Special Section to: The Valley Gazette

Kids World
FALL 2012
The Stratford Star

The Herald


The Milford Mirror


The Trumbull Times


Fairfield Sun


The Monroe Courier


The Easton Courier

Autumn hikes for your heart, soul and soles
By Julie Butler
Connecticut is breathtaking in autumn. And while driving around leaf peeping is all fine and good, getting out into the weather, breathing in the crisp air, and taking a long walk or hike is an even better way to take in the colors of the season. Outdoor hiking has a myriad of benefits for both the body and the mind. It’s an all body, aerobic exercise that can improve overall physical fitness, using leg muscles, core body muscles, and lungs. You set the pace and length that is a comfortable challenge for your body. The psychological effects of spending time in natural surroundings is positive and strong. Hiking is inexpensive and easy to start, so you can participate no matter how fit you currently are, and it is always a great idea to get the kids out and from under the wealth of technology that tends to suck them in and keep them sedentary and in the house. REI, the outdoor gear and clothing store chain, offers the following tips for hiking with kids that they say they have heard repeatedly. Among them are: • Bring plenty of snacks. • When starting, hike short distances and commit to traveling at a child’s pace. • Let your kids invite a friend along. (Adults become boring. Peers are cool.) • Let kids participate in hike-planning. • Emphasize fun: play games, look for treasure, try geocaching. • Seriously, bring lots of snacks and stop often to let kids scarf them down. Most of us in Fairfield County live within driving distance of wonderful hiking spots. So come on — and take a hike! - Aspetuck Land Trust (which was founded in 1966 to preserve open space in the towns of Westport, Weston, Fairfield and Easton), offers numerous educational and specialty hikes for adults and children that are open to everyone and offer a great way to explore and learn more about the diversity of the more than 1,700 acres of open space in our community.

Happy trails

See Happy Trails on page 11

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• Kids World • Hersam Acorn Newspapers •

• August 30, 2012 •

Good Star t & Backpack giveback
Local programs providing supplies for schools
By Melissa Ezarik
Doesn’t every child, even one whose family is struggling financially, deserve new gear for the school year? Starting off with inadequate school supplies puts kids at a disadvantage right from the first day of school. Just imagine the hope that shiny new backpacks, pens and pencils boxes, markers and crayons, rulers, index cards, lunch boxes, construction paper, tape and glue, a calculator, spiral notebooks, and more can provide instead. “It makes them feel good. They can actually go back with something,” said Raymond O’Donnell, the adult and youth program director and coordinator of the Good Start program at Sterling House Community Center in Stratford. For nearly a decade, the Good Start back to school supply program has served families in need, and it has grown to give away 300 backpacks to town residents during each of the past few years, O’Donnell shared. He estimates that about 70% of the backpacks and supplies are purchased by Sterling House, with grant money from various organizations and donations from local companies and churches. Individuals also donate both items and the backpacks themselves, sometimes bringing down backpacks that are already filled. O’Donnell said with sales at stores such as Walmart and Walgreen’s, the supplies themselves are very inexpensive, making donating to the cause accessible for many in the community who want to help. “Whatever they can donate is greatly appreciated,” he said. “It’s a community effort, so everybody gets involved.” Teams of volunteers — from corporate employees to Girl Scout troops — handle the majority of the bag stuffing. Backpack Giveback That’s the case for the Backpack Giveback program organized by WEBE108, WICC600 and St. Vincent’s Medical Center, as well. This year, students from the physician’s assistant program at the University of Bridgeport have volunteered to stuff the approximately 1,000 backpacks being given away. “We’re happy that our voice is widely heard and can spark motivation within the community to help others. We have the resources to facilitate the support and connect the need with a solution,” said Alissa Balouskus, promotions director for the two stations. The number of backpacks per year is typically around 2,000; the first year, close to 4,000 backpacks were distributed. Churches, Boys & Girls Clubs, The Salvation Army, and other local organizations request the backpacks, and the organizers determine the final list of recipients based on the request amount and the organization’s mission. “For those requests we can’t fulfill, we match the organizations with others who contact us, who have items and/or backpacks to donate,” Balouskus said. So as you wrap-up your shopping for your own children, consider how you might also help others in the community get off to a good start.

WEBE 108’s DJ Storm N Norman, with happy recipients of new backpacks.

Wonder Years Learning Center
Discover the WONDER of Learning

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~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Infant Toddler Preschool ~ Pre-K Summer Camp Before & After School
Quality & Affordable Child Care Programs

203-929-0708 188 Rocky Rest Road Shelton, CT 06848

email: wonder_years@sbcglobal.net


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Seeks to foster the physical, educational, spiritual, emotional and social development of persons with disabilities so they may play, learn, work and live in the community.

