Musings of a REnewed, somewhat TIred EDucator and advocate

Laurie's Newsletter                                  April 2014 
All 8 Grandkids together!
After the visit
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Dear Friends,


This newsletter celebrates just over 6 months of writing. My "retirement" has been more exhausting than I anticipated, but also more fun. I am really enjoying writing and have published over 80 pieces so far. Maybe it's time for another retirement?


Since my last newsletter, in addition to writing my ChicagoNow blog, I have been published six more times in the Huffington Post and twice in AlterNet!  My post below from AlterNet got a ton of really thoughtful comments. The one from Huffington Post is a shout out to Cherry Preschool's Inclusion Program and amazing parent community.  And my post in ChicagoNow about Frozen and why I think my grandkids (and pretty much all kids) can't "Let it Go" was my most popular post ever. Maybe I should just keep writing about this movie? 


In this month's article by my daughter, Alissa Chung, she talks about how important it is to differentiate instruction to accommodate children's unique learning styles, including children with learning disabilities and special needs. 


As always, please let me know what you think. Thank you so much for your encouragement, support, and thoughtful comments (even when we disagree!).


It's Spring (I hope)! 



P.S. If you haven't done so already, please subscribe to my blog and/or this newsletter, and/or "like me" on Facebook.  Feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested. 


Respecting Children's Unique Learning Styles
An Expert Mother & Daughter Team Reflect

"Differentiation" is the buzzword these days. It is supposedly the way to address the wide array of abilities and learning styles in a classroom. The teacher is theoretically supposed to create individualized learning experiences for 25 (or more) children, all of whom are expected to end up "meeting standards" (learning the same amount of measurable information) by the end of the year. Anyone who thinks even the most dedicated and gifted teacher can achieve this has never set foot in a classroom. Sadly, many children have teachers who are unable to do more than follow the same curriculum lockstep for every child. And sadly, many of our precious "square pegs" are definitely left behind.


In her article, my daughter, Alissa Chung, urges us to respect children's learning styles. She reminds us that, no matter what we may be able to do with science, we cannot and should not standardize development.  There will always be people with different styles and abilities, and it is this diversity that really makes the world work.  In the adult world, there are an array of careers, hobbies, and personality styles to accommodate the differences that people bring to the table.  Schools need to recognize that one size never fits all, and we all lose out when children are left to fail and struggle rather than realize their full abilities. 

 read complete article 

How Forcing Children to Read Before They're Ready Can Really Badly Backfire

From AlterNet, April 8, 2014 
Pushing kids to learn fast may rob them of the joy that was once a part of the learning process. Here's my thought about a more developmentally appropriate way to bring the joy of reading to young learners. Like adults, children will want to read about things that interest them and are in their developmental wheelhouse. They will learn more if the reading matches their natural interests and abilities. The problem occurs when curriculum more appropriate for an older child is pushed down so younger children will learn sooner and faster. Instead, how about making sure our 6-year-olds are motivated to read for the sheer joy it brings to their lives?... read more 

The Little Preschool That Could - An Inclusion Journey

From Huffington Post, March 28, 2014
At its recent fundraiser, a small school accomplished a huge feat. Almost 200 parents and staff members who attended the event donated $30,000 to support the inclusion of children with special needs at Cherry Preschool. As the preschool's recently retired founding director, I could not be prouder of this amazing school and its step by step journey to become a truly caring community that embraces the 10-12 percent of its 235 children who have special more  


Still Frozen - Why My Grandkids Just Can't Let It Go

From ChicagoNow, April 7, 2014 

I have to admit when my grandkids belted out Let It Go together, I felt quite emotional. Sure I laughed at their innocence and joy. But a part of me was moved by what I think moves them - a character they admire for her strength, honesty, love of family, power, and perseverance. Not such bad qualities to emulate.... read more

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"Faith is taking the first step when you don't see the whole staircase."

- Martin Luther King