Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Annie Leonard on Colbert

Grace and I were both moved by the Story of Stuff when we watched it last year, and I'm realizing it is probably something we should watch again... and for grown-ups, here is Annie Leonard on Colbert... As a follow up for older kids, PBS's Frontline The Merchant of Cool can now be viewed online and has tons of links and resources to help us think and talk about marketing, consumption, etc.

Jane Goodall in Boston

Please join us for An Evening with Jane Goodall at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. on Monday, May 3, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.  Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE and Professor Richard Wrangham, PhD, Harvard College Professor and Board member of Jane Goodall’s International Advisory Council, will discuss the 50-year chimpanzee behavioral research Dr. Goodall pioneered, and her message of hope for the world.

We are excited to offer you, Jane Goodall Institute members and friends, advanced ticket sales for this special evening. Advanced tickets are available through the Harvard Box Office with the code GOMBE50. But please hurry; tickets go on sale to the general public March 31 and we expect them to go quickly!

Please contact us in the Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots New England office with any questions or visit our New England regional website for more information about Jane’s visit. Thank you for your continued support of the Jane Goodall Institute!

Best Wishes,

Sally Sharp Lehman
New England Regional Director
the Jane Goodall Institute

for more information click here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Buddhist Peace Walkers -- potluck tonight

Buddhist Peace Walkers to be Hosted at Meg Perry Center

Start: Mar 29 2010 - 6:00pm
Peace Walker

Members of the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist order and their supporters will be hosted at a potluck and discussion at the Meg Perry Center, 644 Congress Street, Portland, Maine on Monday evening, March 29, 2010.

The Buddhists and their supporters are taking part in a Peace Walk starting in Bath, Maine and eventually arriving in New York City for a session at the United Nations on the upcoming Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhists have been working for Nuclear Disarmament since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. They have walked all over the world with their message of non-violence and world peace. They built a Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Massachusetts in the 1980s.

The potluck will begin at 6:00 p.m. followed by discussion. For more information and conformation that you are bringing a potluck dish of food, contact Wells Staley-Mays at 409-0778 or guide.freedomtrail1850@yahoo.com

Friday, March 26, 2010

Support Plummer-Motz's effort to be America's Greenest School

Our neighbor has the chance to win a hybrid bus!   Vote early & often :) 

(From a teacher @ the school: )
We are in day 3 of voting and we are neck and neck with one other school so it's so important to keep voting and to continue to remind everyone you can think of!  Here's the website:  http://www.americasgreenestschool.com
> Go Mrs. Merrifield's Class!!!!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Steingraber has a new blog

On May 11th, the Friends School Parenting for Peace series will welcome Sandra Steingraber to Portland.  Sometimes called the Rachel Carson of our generation, Steingraber is sure to be provocative and to speak to a lot of the interests of our community.

Check out her new website

and encourage any teachers and childcare providers you know to sign up for the extraordinary opportunity to attend a workshop with her (more info here)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book Blogs for middle schoolers

Although I despise the term "tween", I'm digging this blog that suggests books for middle school kids... I'd heard of very few of them...

If you have more time, this blog compiles nominations of books from children's book bloggers, and then gives out awards in many catgories (the cybils).

And this link connects to the Maine Book Award site  -- I believe they are taking recommendations for 2010 now.

Finally, for us grown-ups, the Maine Festival of the Book is coming up soon -- April 9 -11th.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Grade 7/8 Aladdin rescheduled

Due to repair of the wonky utility pole on the causeway, the island is closed this evening. As a result, the grades 7/8 performance of Aladdin (in verse and very funny) has been rescheduled to Monday evening, March 22nd at 7 p.m. The performance stars all your favorite seventh and eighth graders, some in dual roles. It is appropriate for all ages and is very cleverly written, casted, costumed, and performed. It is not to be missed! There will be a bake sale at the event to support the class trip to Washington.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bach Birthday Bash Tonight

Tonight is the Bach Birthday Bash with Ray Cornils playing the Kotzschmar organ at the Merrill. The event is a bit late for a school night, but it'll be grand. I can't find pricing information, but I think it's free/donation.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Ahead

Sunday is already daylight savings time... get ready to spring ahead in this gorgeous weather!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Chemical Reaction

Please join us for a Yarmouth community screening of
“A Chemical Reaction”

Thursday, April 1, 2010A Chemical Reaction is a documentary movie produced by Paul Tukey, bestselling author and founder of SafeLawns.org. The film provides a scientific look at the mounting concerns around lawn chemicals. It follows the studies and Supreme Court case that eventually lead to the banning of lawn pesticides and herbicides in one town, then several municipalities and eventually the entire Provence of Quebec.