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St. Vincent's Special Needs Services (SVSNS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves approximately 400 children and adults with highly complex developmental and medical disabilities, such as

Birth-to-3 SVSNS provides early intervention services to children from birth to age three years old who have been identified as having special developmental needs. The School The FEROLETO Children's Development Center in Trumbull is an alternative school for children ages 3 to 21 who have significant developmental or medical disabilities. The school provides yearround education and therapeutic services to meet each child's needs. Adult Day Services The CHANGING IMAGES Day Programs in Stratford and Norwalk engage adults in recreational, educational, social and work activities and stimulating experiences in the Centers and in the community. Residential Services Our 12 group homes located around Fairfield County are specifically designed and staffed to meet the unique requirements and comfort of each resident.

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cerebral palsy, acute brain injury, and neuromuscular disorders.


95 Merritt Blvd. Trumbull, CT (203) 375-6400


• August 30, 2012 •

• Kids World • Hersam Acorn Newspapers •


Pumpkin picking time!
Jones Family Farms readies for pumpkin season
In 1985, the first pumpkins were sold by Terry and Jean Jones, of Jones Family Farms, at their Pumpkinseed Hill farm on Beardsley Road in Shelton. More than 25 years later, spending a fall afternoon at the farm remains a tradition for many Connecticut families. The farmers at Jones grow and harvest more than 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds. People from all over Connecticut, New England and New York make the trek to share the view and harvest every fall. “We enjoy celebrating the hard work of an autumn harvest, knowing that the products we sell are ‘Jones Grown’ —they come from our own farm,” said Jamie Jones, sixth generation farmer and winemaker. “We also like that our farm is a welcoming place for families to come enjoy quality time and make some memories.” Looking at Jones Family Farms’ Facebook page (facebook.com/JonesFamilyFarms) it is evident that families enjoy that, too. The farmers also receive many requests for recipes to use with pumpkins and squash. Jones Family Farms prides themselves on growing dozens of varieties of squash, including the ever-popular butternut, delicata, acornand spaghetti squash. “Buying local squash in the fall is a great way to eat locally throughout the winter. There are so many healthy and delicious comfort foods that feature squash and we have tons of recipes we’re excited to share,” said Jean Crum Jones, who runs the farm’s Harvest Kitchen Cooking Studio that offers many cooking classes through the year. Over the years, the farm has themed their fall harvest yard around family-friendly genres. Fans have gone on the hayrides, toured the corn maze, tasted the fresh-baked cookies or danced on the stage while being surrounded by the worlds of Kings & Queens, Childhood Games, The Land of Oz, Fairy Tales, Nautical Connecticut, the Circus and more. Families love coming to pose in front of many of the photo-ops year after year. They also enjoy the games and entertainment during the annual UNICEF festival the farm hosts the last weekend before Halloween. Over the years, the Jones family has been able to raise more than $100,000 for UNICEF . Pumpkinseed Hill is a part of Jones Family Farms and Winery. It is located at 120 Beardsley Road in Shelton, off Route 110, five miles north of Shelton Center and two miles south of the junction of Route 110 and 111 in Monroe. The fall harvest season goes from the last weekend in September through Oct. 31 and is open daily 10-5:30 p.m. More info: Farmer Jones hotline at 203- 9298425, jonesfamilyfarms.com

Where to go
• Blue Jay Orchards; 125 Plumtrees Road, Bethel, 203-748-0119: pumpkins, pick-your-own apples, pumpkin patch/ pick in the field, pumpkin patch/ already gathered from the field, tractor-pulled hay rides, honey from hives on the farm, cider mill (fresh apple cider made on the premises). Crops are usually available in August, September, October and November. Open August to Thanksgiving, seven days a week, from 10 -5:30. Pick-your-own hours are seven days a week from 10-5. Pick-your-own apples is from late August to early November (based on picking conditions); pumpkins start the last weekend of September and run through the month of October. Hayrides to the pumpkin patch are weekends only. • Jones Family Farms (Pumpkinseed Hill Farm); 120 Beardsley Road, Shelton, 203-929-8425: pumpkins, pumpkin patch, hayrides. Open from 10 -5:30. • McLaughlin Vineyards; 14 Albert’s Hill Road, Sandy Hook, 203-426-1533: pumpkin picking and hayrides available starting in October. Hours 11-5 daily. • Paproski’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze at Castle Hill; 40 Sugar Lane, Newtown, 203-426-5487: pumpkin patch/ pick in the field, pumpkin patch/already gathered from the field, corn maze, straw or hay bale maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, pony rides, and petting zoo. Opens Columbus Day. • Plaskos Farm; 670 Daniels Farm Road, Trumbull, 203-268-2716: “Crazy Cows Corn Maze” open from September and October. Hours Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10 to dusk and Fridays 3 to dusk. • Silverman’s Farm; 451 Sport Hill Road, Easton, 203-261-3306: pumpkin patch, tractor-pulled hay rides, pick-your-own apples, gift shop, snacks and refreshment stand, petting zoo, and farm animals. Open seven days a week, weather permitting. • Warrup’s Farm; 51 John Read Road, West Redding, 203-938-9403: pumpkins. Farm stand open Tuesday through Sunday 10-6, July to October.

