A resource for families in Santa Cruz County

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California Wild Life Day
We share our land, rivers, lakes, forests, urban backyards and seas with coyotes, mountain lions, songbirds, raptors, owls, foxes, fish, newts, slugs, bugs, deer, skunks, possums, et.al. How can we share respectfully?

The Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District has invited us to join their virtual California Wildlife Day Celebration on Saturday, March 20 and Sunday, March 21 from 10am-3pm.

This year they are honoring “Resilience in a Changing Climate.” There will be speakers, student art, and environmental activities where all can join in and celebrate. Go here for information and updates: California Wildlife Day website.

Having beaches and parks easily available has been a blessing! Are you pleased about more attractions opening up? Have you been able to decrease screen time and increase outdoor time? Are you supporting local businesses? How about going to an outdoor concert, or soon a local museum, a zoo or overnight camping locally!?

Have you liked us on FB . . . that’s where we share family events and news that we couldn’t fit into the weekly newsletter!

Have a "wild" weekend with your families, Parmalee
Works for Kids... Works for Adults!
Collaboration, by Julie Bogart
In all our fretting over how to raise kind, respectful children, the temptation is to double down on discipline—to require “instant obedience.” And indeed, if all those little rascals would just do what I ask when I ask it I would feel waves of joy—explosions of glee, wouldn’t you?

Most obedience systems rely on some kind of punishment to enforce them—be it, time outs or spanking or withholding of privileges (or even withholding smiles—I read that once!). Yet the most effective way to ensure a child behaves in a manner acceptable to you is to help that child cultivate the skill that you want to see bloom! The dynamic relationship between parent and child is what leads to greater and greater ease between them.

Today, we call this interaction “collaboration.” 

Collaboration is the value that says: “Together, we will secure a healthy, respectful relationship while developing habits that help us meet our goals.” Those goals are shared, not imposed. Obedience is too often a synonym for “coercion” rather than “glad cooperation.”

Collaboration, as a value, allows us to take into account the child as person, and our unique vantage point as parents. We can first get to know what the child needs, address that need, and then work to create the conditions of partnership to achieve our goals.

It might look something like this:
On occasion, I need to go to Target. Often, my kids are playing video games when it’s time to leave. I’ve recognized that this is a challenging transition for my kids. So I talk to them about how sometimes they will be interrupted based on my need over theirs. I’ve asked them how we can make the transition smooth, and we decided together that a five minute warning would help.

We practice the transition (no Target shopping trip about to occur). I give a fake five minute warning and we find out if it is possible to wind up games in 5 minutes. Kids give their input. “Yep, that was plenty” or “No, I need 15 minutes of warning.” More practice.

See what leads to an effective disengagement from the activity before arbitrarily creating an expectation. When the real Target-trip-moment comes, instead of expecting the kids to hop up and put away their games the moment you feel ready to leave, follow your solution: “In fifteen minutes, we’ll need to go. Now is a good time to get to a stopping place on your game.”

Usually when you’ve taken the time to be respectful of your children’s needs, they're much more willing to respect yours. It’s a dialogue. It's not solved once and for all, and it doesn’t mean perfect cooperation at all times. What collaboration provides is a two-way street—everyone aware that their behaviors impact others both adversely and positively. Negotiating how to sustain the positive is the goal.

Respect for personhood is essential. 

Just because the situation seems easy for me to solve with one idea doesn’t mean that idea works for everyone. Collaboration requires a tolerance for views that interfere with our own best ideas about the subject.

Collaboration in other areas of life builds trust and cooperation that facilitates learning in others. Collaboration brings peace. In fact, in trusting respectful relationships, kids do sometimes simply hop right up when you call them and that experience really IS pleasing to the parent.

Julie Bogart is a homeschooling alum -17 years, five kids. Now she runs Brave Writer, the online writing and language arts program for families. More>>
The Education Shakeup Continues
Major Trend: Flexibility
Local parent, author, teacher, musician and former homeschooler, Suki Wessling has consistently expressed the hope that greater flexibility would emerge as an education trend and goal coming out of the covid-19 crisis.

"This is exactly what I've been hearing from lots of parents: Not all of them are sad that they've been freed from the tyranny of school all day every day. What we need in order to serve all students' educational needs is FLEXIBILITY. I sincerely hope that school administrators are taking note of this. Some kids simply do better with a mix of options."

Flexibility seems to be gaining traction.