Paul Tukey will join us for the screening and a discussion afterwards.

Sponsored by:
Citizens for a Green Yarmouth and the Enviornmental Health Strategy Center
Performing Arts Center at Yarmouth High School
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Admission FREE, donations accepted

Auction Fun

Earth Rhythms: Songs for the Environment— a Family Concert with Roger Tincknell!

Saturday, March 27th at the Silent Auction & Brunch
Beginning at 1:00 pm, as bidding ends

Don’t miss this family-friendly, interactive performance!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One Day Without Shoes

I came across this interesting consciousness-raising effort called One Day Without Shoes. They are encouraging individuals, campuses, and communities to pledge to go barefoot for one day, April 8th, to raise awareness about the millions of people who must walk barefoot for miles every day, risking infection and disease. In many places, children are not allowed to attend school unless they wear shoes, making education unattainable. Give it some thought, and hope for an extension of our early spring!

Praise effort not "gifts"

This article follows in the "nurture shock" tradition of the importance of valuing persistence rather than outcomes...

I'd be curious about ways others have found to encourage kids to take some risks, practice sticking with things that are hard, etc...?


Building and Grounds Committee -- 3/17 @ 6pm

Please come to FSP for a Buildings and Grounds Meeting next wednesday evening, March 17th, at 6 PM. ( There will be no childcare so plan accordingly) We will discuss the plans for spring..... landscaping improvements and propose projects. Its really important that we get together and commit to what we'd like to accomplish as the school year will close on us sooner than expected! If you cannot make the meeting please take the time to call me or email me with not only your suggestions but also how you can make them happen. Let's try and make progress for our school!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Parents Beware: Poetry Contest a Scam?

Legally, probably not, but a scheme for sure. Yesterday my kids came home with a photocopied flyer for a poetry contest and were, of course, excited by the prizes: You May Win $500! Prizes Just For Entering! Laptop Computer! Afterschool Shopping Spree!

Always wary of people who are trying to collect my minors' contact information, I did a little checking around. It turns out there is much discussion on writers' forums about this and similar 'contests.' They are based on a Who's Who model, in which everyone who supplies contact information (the poem, at 20 lines or less, seems to be an afterthought), receives a letter saying their poem is so wonderful it has been 'selected' to appear in an anthology, called Brilliance (or Excellence, or something like that). The anthology will cost you $79. If you want your author bio in there, that's an extra $39 (I'm making up the prices, but you get the idea). Information on this and similar writing 'contest' schemes may be found here.

It really bothers me that, much as we try to protect our children, their security is still compromised. Where is their contact information being gathered and shared against our will? It doesn't happen very often, but it's troubling that it happens at all. When Tris was seven, he got a certificate for a free medical consultation of some sort: brain scan? arthritis screening? Whatever it was I was horrified that 'somebody out there' had his information, and couldn't find out how it was obtained. Last spring, Graham and Tris were both 'nominated' to participate in an exchange program to England purportedly because of their excellence in academic and community involvement. Excuse me? Not that they're not model citizens, but what about their sister? It had me racking my brain for something that the boys were signed up for but not Cecilia. I still draw a blank. In any case, the program actually seems to happen, families are drawn in to do lots of fundraising and plenty of meetings, and then the exchange happens the following year. But were my children really 'nominated'? By whom? How did the program find them? And who in their right mind would send their ten-year-old blithely off to merry olde? Anyhow, there I go again. Does this any of this bother you, too?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's Bike Swap Time!

Once again the Bicycle Coalition of Maine is sponsoring a bike swap April 25th at USM's Sullivan Gym. Check it out!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Joan Almon in Freeport on Thursday night!