There are more than 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds at Jones Family Farms.

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• Kids World • Hersam Acorn Newspapers •

• August 30, 2012 •

New faces and programs at the Performing Ar ts Center of Connecticut
What is making the Peforming Arts Center of Connecticut’s alumni return to their studio? Answer: The Process, a new pre-professional hip hop company under the artistic direction of Manwe SaulsAddisons. In addition to technique classes, choreography sessions and rehearsals, these 20 dancers, ages 16 to 26, will perform at professional venues in the tri-state area and work with special guests such as Jessica Castro, choreographer for the Black Eye Peas, and Jennifer Lopez. After having a successful dance career, Sauls-Addisons wanted to create a program that would impart to his students technique and all the skills necessary to make it as a professional in a very competitive and fast changing industry. Recently during classes, auditions and casting sessions, he began to notice issues with our next generation of dancers. It seemed to him that because of all the attention dance has been given recently on TV shows and movies, that today’s dancers want/expect instant success. “This isn’t the way it happens,” he said. “Dancers need discipline, a great work ethic and respect for the craft. I want to teach the reality of what a dancer’s life is truly all about.” Sauls-Addisons’ goal at PACC is to prepare these young dancers to work in the industry; he will also be teaching hip hop and contemporary classes. In addition to PACC’s dance company, In Motion, CORPS Ballet Ensembles, dance classes, musical theater workshops, voice lessons, music lessons, and acting classes, this year PACC welcomes Rob DeRosa to their staff and a new acting program open to high school students called Performance Workshop. DeRosa brings his many years of experience to this new workshop that will meet twice a week for eight weeks. Students will study Meisner acting technique while also preparing a play that will culminate this experience and be performed at the facility’s black box theater. PACC, located at 18 Linderman Drive in “Princess Grace Award winners exemplify both classical and experimental artistic disciplines. While still considered emerging talent, they already show exceptional promise in their areas of expertise,” said LaChioma. “Raymond learned not only dance at PACC, but how important sharing what you have learned with others is,” she said. “He regularly comes back and each year choreographs a piece for young dancers in hopes of sharing his love of the art and allowing them to understand that anything is possible”. PACC continues to support their community. They perform annually for breast cancer at Swim Across the Sound and Positively Pink, Dancers Responding to AIDS, Yale New Haven’s Childrens Hospital, Connecticut Special Olympics, and their own college Performing Arts Scholarship fund. This year, PACC lends their support to a new foundation, Love Life!, in partnership with Sacred Heart University, St. Vincent’s Hospital and Love Life. On Sunday, Sept. 23, PACC will hold auditions for their fifth annual “A Winter Ballet,” which will be held at SHU’s Edgerton Center for the Arts to benefit the Love Life Foundation. The ballet features original holiday choreography for students inside and outside of PACC. Within the walls of their 13,000 square foot performance center, which houses five dance studios, a black box theater, two lobbies, student kitchen and homework areas, a professional costume shop, music, voice and acting studios, you will also find students, faculty, staff and families who consider PACC a second home. “It’s hard to sum up a place that is invested in all its students, still believes in family values and teaches that the love of doing something you enjoy should be encouraged and nurtured and then shared with others to better your community,” LaChioma said. More info: 203-372-2787 or visit pacofct.com

Trumbull under the direction of Catherine LaChioma, is dedicated to providing all of its students with a holistic education in the performing arts. Their resident faculty not only hold degrees in their areas of expertise, but “bring passion and professionalism to their students,” LaChioma said. The goal of Adam Holms, director of ballet education, and Nikole LaChioma, artistic director, is to allow each student to realize their full potential, allowing them to appreciate what makes them unique and to encourage their personal artistic expression and education. PACC’s commitment to the arts and their community goes hand-in-hand with developing each student’s talent. Each year, PACC supports its students and families — they have given more than $600,000 in scholarships in the past nine years to them. One of theses former students, Raymond Pinto, was just named a recipient of the Princess Grace Awards.


