Thursday, June 14, 2018

FREE Summer S.T.E.A.M. Programs


The Girls Scouts Heart of Michigan is hosting FREE summer S.T.E.A.M. (Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Math) programs this summer.  These programs are open to all girls in Jackson County entering kindergarten through 6th grade in the fall of 2018.  Girls DO NOT need to be a Girl Scout to attend!


Join us at the following locations, (No programs July 2nd-July 6th):

Jackson District Library Carnegie Branch Auditorium — Mondays, 1:30-2:15pm
Ridgewood Vista Apartments — Wednesdays, Noon-1;00pm
Warner Elementary School — Thursdays, 11:00am-Noon
Ashton Ridge Apartments Clubhouse — Thursdays, 1:00-2:00pm



Please RSVP to Laurie Skrzynski at (517) 784-8543 or LSkrzynski@gshom.org


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Little Free Libraries coming to a neighborhood near you!

The Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County was recently awarded a grant through Consumers Energy to support literacy in our community.  We are excited to include Little Free Libraries in the work to support and help prepare children and families be prepared for kindergarten and school success beyond!

Reading out loud with young children as early as infancy is a wonderful activity that keeps us close and can be continued for years and generations to come.  Research shows reading to a child creates important brain stimulation and engages areas of the brain and help babies form connections and mental imagery.  Children start to learn communication and concepts of numbers, letters, colors and shapes and while having fun they build listening, memory and vocabulary skills.

Great Start Families had a wonderfully successful book drive in May to support the libraries and other literacy events on the way.  To learn more about where families would like to see a Little Free Library we have been working with parents in our play groups and MOPS and we have connected with the Jackson Mayor to learn and talk more about the Little Free Libraries he had worked on.

Locations that are set to receive one of the grant funded libraries are Family Services and Children's Aid, Department of Health and Human Services, The Jackson County Health Department and the Falling Waters walking path.

If you have an idea about a good location for a Little Free Library, please comment below and share your idea.  Any location within Jackson County is welcome and rural community locations where the libraries can be accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week are terrific!


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Growing Families

Having a new baby is an exciting time for the entire family.  Children awaiting the birth of their new baby brother or sister will watch in wonder as your belly grows, find happiness "talking" to their new sibling through your belly, giving your belly kisses, and feeling baby move.  Seeing and holding the new baby for the first time is also exciting for all involved - especially for the older children who finally get to meet their new sibling.
After a few weeks, though, you may quickly notice the happy feelings in your older children fade and replaced with resentment.  The new baby cries, wakes up in the middle of the night, and demands your attention.  Mom and dad are now being shared, and that can feel unfair to other children in the home.  You may find older siblings upset, acting out, and clingy.  How can you help?


1.  Listen.  Listening to your child is one of the best ways to reconnect and ease the stress associated with this new situation.  Try not to problem solve.  Just be open to all that they want to communicate.  Even when they are mad, validate their anger - say, "I can tell you are angry!" This will make them feel open to talking about their feelings.  Listening shows empathy and understanding, and this will make your child feel loved and safe.

2.  Special Time.  Yes, you are busy with a new baby in the house!  Special time doesn't mean planning a trip to Chuck E. Cheese or any other extravaganza.  Simply spend 10-15 minutes a day giving undivided attention to each of the older children in your life.  You can read books, cuddle on the couch and talk, or get on the floor and play.  Let them be the guide!  

3. Hug.  Everyone loves a hug! Anytime you hug, squeeze, pat, or hold hands with your child, you are displaying your love!

4.  Assign Tasks.  If you child is old enough, give them the role of helper with the new baby.  They can pack the diaper bag, grab a burp cloth when you need it, pick out an outfit for baby to wear, or simply sit with baby.  Thank your child for his/her help - no matter how small the task was or even if they goofed!  

5. Read Books.  There are many great options for parents to read children before and after the new baby arrives. Visit here for a great list provided by CS Mott Children's Hospital. You will also find other great tips for welcoming a new baby into your home!