Playing with Toys

Mention the word potty training and it's likely to elicit the same response in children and parents alike: why bother?

For toddlers, taking the time to go to the bathroom is just another distraction from playtime. For parents, it means dropping everything at the most inopportune times and rushing to the bathroom to ensure an untimely “accident” doesn't occur.

At least diapers allow parents to contain the pee-pee or poo-poo until they're good and ready to deal with it. Eventually, however, everyone has to take the plunge

Picnic After Camping

For parents of preschoolers, thinking about the summer months can spark moments of sheer panic.

Working parents may worry about who will watch their child once school lets out. Stay-at-home parents may blanch at the thought of finding activities to keep kids entertained every day.

Luckily, there are plenty of summer camp options to keep your 3- to 5-year-old engaged and educated. The trick is finding a program that works for them, registering early and giving them the confidence to strike out on their own.

San Anselmo mom Kelly Krill is experiencing a frustrating dilemma shared by many parents: Is her son ready for kindergarten?

Her son's preschool teacher suggests he wait another year and instead enroll in a Pre-K class, but Krill balks at paying more than $1,000 a month to cover the cost. Plus, she's not quite convinced he needs another year in preschool.

On the other hand ...

Kids with Backpacks

When Lydie Thomas was first told her daughter needed to repeat first grade she was embarrassed and even a little ashamed.

“Everybody was going to second grade, and I felt like I failed,” says the Alameda mom. “I thought I should've seen it coming.”

Born in late-November, Thomas' daughter, Thais, was pushing the Dec. 2 eligibility deadline of turning 5 years old before entering kindergarten. Still, Thomas felt her daughter was ready. When Thais' kindergarten teacher later warned that ...

Field Trip in Nature

Remember the excitement you felt as a kid going on a school field trip? The whole process, from ferrying the precious parent approval form safely to school to scurrying to get the "best" seat on the bus, was one I looked forward to for months.

These days, our kids aren’t so lucky. The persistent march of state education budget cuts has rung the death knell for many field trips across local school districts. 

Plus, stricter school accountability measures mean that teachers have to squeeze even more instruction time into each day, leaving little room for extra activities.

Plant Watering

It wasn't that long ago when urban critics bemoaned the idea that children were clueless about where milk really came from.

Today, local Bay Area schools have fought back with a growing array of “green” enrichment programs to teach children about their relationship with Mother Earth.

“There's been a definite increase in the number of in-school and out-of-school programs that are focusing on environmental themes,” says Carolie Sly, education program director for the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley.


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