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Trumbull Loves Children, Inc (TLC), is one of Connecticut’s best before and afterschool care programs. With locations throughout Trumbull’s middle and elementary schools, as well as in our own Fun Zone Center for 4th and 5th graders, TLC’s mission is to provide quality childcare for Trumbull’s working parents. TLC is a not for profit that is known for providing a safe and fun learning environment for the children of Trumbull’s working parents. Each child and parent is an important part of our TLC family. New for fall 2012, TLC is introducing a new Half-Day Pre-School to its very popular pre-school program. TLC Half-Day Pre-School gives families the option to ease their child into a school environment that provides the same quality and reliable care as all of TLC’s programs. TLC Half-Day Pre-School is taught by qualified caring staff and mirrors the full-day curriculum. Your child will experience an environment that nurtures: • • • • • Independence Self-esteem Social interaction Intellectual Development Kindergarten Readiness

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TLC offers flexible hours and programs designed to meet your family’s busy schedule and child’s needs: • • • • • • • TLC Pre-School Half-Day Pre-School Before School Care Program After School Program (ASP) Coming soon an Infant to Toddler Program Attend 2, 3, or 5 days a week Extended hours from 7am to 6pm

What does your child do at a TLC center? Have fun. Socialize. Make friends. Read a good book. Join others in a game. Spend lots of time outside. Eat a healthy snack. Get help with homework. More importantly - be a child. TLC centers provide a safe and caring place for your child. Throughout the summer TLC is here for your family. We invite your child to spend their summer days at TLC engaged in many activities and enjoying field trips to exciting places in one of our camps: • TLC Pre-School Camp • Camp TLC (age appropriate camps for children in kindergarten through 8th grade) • Afternoon Explorers Camp TLC now accepts applications online. Please visit our website to learn more or call us. We would be happy to help you chose a TLC Program that works best for your family!

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Trumbull Loves Children 2 Corporate Drive • Suite 207 Trumbull, CT 06611 203-452-9626 Visit us on the web to learn more: www.tlctrumbull.com

TLC...where children come to learn and play!

• August 30, 2012 •

• Kids World • Hersam Acorn Newspapers •


Making memories on the school bus
One of my most precious memories of the first day of school growing up in Weston, was seeing the big, yellow bus slowly wind its way around the corner of the street on which I lived. It was as if at the very moment I climbed up the bus steps, I was “at school.” My friends would be saving me a seat and we had a small chunk of time on the bus to asses the physical changes that had occurred over the summer in other people and, of course, in ourselves. I still got a tiny thrill as I waited at the bus stop for more than 20 years with one or more of my four children. Even when the kids eventually banned me from waiting with them, I still snuck a peek out the front door, waiting to hear that familiar squeaking of the bus brakes as it neared our driveway. Of all the things my tax dollars pay for, the school bus was one of the best: convenience for me and socialization for my kids all in one. But then, about four years ago, I suddentary school, even though my trepidation as a kindergartner at first challenged that enjoyment. But my wonderful first bus driver, Mr. Parenting from Peachtree (seriously his name!), allowed me the Trenches for a time to sit next to him up front, just inches from the steering wheel. There was By Julie Butler some sort of small steel bench next to the driver’s seat and on my very first day riding the bus, he helped me up the steps, picked me up and plunked me down on that ly and insidiously found myself driving my bench. I felt special and safe — although then-high school freshman daughter, Jess, Lord knows by today’s standards, riding up to school every day, leaving the poor school there would be anything but safe! bus to pause at our driveway expectantly Riding the school bus allowed my friends and then carry on, Jess-less. and I precious time to unwind after school, It all began when she missed the bus one to learn to be tolerant of the occasional morning. She quite enjoyed the chauffeured bully, exchange confidences, hear the latest ride and I then stupidly started using the joke. As I got older and into high school, I lure of the mommy-drive when mysterious could doze for a few minutes in the mornailments presented themselves and threating or hold my boyfriend’s hand in the back ened to keep her from going to school. I got of the bus on the way home. sucked in of my own accord, and it, well ... Admittedly, once I turned 16 and could sucked! then drive my own vehicle to school, I rathI loved riding the school bus in elemen- er happily gave up my seat on the bus. Yet, it had served me and my parents very well for 11 years. And I still, to this day, miss old, kind Mr. Peachtree. My youngest child, Jack, began tagging along with Jess for the ride to the high school two years ago. Back and forth, back and forth I would go to New Canaan High, picking Jess up early when she had the last period free, and then turning around an hour later to fetch Jack, and vise versa. It was getting annoying and also so repetitive that I began to drive on automatic pilot towards the school, even when I was merely heading into town for an errand! I would pass buses and long for the days of yore. And now my waiting-at-the-bus-stop and driving-the-kid-to-school days are officially over: Jack passed his driving test earlier this month and can now drive himself to school, freeing me up to sleep in, even though my slumber will be interrupted by the sound of a school bus slowing to a stop across the street as it picks up the young children who live there.

