Thursday, August 28, 2008
More festivals coming up. This weekend is the Salt Lake American Muslim cultural festival (Aug. 30 & 31st from 3 to 8 p.m. at Washington Square). More info here: http://www.saltlakeamericanmuslim.com/culture_fest.html
The IndiaFest at the Krishna Temple is a nice day trip kind of festival that I hope we can make it to (our one and only family car is giving us some grief lately). That's happening on September 13th starting at 4 p.m. at 8628 S. Main in Spanish Fork: www.utahkrishnas.com
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
About the Samson Chivatsi African Children’s Appeal
The Samson Chivatsi African Childrens Appeal was established in 1998 by Maureen and Ian McIntyre, after visiting a school whilst on holiday in Kenya . They were so affected by the poverty, poor health and lack of facilities at the school that, on returning to Scotland , Maureen set up the charity and sponsorship program to give the poorest children access to a good education in the area of Utange, near Mombasa . The charity was named after the first child that Maureen and Ian sponsored. For more information regarding the Samson Chivatsi Charity or The Singing www.educatethekids.com or www.singchildrenofafrica.org or email Maureen McIntyre at Maureen@educatethekids.com. Choir visitNot sure about cost -- looks to be a donations accepted type of event.
This year Ring Around the Rose will feature Brazilian Dance with Samba Gringa, Dance from Ballet West, Repertory Dance Theatre and Tanner Dance Theatre, a interactive performance with Utah Opera, a performance by actors involved with Youth Theatre at the U., a magic show, African Drumming and a performance by "Partch", which is described as "weird and wonderful muisc played on instruments he (Harry Partch) invented himself."
There are nine performances in all from September through May, and if you buy tickets to six or more of the shows as a season package, the tickets are only $4 a piece.
More info can be found at http://www.rdtutah.org/forkids.html
Friday, August 15, 2008
So I was thrilled when the excellent optional, public school program my eldest daughter was enrolled in became a charter school and added 7th and 8th grades to the kindergarten through 6th grade that they already had.
The Open Classroom, which had been around since 1977, has a strong emphasis on community. They believe in working out issues as a part of the learning process. Bullying at the O.C. is rare and usually caught early on and worked through as part of the community experience. I also get to know the kids who are friends with my daughter, and often their parents as well.
An added bonus, last year we started a whole new kind of lunch program, one that includes a lot of healthy, fresh and whole foods. Salt Lake City Weekly named it the best school lunch in their Best of Utah edition.
This will be our 9th year in the O.C. -- the last year for my 8th grader. Next year, my youngest daughter will go to kindergarten at the O.C. (there usually is a waiting list for the younger grades, so it's not certain). I basically can't say enough good things about this program, and as much as my older daughter has benefitted from it, I think my younger one will benefit even more.
In an effort to let other Salt Lakers know about this wonderful program, I'm publishing some of the latest promotional info on this blog:
With the Open Classroom now entering its second year as an official district charter school and its third year after forming an "Upper House" of 5th through 8th-graders, I can see the tremendous progress that has been made in this development, even as the framework from the old K-6 model remains vital and in place. The philosophy has stayed the same--the commitment to embracing and teaching to the individual while at the same time building a community around that individual. That basic respect that everyone is offered has not diminished one bit, nor has the framework that allows creativity and problem-solving to flourish, encouraging an ever-evolving curriculum and active involvement among the community. Some things on the surface may change, like course offerings or scheduling, and this is something we considered seriously,
but in the end, the more important criteria became "Will my child be able to develop his talents and will he feel good about the person he is becoming during the most emotionally challenging years of his education?"
In most middle schools, a child may have seven teachers, and they may be very caring, committed teachers, but the child is not guaranteed that one of those teachers will make sure he/she doesn't slip through the cracks. We've all heard that an at-risk child can be saved by one caring adult. At the OC, this is not left to the good will of the teachers or to the oversight of an overburdened . Even in the middle school grades, each child has a and cohort of students--their "home base" at the beginning and end of school each day. As a parent, I can trust that not only do my children have the support of that homeroom teacher, but also of all the other upper house teachers. I have seen countless examples of the kind of individualized attention and collaboration among their teachers that I think is rare to unheard of in a middle school environment.
What happens when you get a whole body of people moving according to these principles and practices? You get to see what I saw at the annual air guitar assembly, where kids who might blend into the background at a normal middle school performed, rockin' and rollin' with a fluidity and sense of confidence that some of them never would have found. You get to see children who experiment with make-up and wild clothing slowly shedding the protective disguise to reveal their genuine selves. You get to see your own child demonstrate patience and compassion with a younger child, as he reads to him, teaches him the rules of 4-square on the playground, or helps him transition to the next grade.
But you only get to see these things if you show up. So yes, my child will show up to seventh grade at the Open Classroom next year, and so will I.
Karen Salas Wheeler, parent