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Where are the Girls? Grace for President

Where are the Girls!

I had a nice little surprise last week when a found a Cobble Hill Playschool shout-out in

In a previous Carol’s Wall, I wrote about this book.   A lesson I taught many years ago allowed a real little girl to decide to right a wrong and become the first woman President.  This moment in time became the catalyst to create the children’s book, GRACE FOR PRESIDENT.

The first pages of the book portray the event that sparked it all as it really happened.  It was an election year and I was in the classroom at CHP talking about the President. I showed the children a poster of the presidents and asked them to count the girls.  The children counted every president in a white wig.  When I explained that they were not girls but boys, they were shocked. 

Grace was a preschooler who was genuine about her path in life. Until the day she left CHP, she was determined to be our first woman President.  I read that as a young child, Frank Lloyd Wright planned to be an architect. Jane Goodall had big dreams too, dreams to work with apes in Africa. Little children can have big dreams and I remember that each day I walk into the classroom.

Now at age 16, Grace no longer wants to be the president.  But Grace has spunk and will surely follow her current dreams  -- to be a forensic pathologist, book store owner, or if she changes her mind, maybe even the President. 

It is amazing to think that over ten years after this teaching moment, this book was published. Nice to know that GRACE FOR PRESIDENT is still in the news. I am so glad for that!

We are all Alike. We are all Different. We are all Team CHP!

The school year begins and here is a sneak-peek of the curriculum unit:

We are all Alike. We are all Different. We are all Team CHP!

How did I arrive at this year’s unit? I spoke with our students. Our program is tailored to the interests of the children; inquiry drives the learning process. We focus on a child-generated theme which allows as much student-centered inquiry as possible. We follow our students’ lead and within the context of their interests, infuse developmentally appropriate literacy, math, science, music, art and drama concepts related to the unit concept.

This year’s unit selection began near the end of school year 2014-15 when I invited small groups of interested students into my office to chat. I asked them if there was anything more they could learn about at school. I listened carefully, keeping in mind that the suggestions not only needed to interest preschoolers but be broad enough to encompass a spectrum of learning in all the disciplines.

During my student meetings, there were many ideas. To my delight, teamwork was one of the suggestions. The actual suggestions were, “TEAMWORK!” and  “Yes, and superheroes…and the Caribbean!”

I was so delighted with these suggestions because during my first years at CHP, I became acquainted with “The Feel Better Team.” My first experience with the team was on the playground.  A classmate had tripped and was crying. It was then I heard another cry… “Feel Better Team, to the rescue!”  A group of five students made up the self-appointed team.  They ran to the classmate and asked if he was alright. The team of girls and boys gave him a big hug.  After experiencing this, the staff jumped right onto the “Feel Better Team” wagon and it generated many wonderful classroom activities. The “Feel Better Team” gained members daily who were always there to help a friend in need. When the team offered their support it was magic! 

Everyone is part of our team at CHP and the beautiful thing about a team is that it is made up of individuals.

This year, we will talk about how we are alike and how we are different and we will celebrate it all. We will discover many things about our friends and families. What do you like to do? How do you spend time with your family? Who is on your team--friends, parents and grandparents, neighbors, teachers and pets?  Who are your heroes and superheroes?  So many questions, so many possibilities!

Just thinking about this unit, makes me break into a song I was taught by a child at CHP. It’s from the LEGO movie!

Everything is awesome, Everything is cool when you are part of a team.  Everything is awesome!

It is going to be a great year!

Around the Table


If you have visited my wall you may have read an old post about my attending a TED conference and my singing the praises of TED Talks. I am a huge fan! 

This post is based on the writings of 2015 TED Prize winner and StoryCorps founder Dave Isay.  It was posted last Thanksgiving as an exercise to deepen the ties between family and friends around the dinner table. When I recently came across this, I decided to ask these questions to my husband and what a surprise. I learned so many things I never knew about my partner of thirty-one years!

So, why am I posting this on Carol’s Wall?  Please know that I am not recommending asking these questions to your child!  I am sharing this with you because what struck me about this post is that I do not think I ever thought about questions like these when I was raising my children.     I can remember trying to instill lessons about life, good character development, the value of hard work and trying my best to make them happy. I never thought about how my parenting would impact their lives in the long run.

In retrospect, I think if I thought more about these questions, I may have been a bit more in the moment. What I remember about my child rearing was that I was often so busy playing catch-up.  There are little do-overs in life.  It would have been helpful during these years to be more aware of the things I was grateful for, proud of, what I learned from my mistakes (sharing that grown-ups make mistakes is so important!) and spoke with my children about them.

I share these questions with you now as an opportunity. Although our lives are so hectic and filled with work and chores and activities, keeping these in mind might help you to stay in the moment.  How do YOU want to be remembered?


What are you grateful for?
What are you proudest of?
What’s been the happiest moment of your life so far?
What’s been the hardest moment of your life, and how did you get through it?
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
How would you describe yourself as a child? Were you happy?
Who has been kindest to you?
How do you want to be remembered?
If your great great-grandchildren could listen to this years from now: Is there any wisdom you’d want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know?
If you could honor one person in your life — living or dead — by listening to their story, who would that be; what would you ask them and why?

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