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Why the Spirit Zone?

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• Quality instruction by professional, experienced & trained staff. • All-Star cheerleading teams (ages 3 & older) have won over 175 state national championships. • Recreational gymnastics for all ages. • Tumble & cheer classes for athletes of all ages. • Competitive cheerleading teams for all ages and abilities. • FUNTASTIC Birthday Parties! • Top of the line 12,000 sf facility equipped with 2 full spring floors, 1 regular cheer floor, inground foam pit, tumble track, 2 uneven bars, 3 beams and an Olympic size trampoline.

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Spirit Zone Cheerleading & Gymnastics Training Center
109 Sanford Street̶Hamden CT̶203-281-9663̶www.ctspirit.com


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• Kids World • Hersam Acorn Newspapers •

• August 30, 2012 •

Juggling multiple kids and multiple spor ts
By Greg Reilly
The dog days of August are probably the least busy time of the year for local parents, and it’s often welcomed after a hectic June usually consists of preparing their children for final exams and graduation parties and a July filled with managing summer camps, all-star baseball tournaments and swim meets (sometimes all in one day). All the camps and summer sports are typically over by the end of July, leaving August as a time to just chill, maybe to take a vacation or just enjoy not having too many scheduled commitments for a change. But Labor Day is right around the corner, and the hectic life of Fairfield County parents will ensue once

“It’s not easy to remember everything kids need, between cleats and sneakers, what size soccer ball they need, and what color socks they are supposed to have.”
ferent sports. It’s not easy to keep track of. “Parents come in at least twice,” Patrick Charland, a manager at the Darien Sport Shop said. “Sometimes

again. Back-to-school shopping is no easy task, especially when many parents are likely to have three kids going to three different schools and playing three dif-

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• August 30, 2012 •

• Kids World • Hersam Acorn Newspapers •


you’ll see them four or five days in a row and I can think of one person that comes in every single day.” It’s not easy to remember everything kids need, between cleats and sneakers, what size soccer ball they need and what color socks they are supposed to have. Steve Zangrillo Jr., also a manager at the Darien Sport Shop, says the coaches usually give parents a list and the local sports leagues will give him a list so he knows what to have in stock when the players come in. “We provide a lot for Darien football,” Zangrillo said. “We know exactly what the kids need when the parents don’t always.” The fall sports in high school are cross country, soccer, field hockey, football, swimming, and volleyball. While the schools provide football pads and helmets, the athletes are on their own to get their own mouth guards, faceguards, goggles, shin guards, and kneepads. And those are only high school sports. Local mom Debby Hynes has three kids ages 13, 12, and nine. One is playing baseball in the fall, one is taking dance, and the other will be horseback riding.

“I usually have to do shopping in a lot of different places,” Hynes said. “Sports Authority is our main one. I’ll also see if we have friends that have some equipment that we can borrow.” Some parents even start thinking about winter sports right now, as Charland says the Darien Sport Shop will probably do 1,000 ski rentals between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15. Once the shopping is done, that’s only half the battle. Getting your kids to all there activities in no easy chore either. “It’s a lot of juggling,” Hynes said. “My calendar is the biggest thing for me — knowing where everyone needs to be on a certain day and what time. If there are some schedules that are really close together, or possibly at the same time, I make sure I can be there or I ask someone to help carpool so I can get everyone where they need to be.” On the plus side, there is no shortage of stores in the area to shop, whether it’s the Darien Sport Shop, Sports Authority, or places like Athletic Shoe Factory. Despite the added stress of youth sports, active kids are happier kids. And happy kids make happy parents.

Mom Stephanie Grise actually enjoys juggling her three kids — Michael, Reilly and Griffin — and their different sports.

Pumpkin Preschool
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2012-2013 Fall Schedule
Monroe Dance Company performing at the 2013 half �me show in Miami!

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• Kids World • Hersam Acorn Newspapers •

