Monday, April 30, 2018

Supporting Resilience in Children

We all know that life is full of both ups and downs.  There are days we feel extremely happy and days we feel sad.  Some days our friends and family are getting along and other days not so much. Some days we feel confident and other days worried.  We all have emotions, and though we want to save our children from the bad ones, they need these experiences in order to grow into healthy, resilient adults.  
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, resilience is defined as having an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.  Thinking about this definition, I understand that much of childhood is spent learning resilience and how important resilience is for our entire life - our social/work lives and our emotional well-being.  Through playing with other children, learning to share, and identifying feelings, children are learning resilience on a daily basis.  
Families also play a big role in forming their child's resilience and ability to cope with the world at large.  Learning from what they see, children watch parents/caregivers tackle stress and negative feelings.  By coping with setbacks in a calm way, children learn to handle problems of their own in a calm manner as well.  
In addition, by showing children unconditional love, understanding and acceptance, children learn that they are safe, secure and supported, not matter what feelings crop up in their lives.  It is through these secure relationships, that we help children understand different emotions and how to regulate them when they arise.  

Tracy Trautner, from Michigan State University Extension, recently wrote an article on the subject, which includes several suggestions for building caring relationships with children and the importance of resilience-building.   

As much as we want to build positive resilience in children, prolonged stress has the opposite effect.  If you are interested in how you can empower children to manage the stressors in their lives, consider attending the following free workshop:



The Resilience Toolbox
May 10th, 2018
6:30-8:00 p.m.

Washington Street Education Center
500 Washington Street
Chelsea, MI 48118
open to the public

Monday, April 23, 2018

Supporting Early Math Skills

When my children began school and I realized that math was being taught in a completely different way than when I was a child, I was frustrated.  Math was never my strong suite, so I always felt nervous when one of my children came home needing help with a math assignment.  Seeing as math was being taught in a new way, I also wondered if my old school ways would confuse my kids in their learning.  

Having a quick talk with my child's teacher helped put me on the same page, but I also found that one of the best ways I could support my children was to have a good attitude about math from the start.  I do privately complain (not perfect by any means), but when I am within earshot of my children, I try my best to keep a positive attitude about math.   I know they will mimic my actions and behaviors, so if they overhear me complaining about math being taught in a way I cannot understand, they will feel the same frustration and complain about doing it altogether.  If I am positive, they will be too, and I want to help keep them motivated and encouraged even when they feel challenged!

Find some fun activities to share with your child that focus on math.  This not only allows another method of teaching (which helps us parents out), but also hones in on the fun aspect of the subject - which will encourage learning.  There are several opportunities both locally and within a short driving distance that focus on math - and science - that I've listed below, as well as a few websites to get you started on ideas to try at home. 



What is S.T.E.A.M. ?  Locally, the Jackson District Library offers a S.T.E.A.M. & Stories program meant for children ages 0-5 and Super S.T.E.M. Stations daily across the county.   For a day trip, visit Impressions 5 in Lansing, MI.  

Pick up a pair of dice and check out this website full of game ideas to play with your child.  All are super fun, easy, portable, and highly educational.  

NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children)


Have fun!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Great Start Collaborative Monthly Meetings!

Since 2006, the Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County, has been working to ensure children
within our community are born healthy, ready to succeed when entering kindergarten, and are reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

Do you want to help make a difference in our children's lives and future outlook?  Do you have ideas for improving early childhood outcomes?  Then the Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County needs you!  The more voices we have, the stronger our impact in Jackson County will be.  We have several committees that meet monthly - with descriptions listed below.  


Great Start School Readiness - It takes a community to ensure children are ready to enter school.  This group, made up of teachers, parents, volunteer and social service agency members, meets to discuss social-emotional, physical, and academic topics of school readiness.  Input and guidance regarding community services designed to improve readiness in all areas in encouraged!  

Meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday
Next meeting:  May 16th, 2:00-3:00 PM

Great Start Family Support - Made up of parents, community service agency members, and educators, this group meets to develop a plan that ensures parents have access to resources, training's, and all other information needed to provide for the needs of their children.

Meets monthly on the 2nd Thursday
Next meeting: May 10th, 1:00-2:00 PM


Please visit our calendar for more the most accurate location information and future meeting dates!  Hope to see you!





Wednesday, April 11, 2018

STEM activities at playgroups

Thank you to the Jackson District Library! 

They are providing STEM activities to our little ones at playgroups!  The first series is all about exploring how our bodies work.  

Check out these fun activities during an upcoming playgroup!

My Body:
Monday, April 9 - 10 am - Brooklyn
Thursday, April 12 - 10 am - Parma
Monday, April 16 - 10 am - JDL East
Friday, April 20 - 10 am - Baker College
Friday, May 11 - 10 am - JDL Carnegie

Construction and Building:
Monday, May 23 - 10 am - Brooklyn
Thursday, May 26 - 10 am - Parma
Friday, May 4 - 1 pm - Baker College
Monday, May 7 - 10 am - JDL East

Visit the Jackson Playgroups Facebook page for all of the dates, times, and locations for 2018:


Here is a little one enjoying some of the STEM activities on My Body:



Monthly Meetups for Breastfeeding Mothers

Breastfeeding is a simple and natural process, but you may need support and information on how to get started and for overcoming any difficulties that may occur. Together with other women who have had experience breastfeeding their babies, the La Leche League of Jackson is here to help you! 

At the La Leche League monthly meetings, you will network with other mothers and learn about topics such as: correct positioning of the baby at the breast, working and breastfeeding, and avoiding problems.  During meetings mothers share their questions, concerns, advice, and joys.  

Meetings and any help received from La Leche League leaders are free of charge, and babies are always welcome.  Mark your calendars for these upcoming classes!

The Advantages of Breastfeeding
Monday, May 14, 2018   7:00 pm

The Birth of Your Baby and Baby's First Weeks  
Monday, June 11, 2018 7:00 pm

The Art of Breastfeeding and Avoiding Difficulties
Monday, July 9, 2018 7:00 pm

Breastfeeding Beyond
Monday, August 13, 2018 7:00 pm


All meetings are held at First Presbyterian Church, 743 W. Michigan Avenue, Jackson 49201

Please park in the lot behind the church and enter the door at the bottom of the driveway.  Follow the signs up the stairs.  Meetings are held in the Westminster Room.  

If you have a breastfeeding question, call any of the following La Leche League Leader(s):

Jessica 795-0129
Katie 812-3280
Melissa 740-7797
Nancy 787-2814

Monday, April 9, 2018

Great Start Families Book Drive!!



Keep Jackson kiddos reading this summer!!!

Make sure this years Spring Cleaning includes the kids bookshelves!  Great Start Families is getting ready to sponsor a Book Drive to benefit Pop Up Reading events this summer and numerous Little Free Libraries and we need your help!

Help us keep books free and easily accessible for every child to enjoy. Please contact Jennifer Ganzel at (517) 745-9544 to donate new or gently used children's books.    

 You can also drop books off at:

Jackson County Intermediate School District (JCISD)
Parking Lot A Main Entrance
6700 Browns Lake Road
Jackson, MI 49201

Stay tuned for more book drop off sites
 or call/text Jennifer at 
517-745-9544 today!