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Letter from the Editor August 2011

Jenna Hammond

With summer in full swing, are your children spending more time building sand castles and being physically active than trolling the Internet? If you’re a frequent headline reader, perhaps you’ve heard that 7.5 million kids who have Facebook profiles are younger than age 13, as reported by News You Can Use on www.parentguidenews.com. Once considering this illegal, Facebook wants to open up the social networking site to children, a change that has some parents cheering and others reeling. Rather than rant about my take on this one way or the other, I encourage you to read “Online Parenting” by Tamara Schmitz in this month’s issue. It’s August. A month traditionally defined as the final hurrah before school resumes. But as Schmitz reports, many children are logging substantial face time on computers, often unbeknownst to their parents. “Cyber bullying and victimization begin as early as 2nd grade,” the author and blogger adds. And kids as young as middle school age admit to sharing sexually explicit content and personal information online.

When did show and tell become scandalous? When did being a kid mean having a dual identity, however imaginative, in a virtual setting? Do your children a favor and log time on the Internet too this summer by checking out what they’re doing online. Schmitz has the statistics and tips you’ll need to protect your kids. Maybe you can even convince your children to play outdoors and away from cell phones, MP3 players and other gear with Web browsing capability while you get a handle on how kids are connecting with everyone under the sun on the Internet.

Now you can refocus your attention on kicking back in the spirit of summer...until anxiety sets in about school resuming. To prepare without forsaking your smile, see “Back-to-School Cool” by trusted fashionista and associate editor Kayla Mossien. The fall fashion spread spotlights some of the most adorable and on-trend styles for preschoolers to elementary school students.

Next flip to “Preschool Philosophies” by Jenifer Wana. The informative article breaks down the philosophical aspects of different types of schools, such as play-based, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, academic, cooperative, religious-affiliated and language immersion models. Get the nitty-gritty on the different methods of learning styles advocated at the different schools you’re considering to see where your children will soar intellectually and socially. Our Education Directory follows the article, providing short profiles on leading preschools, private schools and afterschool programs in your area.

If you’ve taken away computer privileges not reserved for homework while at home, your kids will be thrilled at the prospect of the growing number of Web-based programs mentioned in the Education Directory available for the kiddie set. Fret not, traditionalists. The directory has plenty of amazing classic afterschool fare, including music, sports, language, drama, dance and other programs that have been developing kids’ imaginations, skills and self-esteem for years, yes, even before computers. Read about the innovations at all of the great programs before deciding what’s best for your family.

Enjoy the issue.

Jenna Hammond