• August 30, 2012 •

New mobil app makes back-to-school shopping easier at Trumbull Mall
Just in time for what the National Retail Federation predicts to be a big year for back-to-school shopping, Westfield Group, which owns and operates 48 malls throughout the U.S., including the Trumbull Mall, has announced significant upgrades to its free Westfield App 2.0. Now available in the iTunes app store. The enhancements feature improved in-mall navigation, expanded product search, enhanced retail offers, social media integration, voice command, and even the ability to purchase movie tickets and make dinner reservations. “We had such an enthusiastic response to the original version of the Westfield App,” said Alan Cohen, executive vice president of marketing. “After studying the feedback of hundreds of thousands of our shoppers, we found that the majority wanted two things: to get around the mall easier and to save money. Westfield App 2.0 accomplishes both of these things. “The timing of this launch couldn’t be better. We are expecting a busy back-to-school shopping season and the new Westfield app will make it easy for busy moms and dads to make the most of their time and money when visiting Westfield shopping centers,” said Cohen. The new map feature enables users to navigate the mall efficiently. Now when a shopper enters the nearest store as a starting point, as well as their desired destination, the app will guide them turn-by-turn to wherever they want to go. Shoppers in search of sales and special offers can browse a curated list of the mall’s best deals, making it easier than ever before to save money while at the same time having the ability to compare products and prices available from different retailers. Finally, for an even more personalized and hands-free experience, users can activate the app’s brand new “Concierge” voice command feature, which is currently undergoing beta testing. A shopper can simply press the “Tap to Ask” button and tell Concierge what they need help with, from “What’s on sale?” and “Where can I buy a gift card?,” to “Search for sunglasses.” The new app represents the convergence of mobile, offline, online and social experiences for shoppers, providing a onestop shopping tool for anyone looking to more easily navigate their local Westfield mall, access real-time mall updates through social media and save money. It is available for the iPhone, with an Android version to follow in September. For more info, email erin.mommyfiles@gmail.com, or visit mommyfiles.com.

New owner for the Learning Garden Preschool in Bridgeport
Liz Englander, a well-known educator in the community and an educational consultant, recently purchased and will be operating The Learning Garden Preschool, LLC, located at 4070 Park Avenue in Bridgeport. She has extensive experience in the field of education and directed The Zeff Early Childhood Center, also in Bridgeport. She brings to Learning Garden her the love of children, a well-rounded curriculum and well educated staff members. The program will accommodate children ranging from two to five years of age and there will be a before and after school program. Operating hours are from 8-4 p.m. The school will be opening on Tuesday, Sept. 4. More info: 203-908-4100 or at 203-929-1352.

The Mommyfiles: A one-stop-shop for moms
Mommyfiles (mommyfiles.com) is a new website launched by Greenwich resident and mother of two, Sara Mack, built to help “mommys” connect with all different types of local “talent” and to share all the latest news for free. Whether you’re looking for a new recipe, have questions for other moms or need to find a babysitter, mommyfiles is the place to look; it’s a one-stop-shop for moms everywhere. Moms are in need of many different types of outside help and resources, and whether it’s a babysitter for the night, a chef for a special event or even a photographer for the kid’s birthday party, mommyfiles can help with your search. The site gives all different types of talent the opportunity to show other members their skills and even allows those members to book them online for an event. The recipes section is a great way to find a new recipe for the whole family. Whatever it is that you’re looking for — breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack or even a dessert — there are many creative recipes to search through. And as a member of the site you also have the ability to post your favorite recipes for others to see. Mommyfiles is a great place to find out about local events for you and the kids to attend. And if you have an event that you’re running or want others to attend, the site lets you suggest it to friends, share information about it or even create a volunteer board to help run it. With album and scrapbook sections, users have the ability to post pictures, collect “scraps” from other websites or provide links to them for others to see. The site is not only occupied with moms, but also businesses for members to find new local places to go for themselves and for the kids. Mommyfiles.com is free to join.

Mercy Learning Center seeks volunteer tutors
Mercy Learning Center in Bridgeport is looking for volunteers to teach reading, math and English as a Second Language (ESL) in its tutoring program. Tutors meet with their students at the center for two hours, twice a week. The center provides basic literacy and life skills training to low-income women in the Greater Bridgeport area. Its goal is to increase each woman’s functional literacy level and prepare her to pursue higher education or employment that offers upward mobility and a level of income adequate to support her and her family. The center offers a one-on-one, or small group, tutoring program four hours per week. More than 600 women benefit from the tutoring program annually. Tutors must be older than 18 years old. A one-day training session and all instructional materials are provided. Teaching experience is not necessary. Upcoming training sessions will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 12, and Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 9-3 (lunch will be provided). More info: Sue McNeil at 203-334-6699 or susan.mcneil@ mercylearningcenter.org.

