" day and Tuesday is 2-for-1 day...
Clay Play, in Yarmouth, is similar, and is offering a 2-hour "class" for kids on Wednesdays in the summer, if parents need a bit of alone time midweek. (It starts at 1 so would be a perfect post-Stories by the Garden destination)
There is also the Pick and Paint Pottery Shop in Westbrook and the Paint Your Own Pottery studio in Old Orchard. Aly, our fabulous babysitter, took the girls to the Beadin Path in Freeport and managed to entertain them for a long time on about $10.00 worth of beads... they also offer some kid classes.
Also in Freeport, is Smudge, a drop-in art spot for kids (they also have summer camp). The Portland Art Museum has quite a lot for kids, on regular days, and offers a special grandparents program on Tuesday June 30th!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Library Day

Nicole sent our class some links for the Maine State Book Award lists (for grades 4+)
http://www.nya.org/library/mestudentbookawards.asp And the Maine Humanities Council's Born to Read program offers great picture book lists. There are other great book review / book lists cites around -- I have some listed at the very bottom of my "parenting for peace blog" Also - Library Summer Reading Programs are about to start... Portland Public Library has a lot of cooking programs listed.... please share anything fabulous happening at your local library!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fwd: Wednesday Night at the Northstar Cafe - Hope to see you on the 17th!

Thought this might be of interest... 

Please join us June 17th for an interesting, informative, and informal event that is
open to the public.  Come on down to the Northstar Cafe, get yourself a coffee or tea and treat and settle in for a great discussion.  Bring a friend!

Pollution in and Around Us:
Moving from Knowledge to Action
June 17th, 7-8:30 p.m.
Northstar Cafe, 225 Congress Street, Portland

Each of us is polluted with dozens of hazardous industrial chemicals, according to several studies. These chemicals are found in products we use every day: plastic containers, toys, furniture, fabric, automobiles, TVs and stereos, water bottles, medical supplies and personal products like shampoo, hairspray and perfume. They are in our homes and offices, food and water, and the air we breathe. Increasingly, we are learning that they are also in us.

In 2006, 13 Maine women and men vounteered to have their bodies tested in the first-ever study of chemical pollution in Maine People. This study found a total of 46 different chemicals (of 71 tested) in samples of blood, urine, and hair. On average, each participant had measurable levels of 36 toxic chemicals in their bodies. (to download the study, visit www.cleandandhealthyme.org
Increasingly, such chemicals are being linked to health problems, such as reproductive health disorders, cancer, learning and behavioral disabilities, diabetes and obesity. 

On June 17th, 7:00 - 8:30 pm at the Northstar Cafe (225 Congress Street,
Portland) the Environmental Health Strategy Center
 will host an informal
conversation with three women who used their own experiences with environmental toxins to create different types of positive, constructive engagement:

Beth George, lawyer, mother and founder of Speltright Baking
Elisa Boxer Cook, journalist, educator, and mother
Lora Winslow, founder of the Naked Truth Project, and Director of Marketing
and Sustainability for O'Natural's Inc.

We'll listen to their stories, and have an open exchange about how each of us deals with toxins around and in us. We'll learn about local resources for more information and ways to get involved and active to create safer products, homes and workplaces for us all.
This is a WiFi and cell phone free event.  Thank you for your cooperation!

For more information, please contact: Kristine Jenkins, Environmental Health
Strategy Center, www.preventharm.org, 878-0082/ 409-9193 (cell),


Open Gymnastics / Bounce Zone

We're all in need of the decompression time a few rainy days can bring, but soon the kids will be bouncing off the walls (and on the couch) and we'll need more exercise.
The Maine Academy of Gymnastics has a few Open Gym days left (until June 20th) -- ages 7 and under only, except for Friday nights. $9.00 per child
Bounce Zone is not really my kind of place, but I think it would be Kate's dream rainy day excursion... friends have recommended it, too... any comments? $7.00 per child for an hour or $10 unlimted for the day (Portland bouncezone is closing but Saco is open) Bounce Zone Saco (note: not open Mon/Tues 'till after 6/19)
Falmouth Family Ice offers indoor public skating in the summer, which seems even more fun on a really hot day, but could be a nice escape from the rain, too And, of course, there are puddle walks, which need no links, no prices, and no schedules...

Monday, June 8, 2009

And another cool Brunswick happening...

