Friday, December 30, 2011

Outing Club & Winter Fun

The Outing Club registration site is up and running -... A great way to introduce younger kids to the fun of OC and get some outdoor time is to join in for skating on Wednesdays January 4th & February 15th :  Skating at Falmouth Family Ice after school (non OC families just need to make their own transportation arrangements / pay for skating if you're not a Falmouth resident).

Please also consider supporting the OC by getting Clynk bags/tags from Nicole and returning them (full) to any Hannaford near you...

Finally, check out the Winter Kids page for outside fun on a grander scale -- there are printable passes for younger children and you can order the winter kids passport for grades 5 - 7 for huge deals and access to organized winter sports.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Maine's Budget - a polemic from Kim

Kate's class (Katie's class) proudly decorated cookies and cupcakes and made homemade fudge for the Preble St. Teen Center.  Katie has introduced them to the idea of homelessness and hunger through picture books and they have the righteous sensitivity of young children -- they know that it is wrong that teens should be without a safe place to live or without enough food.  These themes were amplified in a powerful speech by Jill Saxby yesterday at Maine Can Do Better's  rally protesting proposed cuts to Maine's safety net. 

Hear Jill Saxby's entire address
 I am haunted by the idea that 1 in 2 Americans is considered low-income (USA Today story), that our elderly are struggling with hunger and cold, that children's basic needs are not being met and that Maine might continue to balance our budget by cutting services to our most vulnerable.  Kate's class seems to hear the message in such a simple and straightforward way - safe housing and food are basic human rights.  Why can't that message be heard by our Government?

If you're so moved, contact your legislators NOW or consider making a donation to Maine Equal Justice Project who takes leadership on advocacy for low-income Mainers, to the Maine People's Alliance who does community organizing work or to the Maine Hunger Initiative as a direct response to childhood and elderly hunger.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Improv for Kids & Adults

The kids have had a great time with David, after school -- a new session begins in Jan (Tuesdays). .. but parents have the chance to play, too!

Winter Kids & Fast & Female - holiday gift ideas

The WinterKids FunPass is now available online!

The FunPass gives kids in preschool through 4th grade the chance to try snowshoeing and cross country skiing  (for free!) at 20 winter recreation areas all over Maine.


Fast and Female Kicks Off 2012 with Third Annual XC Ski Event in Maine on January 7

Bethel, Maine / Calgary, Alberta (December 8, 2011) - The countdown is on and in less than a month, 125 young female athletes between the ages of 9 to 19 years old will spend an afternoon of inspiration with cross-country skiing Olympian Holly Brooks and National Team member Jessie Diggins at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine.

Brooks and Diggins, who will already be in the area to compete in the 2012 National XC Ski Championships, have generously volunteered to lead the Fast and Female XC Ski Event on Saturday January 7. The highly unique event aimed at specifically motivating girls to stick to cross-country skiing will feature team building activities, a healthy snack, an inspirational presentation, dancing as well as an autograph signing session. The registration fee for the event is only $7 and includes a Fast and Female Buff, a snack, and access to the activities. Participants can secure a spot by visiting: The deadline to register online is January 5, 2012.

For more information concerning the event, please contact the local event coordinator: Abby Weissman at or (207) 944-4720.

Fast and Female is a not-for-profit society started in 2005 by Chandra Crawford - 2006 Olympic gold medalist in cross-country skiing. The organization's mission is to support, motivate, inspire, and empower girls to stick to sports and the healthy lifestyle. Fast and Female fulfills its mission of "Empowerment Through Sport" by hosting fun-filled, non-competitive initiatives all across North-America aimed at exposing young female athletes to inspiring female Olympians and elite level athletes. The young girls who attend Fast and Female events today will lead it in the future, may it be as athletes, coaches, volunteers, parents, and community leaders. For more information about Fast and Female, visit /

Friday, December 9, 2011

Guest post from FOUR

Danah Boyd has a great critique of social software networks, Autistic
Social Software, blasting the current generation of this software for
forcing people to behave autistically:

Consider, for a moment, the recent surge of interest in articulated social
networks such as Friendster, Tribe, LinkedIn, Orkut and the like. These
technologies attempt to formalize how people should construct and manage
their relationships. They assume that you can rate your friends. In some
cases, they procedurally direct how people can engage with new people by
giving you an absolute process through which you can contact others.

While this approach certainly has its merits because it is computationally
possible, I'm terrified when people think that this models social life.
It's so simplistic that people are forced to engage as though they have
autism, as though they must interact procedurally. This approach certainly
aids people who need that kind of systematization, but it is not a model
that universally makes sense. Furthermore, what are the implications of
having technology prescribe mechanistic engagement? Do we really want a
social life that encourages autistic interactions?

Autistic Social Software, Danah Boyd

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Resources

'Tis the season...  We are without a school holiday fundraiser this year, but I'm asking my family to consider a Donation to Friends School in lieu of plastic-crap for the girls and for me.  I am so grateful to FSP and know a strong school is the best gift we're giving our children at this time of their lives.  I also continue to hope and believe that values-based education will help our whole community, by developing new conversations and queries about childhood needs, in general, and by graduating kids who will take citizenship and problem solving on in a big way!  It won't replace a shiny bauble under the tree for them, but as I get older I do find donations are more fun to give and receive than anything from a big-box anything!

For some alternative holiday ideas, consistent with FSP values, check out these links (and the Consuming Kids DVD which is on the parents book shelf and a great conversation starter this time of year -should be a forum event next year!)

Center for New American Dream :  -- the simplify the holidays booklet has some useful strategies for resisting too much shopping.

Story of Electronics  - somehow, we need a way to keep a little Annie Leonard in our head as we make sugar plums dance in the heads of our older kids :  -- the old Story of Stuff might be worth watching as a whole family, just to talk a little about reducing consumption even at x-mas.

For those buying for younger kids,  the TRUCE guide is now available :  and the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood released their "toadies" of worst toys :  

Finally, the Maine Association of NonProfits has their gifts that give twice program featuring places to make donations and get a little something -- I'd love other people's ideas for good donations in honor of grandparents, etc!

Finally, Dan contributed his list of 5 best toys ever 

New Kindergarten Blog

Check out the new Kindergarten Blog -- a permanent link can be found above!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BPA & Canned Food

Did everyone see this awful report about BPA & canned food -- something to watch out for this winter! 
Tonight there is a celebration for the Environmental Health Strategy Center, the organization working to make policy change around toxins in our food and personal care prodcuts and other stuff.. 

This Thursday we are so glad you will be joining us as a host for our 9th Anniversary Organic Wine and Chocolate Party!

Thursday December 1st 5:30-7:30pm
Rose Contemporary Gallery, Portland

We will be recognizing former executive director of the Maine Women's Policy Center Sarah Standiford with the Second Annual Frank Hatch Environmental Health Leadership Award. As well as honoring one of our founding board members Lael Stegall, and four grassroots leaders who helped win the campaign to phase out the toxic chemical BPA from reusable food and beverage containers in Maine, Jessica Graham, Dana Hernandez, Mary Beth Luce, and Megan Rice.

The event will include a silent auction with a wide variety of fun items, from restaurant gift cards to children's books, that can be great holiday gifts.

Please contact Rachelle with any questions,, 699-5789.