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• August 30, 2012 •

• Kids World • Hersam Acorn Newspapers •


8 ways to make sure your student has a great first semester
By Michelle Sagalyn
president, S4 - Successful Study Skills 4 Students, LLC
School is back in session and it is important to make sure your student has a good start. Getting off to a good start can make the rest of the year run smoothly. Here are eight ways you can make sure your student has a great first semester. Setting goals Active and effective goal setting is the foundation for a clear path to the higher level of academic performance required to succeed in high school. As they learn the discipline of goal setting, students begin to mature academically. They begin to take more personal responsibility for their ambitions, choices and decisions. They learn the skill of prioritizing conflicting demands and desires in order to create the outcome they are truly committed to achieving. Guiding students in the development of goals is important for several reasons. Without the benefit of experience in setting goals, some students may set unrealistic or impractical objectives that serve only to overwhelm them and discourage the practice. Likewise, students that don’t set goals often don’t have an overall focus. If you sit down with your student and talk about goals for the semester, you might be surprised at how seriously they take the challenge. Setting realistic goals will motivate your student to do well because they’ll have something concrete to shoot for. For a high schooler, as they learn the discipline of goal setting, students begin to mature academically. They begin to take more personal responsibility for their ambitions, choices and decisions. They learn the skill of prioritizing conflicting demands and desires in order to create the outcome they are truly committed to achieving. Time management Students will find it easier to accomplish tasks if they can visually see all of their tasks in front of them in a planner. Students will have fewer worries about remembering deadlines when they are engaged in the daily plan. In the end, this habit will free-up the brain so it can focus on the task self-advocates will have less stress and will better be able to learn new and innovative ways to approach their schoolwork because they will ask for it. Doing homework Another way to ensure success is to make sure your student is doing their homework. Homework usually is an important component of the final semester’s grade so it is important to make sure your student does their homework and turns it in at school. Particularly for middle schoolers, homework is a great way for your student to start to assume independence and responsibility. The best way you can assist is by making sure that a routine is established and a distraction-free environment is provided. Distraction-free study space It seems obvious yet cannot be stressed enough. Students should study in a quiet distraction-free space. This means no television, no texting, no online time — unless it’s strictly for homework purposes. One effective technique is to remove all of temptations. For example, if your student has a cell phone, you might consider holding on to it until their homework is finished. Using study skills reading as well. The act of taking notes promotes that must be completed. Learning study skills and applying them corinteraction with the material and encourages bet- rectly are critical to the development of a student’s Breaking down assignments into chunks and ter comprehension and understanding of what is confidence. There is no question that with a more scheduling them over time is an essential combeing taught and learned. ponent to time management. This requires the organized, efficient and time-managed approach student to estimate how long it will take to comIdentifying main ideas, supporting details and application, students will be more successful. Identifying main ideas and supporting details plete each piece of the assignment, what materials If students can learn effective study skills to apply will be needed, and to plan accordingly. Breaking is key to effective notetaking. Tests and quizzes to their academics, they will feel more comfortable apart projects, tasks and assignments aid in over- mainly ask for regurgitation of main ideas of a and confident in their work. all organization and ensures more productive time text. Therefore, being able to distinguish between Your student can have a great semester with the two is crucial, but understanding the full for the student. the right support and motivation. Every student picture is essential to remembering and building Active learning and notetaking wants to succeed; they just need the tools and knowledge. Taking notes when reading, as well as listendetermination to achieve their goals. Self-advocating ing, promotes active learning and engagement, yet More info: S4 - Successful Study Skills 4 Self-advocacy is the idea of effectively commu- Students, LLC, Southport; 203-30-S-K-I-L-L many feel that notetaking is only for classroom/ lecture settings. While it is true that middle and nicating one’s own individual needs and concerns. (203-307-5455), successfulstudyskills4students. high schoolers should be taking notes in class, it It is the ability and willingness to say “I have a com. is equally important that they take notes while problem and I need some help.” The student that

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Saturday, Sept. 8…Youth Classes Begin Tuesday, Sept. 11…Adult Classes Begin
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St Catherine of Siena School admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

• 10 •

• Kids World • Hersam Acorn Newspapers •

• August 30, 2012 •

2012 fall fashion goes wild
What-to-wear when it’s back-to-school
by Lois Alcosser The pundits predict that parents will inspect their kids’ closets closely this year, to make sure none of last year’s wearables are forgotten. But having some new clothes for the new school term is as traditional and essential as a sharpener is to a pencil. Though the charts indicate that this year’s back-toschool clothing expenditures will be about the same as last year, more will be spent on shoes. A new outfit for the beginning of school is almost a rite-of–passage, though having a budget and sticking to it is more pressing than usual. That said, manufacturers are still very much in the business of creating as much temptation as possible. The main idea for girls seems to be something, anything to look different. Different that is, from the rather plain, polite look of a nice pair of blue jeans and a solid color, long sleeved, conservative T-shirt. Just as blue, green, yellow, black, and purple nail enamel have been pushing red and pink into the archives folder, what’s happening in clothing is a show of individualism. It’s what Vogue Teen calls “Extreme expressions of personal style.” Translated, this means that the unexpected is coming into its own. Imagination, daring and humor are cooler than cool. Bold striped T’s, ruffled denim mini skirts and orange tights. Or yellow pants topped with black and white checks and a fake-fur vest. (Littlejohn’s in New Canaan says they have been selling pretend-fur vests like crazy.) Maybe it’s just for fun, but some of the headgear for fall is enormous. This is probably a fashion magazine prop idea, but it will probably be knocked off to something less bizarrely huge, but still ... big. plainness. Individuality. A touch of the Anything goes wild. In other words, the point is to look What’s coming up is a statement of unas if you’ve had fun getting dressed. You’re