Barbara Cooney's illustrations from Miss Rumphius are on display at Bowdoin's Museum of Art... (Check it out and see the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe this coming Friday or SchoolHouse Rock Live in August...) Or, go to Storytime @ the Brunswick Farmer's Market on Tuesdays @ 11am There are tons of cool events at the library too, including Friday June 26th: Earth Jams @ the Curtis Memorial Library...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

To Do in Brunswick, Monday June 8th

A bunch of us are meeting for Frog and Toad on Monday, and would welcome anyone to join us for a picnic @ noonish @ Bowdion or for the show...
Also, in Brunswick, the Frontier is showing Swan Lake on film... could be fun for older kids!
SPECIAL EVENT | Ballet in Cinema | "From Russia With Dance" Series From the Kirov Ballet Company, Performed at Mariinsky Theatre, Presented in HD First in Three Part Series Swan Lake | 128min, One Intermission Monday, June 8 | 3pm & 6pm | $15 | Advanced Ticket Purchase Recommended: 725-5222 “The Kirov’s production is breathtakingly gorgeous.” – The Boston Globe “Ulyana Lopatkina is the company's supreme swan queen.” – The Observer Tchaikovsky’s first ballet, Swan Lake is considered by many to be one of the greatest classical ballets of all time. Its romance and beauty has allowed the classic ballet to mesmorize audiences for more than 100 years. This timeless story of a young man's love and eventual betrayal of a swan queen, set to one of Tchaikovsky's most enduring scores, continues to engage audiences and inspire new generations of dancers. Recorded in high-definition television at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, this special captures all the grandeur of ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie's visually stunning new production, which was hailed by THE WALL STREET JOURNAL as "giving the 123-year-old ballet fresh splendor, depth and momentum." The elegant production stars ABT's newest sensation, Gillian Murphy, as Princess Odette, and the great Angel Corella as her suitor, Prince Siegfried.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Let's Go Maine

The Let's Go Maine site has some great summer resources. Here is a link to lists of parks and playgrounds in a bunch of towns around Greater Portland.
This link brings you to the Recreation/Community Services departments of local towns, including a link to a pdf of a map of Portland Playgrounds (from the City of Portland).

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fwd: Please join us in Portland, Augusta and Bangor to call for safer products!

Our next Parenting For Peace Event will emphasize children's health and the enviornment... this could be a a great prelude
Forward this newsletter to a friend


EHSC LogoEnvironmental Health Strategy Center

Preventing harm where we live, work and play


 Action Alert: Maine Kid-Safe Products Campaign
  Send Maine Businesses and Government a “Message in a Bottle” – a Baby Bottle
“Make it your business to protect Maine families from toxic chemicals”
Join the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine for three special events to let public officials and retail stores know that we want toxic chemicals out of children’s products and dangerous products off store shelves.
We’ll hand out information to shoppers, talk to the media, and collect messages to businesses and public officials. Please take an hour out of your day to join us.
SPECIAL GUEST – A giant, twenty-foot-tall inflatable baby bottle! You don’t want to miss it.
  • Portland – Thursday, June 4
    Noon in Monument Square downtown
    (* Please arrive by 11:45 AM *)
  • Augusta – Tuesday, June 9
    Noon(near the Rotary - please contact kristinej@preventharm.org, 878-0082, 409-9193 for details)
    (* Please arrive by 11:45 AM *)
  • Bangor – Thursday, June 11
    Noon at Rite Aid at Union Street & Hammond Street
    (* Please arrive by 11:45 AM *)
Every Maine family deserves a home free of toxic chemicals. Our children deserve to grow up without dangerous chemicals in their bottles, cups, and food harming them. Parents deserve to know that the products they buy for their babies and children are safe. Retail stores deserve to know what chemicals are used in the products they sell.
Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) harm developing brains and bodies, these dangerous chemicals are still used in baby bottles and other infant and child feeding products found on store shelves in Maine.
Replacing toxic chemicals with safer alternatives is good for business and good for our families. Let’s tell Maine stores and government: “Make it your business to protect Maine families from toxic chemicals.”

For more information or to RSVP, contact: Kristine Jenkins, EHSC, kristinej@preventharm.org, 878-0082/ 409-9193(cell)

©2008 Environmental Health Strategy Center, P.O. Box 2217, Bangor, ME, 04402.
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