Monday, November 21, 2011

Subway Art

I recently discovered subway art while messing around on Pinterest and I love it! My favorite subway art prints are those created by Jamie at Eighteen25. I have printed out all of her free prints! They are almost all centered around holidays. Of course, there were none for Sinterklaas. I really wanted one so I figured out how to make one myself! Here it is:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Help save Kiefer's school: The Little Red Schoolhouse

Although I am extremely busy at work, with the kids and my dissertation, I have made time to help save Kiefer's pre-school. It is an amazing program -- Kiefer loves it and so do I. Amherst College, where "Little Red" is located, is kicking the program out of the beautiful brick building that was built in 1937 specifically for the pre-school and has housed it continuously since. A group of parents has formed the "Little Red Schoolhouse Preservation Committee" and we're in the process of helping the staff find a location for the program to continue in coming years. We're also working to make sure the program can keep its endowment, which is critical to keeping Little Red affordable. Amherst College plans to take the endowment and absorb it into their general endowment. I could go on and on, but I won't. Instead, I have copied and pasted the letter the Little Red Schoolhouse Preservation Committee has sent to various media sources.

In the midst of numerous articles and op-ed pieces hailing the importance of early childhood education, we would like to ask why a long-established and successful early childhood program is losing the endowment given in 1940 that was directed towards supporting the Amherst Day School. Effective June 30, 2012, Amherst College will sever all ties with a 75 year old early childhood education program, more commonly known as the Little Red Schoolhouse. An on-campus institution since the late 1930’s, Amherst College is abandoning its stewardship of a longstanding community program; its assets – including an endowment and a vintage schoolhouse building, both of which were specifically designated to sustain this childhood education program – will simply be absorbed by Amherst College in the name of progress.

In a letter written in 1947, Amherst College President Stanley King, clarifies the College’s commitment to the preschool program:

The fact that the school is open to the children of the town as well as to children of the Amherst faculty is a recognition of the fundamental fact that the College is tax-exempt in the town and may wisely therefore make some return to the town. These facts I think should always be borne in mind in considering the Day School in its relation to the College.

For 75 years, the Little Red Schoolhouse program has been an example of Amherst College’s commitment to the local community: accessible and affordable high quality early childhood education in lieu of taxes. Amherst College’s refusal to support the preschool program or assist in the transition off campus contradicts the recognized importance of early childhood education and undermines the College’s commitment to the Amherst community. If the College eliminates endowment funding for this significant program, the community, children, and Amherst College will suffer a tremendous loss.

Little Red Schoolhouse Preservation Committee

You can help by signing the petition! Thanks!

Friday, November 4, 2011

October Snow

The meterologists were predicting snow for Saturday, October 29, but I didn't pay too close attention. I figured we would get a couple of inches. Sure. It is early for snow, but it's New England and snow isn't anything to be afraid of. Right? Wrong.

On Saturday morning, we went out to breakfast with my parents, and then to the Berkshire Brewing Company tour in Deerfield, where we sampled some delicious beer. Then, after a quick trip to Yankee Candle, we emerged from the store to find it had started snowing. Kiefer was as excited as only a kid can be about snow. When we got home, he wanted to go outside. It was amazing how quickly it accumulated. We suited Saskia up, too, so she could check it out.

Just after 8 pm, minutes after Kiefer went to bed, we lost power. The following morning, there was still no power. Kiefer didn't care. He kept bugging me to go out in the 9 inches of snow. So out he and I went. We shoveled our deck and went sledding. Even though Kiefer wasn't a fan of the snow when he was her age, I asked Roel to get Saskia in her snowpants and jacket and took her sledding. She was grinning ear to ear each time we went down the hill!

We did manage to make a roast chicken for dinner that night by cooking it on our gas grill. We prepared stuffing, mashed potatoes and butternut squash on our gas stove. We also boiled water for baths and washing dishes in a huge canning pot. The local schools, including UMass were closed on Monday. While we got 9 inches of snow, Amherst and Hadley got about 15 and it was wetter and heavier than the snow we got. All of this wet, heavy snow on trees that still had their leaves, caused many branches and trees to snap and fall on powerlines.

On Tuesday, when UMass re-opened and I headed to work, I could believe what all the downed trees and branches on campus and around town. We got our power back late Monday afternoon, but many of my colleagues were without power for days. Some people, almost a week later, are still without power!

The situation was so dire, Greenfield and other towns postponed trick-or-treating until this weekend! Kiefer was so excited for trick-or-treating we went out on Halloween anyway, but only a few houses were handing out candy. We'll go out again on Saturday. How strange to go trick-or-treating in November!