Recovering Childhood for 21st Century Children

A Public Talk by Joan Almon, Director, U.S. Alliance for Childhood

at Merriconeag School in Freeport

Huge strides have been made in understanding children's development over the past 50 years, yet there is a growing gap between our understanding of what children need for a healthy and creative childhood and the actual practices and policies that deeply affect children's lives. As a result there are growing amounts of illness in children with huge increases in prescribed drugs for psychological problems, as well as a host of problems associated with childhood obesity. Overall, there is a sense that children are being rushed through childhood and that this is creating untold stress and strain for them. There is also a sense that the tide is shifting and there is much that can be done to support a healthy and vibrant childhood for all children. Joan Almon will explore with us the positive steps as well as the obstacles.

Joan Almon is a co-founder and director of the U.S. Alliance for Childhood, an advocacy organization that works on policies and practices that support children’s creativity, health and well-being. Joan was a Waldorf preschool and kindergarten teacher in Maryland for 18 years and has consulted with schools in Mexico and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe, as well as throughout the U.S. and Canada. She also served on the Council of the Anthroposophical Society in America as its Chair or Co-Chair for five years.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

7:00 PM

Community Hall, Grade School Campus, 57 Desert Road, Freeport

Community resources for enrichment

Reflecting on all the afterschool activities my kids have taken part in this year on the island, I'm so grateful school has stepped in to provide so many enrichment opportunities for our curious kids. For some kids who are older or passionate about certain things, even the broad offerings at school don't quite fit or are at an age-inclusive or beginning level. In these cases we have done some research and found a plethora of activities in which the kids have participated over the years. Most of the summer programs have financial aid/campership options. I'm going to list some that we've found, including some summer intensives, and hope people will use the comments area to add community programs they've found helpful.

Technically your children are entitled to participate in your home school district's extracurriculars, specials, and classes if you can fit them into your day. This includes sports and clubs of all kinds. Most sports go through sixth grade as community services activities, then move over to middle school teams in 7th grade. This is different in each town, and is changing as school budgets get slashed, but contact your community services department to find out how it works in your town. The Maine Principals' Association rules for sports are that you may participate in the sports program of another community if your home district or school does not offer a similar program. This really refers to middle school and up and is designed to keep kids from hopping around between the best teams or, as we like to say, where the snow is whiter. We have participated in Nordic skiing this way in Portland and lacrosse in South Portland, and the boys have done both afterschool golf and VEX robotics (neither of which goes by MPA rules, as they are community services sports) in Cape Elizabeth.

Coastal Maine Aquatics swim team

Musica de Filia girlchoir (also, Boy Singers of Maine for those so-inclined)

317 Main Street Community Music Center in Yarmouth for music lessons, also the Portland Conservatory of Music

Maine Fiddle Camp

Skating lessons at Portland Ice Arena and Family Ice in Falmouth

summer sailing lessons at SailMaine

Maine Robotics Camp at USM

Also, as you all know, we found out that our high school robotics team takes middle schoolers with their principal's permission and grade checks, and it's been a time-intensive yet fun winter.

Summer X at Maine School of Science and Mathematics has been a godsend for our techie, and has programs for boys and girls in grades 5 - 9 (separate weeks for boys and girls, also the 7-9 boys have a separate week from the 5- 7 boys).

The Maine Conservation School at Bryant Pond teaches an array of such fundamentals as bowhunter safety, outdoor survival, fishing, and primitive skills; Tris calls it heaven.

LLBean offers a 'free' fly-tying workshops for all ages (fine motor skills help) every Friday evening at 7:00 from January to April. I put the 'free' in quotes because you do end up spending about $15 a week on the supplies you need to tie the particular fly being taught. However, you will end up with lots of materials and knowledge to move forward, and if you go with friends you can share supplies.

Friends Camp in South China, for budding peaceniks! Graham had a great week (pouring rain) a few years ago but never went back because he became intensely involved in other things, but a small contingent from FSP heads up there every summer.

The Maine Rock Gym has a winter climbing team for kids aged 10 - 18 and afterschool programs for ages 6 - 15. Graham did the climbing team a couple of winters ago. The meets are a hoot, like a frat party (no beer) with people dangling over your head and a special sweaty-foot ambience.

As younger campers the kids all did day sessions at Camp Ketcha in Scarborough. They've added more specialty sessions for older kids recently, so you should check them out. They also have afterschool ropes, archery, and horsemanship sessions in the spring, as well as school vacation camps.

I hope this helps as you plan for your extra-curious kids. Please do let us know of any enrichment gems you've found.