"Experts" are doing their research on what worked/did not work for children over the recent year of schooling. Articles abound. Nice, but these studies are not new news to parents and teachers.

Within families, parents have become very intimately involved in their children's education and delightfully/painstakingly have discovered what kinds of learning environments work or do not work for each one of their children and for their family.

Teachers on the front line have also experienced upheavals, specifically in what venue works for them as teachers. Some have learned that they thrive in the classroom and are frustrated with distance learning. Others have become good at distance-learning techniques and want to continue in that role. Some teacher-entrepreneurs have developed exciting online schools with a potpourri of fascinating mini-courses. An emerging trend among teachers is their departure for different and higher paying vocations. Will this effect a teacher shortage? Could it effect an increase in salaries?

Administrators --superintendents, principals and specialists-- are being challenged to establish teaching venues that meet a great variety of needs. Will there be increased collaboration among administrators, teachers and parents?

The shakeup continues. Will flexibility prevail? It's exciting!

Articles and Opinions
Psychologist Explains Kids Experience "Cognitive Overload" Due To Pandemic - Parents everywhere are noticing that their children are hitting the “pandemic wall,” and psychologists have an explanation. Read more > > >

NYC school encourages kids to stop using words like ‘mom,’ ‘dad’ in ‘inclusive language’ guide - Read the article > > >

Babies say "Mama" ~ Babies say "Dada"

28 Classic Children’s Books That Every Kid Should Read - Another fine list > > >

As Many Parents Fret Over Remote Learning, Some Find Their Kids Are Thriving - A positive note > > >

Hanging Upside-Down Will Calm Your Little Monkeys Down
The world is a much calmer, quieter, more peaceful place when we're upside down. We could learn a thing or two from our children. Fun read >>
Free Canning Workshop - March 18, 1pm, Join Carolyn from Homesteading Family for this FREE live training where you will actually be putting 8 jars of a healthy meal on YOUR shelves! Details
Welcome to Santa Cruz Shakespeare. We look forward to hosting you in The Grove this Summer and giving you a safe and fantastic theatrical experience! Details
Saturdays in the Soil - March 20, 10am - 12pm, Learn about local ecology, native plants, and sustainable gardening while coming together as a community. Details

Pop-Up in the Park - Missing that museum experience? Well have we got a treat for you. Swing by the Museum on Saturday, March 20 for a special Pop-Up in the Park! Details
Meet the Doulas, Saturday, Mar 20, 4-5:30pm, is a great opportunity to learn about birth and postpartum doulas. Join us at this free event for an informative afternoon. Details
Mountain Makers Market - Sat,Mar 20, 10am-5pm, Every THIRD Sunday we have a fab line up of local makers & artists coming out to sell their goods. Come take a stroll on Pacific, buy some art, grab a bite and spend your money locally where it really counts! Details
Hand in Hand Parenting Support, March 15, 12 - 1pm, Free Hand in Hand Parenting group support calls on the FIRST and THIRD Mondays of every month at 12 pm PST. You’ll receive a brief overview of Hand in Hand parenting approach and the rest of our time will be divided equally among parents who can use the time to think aloud, problem-solve, offload tension or ask questions. Details

Mount Madonna SDG Speaker Series: American Democracy, American Racism, March 18, 7-8pm, Details

School Events: Open Houses, Tours by Appointment, Virtual Tours, Online Performances. Check both March & April!
SPCA Rescue Readers: These cute, cuddly, judgment-free listeners enjoy the extra TLC while they wait for their forever homes. While we aren’t able to offer in-person Rescue Readers at this time, we are now offering it VIRTUALLY! Sign up: Details
NAMI Basics Class for Parents of Teens - Mar 23, 6 - 8pm, NAMI Santa Cruz County offers NAMI Basics, a free, 6-session education program for loved ones of teens (11-17) with mental health challenges. This series will be offered via Zoom. Students must commit to all sessions to enroll. Details
At Home in the Kitchen, Mar 24, 7pm - Highly acclaimed chef David Kinch will be in conversation with co-author Devin Fuller about At Home in the Kitchen, a collection of 120+ recipes for the unfussy dishes—from all-day eggs to 2 a.m. snacks—that the James Beard Award-winning, three-Michelin-starred chef of Manresa cooks at home, right here in Santa Cruz. Details
Boardwalk Winter Drivein Movies - Sat., Mar 20, 8pm, X-Men (2000); Sat. Mar 27, 8pm, Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery Details