Left, Kylie Pulkwonik, 18, wears a typical teen fashion look for the fall: sheer polka-dot blouse under a camisole and skinny jeans, accessorized with studded bracelets and an oversized, studded clutch. Above, middle schooler Spencer Handler styled her own, anything-goes back to school look with a character sweatshirt, brightly colored super skinny jeans and fashionable combat boots.

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“there’ll be those jewel-tone denims which started appearing this past summer, but now expressing yourself extremely. have a fall flavor. Hats are going to be considBlue jeans still rule, in classic denims, ered part of the total outfit. We have jackets of course, but with lots of embellishment and leggings of ‘pleather,’ which looks like the — ruffles, sequins, lace. Layering continues to real thing but is much more fun.” be the way to dress for style, comfort and creGirls, naturally, are more obsessed (or ativity. The ingredients for layering make for more outspoken) about how they want to lots of mix-and-don’t-match outfits. look, but boys aren’t immune to the persuaOnce again, the color story is brilliant. sive power of clothing. However, they still Pink, purple, yellow, green. Not the tradiwant to look like each other as much as postional fall hues, though navy blue is a colorsible and wearing a plaid or checked shirt is, in-demand and black is chic from five years so far, about as daring as they’re going to be. old and up. (With many exceptions, of course.) “Color Blocking” is the new look in teen What boys put on their heads and on their and tween dresses, according to Mary Perkins feet are somehow more important than what’s of Dress Code. Vibrant color squares artin between. fully placed. Purple and pink, pale green and So the classrooms and corridors are going orange, tan and orange, in a silly fabric. “A to be a bit carnival-like, but the basic elenew trend,” she says, “is wearing dresses with ments prevail: it should fit, it should be as boots, instead of the usual jeans.” wrinkle-free as possible and it should make Erica at “B” Chic in Wilton predicts the wearer feel attractive.

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• August 30, 2012 •

• Kids World • Hersam Acorn Newspapers •

• 11 •

Healthy habits for a healthy future at Tutor Time
by Carol Anderson
Tutor Time Childcare/ Learning Centers are trying to put healthy living in the spotlight within their schools as a key part of a commitment to the development of the whole child. This comprehensive effort, called Grow Fit™, emphasizes the value of nutrition and physical activity in helping children reach their full potential. This fall, Tutor Time in Shelton and Milford will be offering tastings of fruits and vegetables for the preschool and pre-kindergarten children to try each week. In addition to one hour of daily outdoor playground time, the children will be participating in a daily physical fitness activity with discussions about how to make healthy choices. This initiative puts greater emphasis on healthy offerings that already are in place, and strengthens or introduces additional elements to support children’s healthy development. The focus on healthy lifestyles comes as the U.S. is experiencing an increase in health risks directly tied to food choices and physical inactivity. Grow Fit is designed to help pave the way for a lifetime of healthy habits. Encouraging balanced nutrition practices and physical activity in early childhood helps prevent chronic disease later in life. The program includes the following goals to help build a generation of healthy parents’ decisions about infant feeding. Breastfeeding moms can provide their milk to their infants and are welcome to breastfeed during school time. Tutor Time in Shelton is happy to announce that they are now a public school bus stop for Long Hill and Perry elementary schools that pick up and drop off children for its before and after school program for children ages six to 12. Tutor Time Shelton location also offers bus transportation to the following local elementary schools — Elizabeth Shelton, Booth Hill, Mohegan, Chapel Street (Stratford), and St. Lawrence for those parents who need before and after school care for their school-age child. Tutor Time Milford is also a public school bus stop for JFK and Pumpkin Delight elementary schools, and offers transportation to Orchard Hills, Calf Pen, Orange Avenue and Mathewson elementary schools. The before and after school program offers homework help, activities, sports and snacks. Tutor Time is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. year round. For more information: Tutor Time Shelton, 203-926-1126 or tutortimeshelton.com, and Tutor Time Milford, 203-876-1555 or tutortimemilford.com.

Happy Trails
Continued from page 1
Upcoming hikes include a children’s hike at Ash Creek open space in Fairfield on Saturday, Sept. 8, from 10-11:30. Age range is four to 10 year olds; a parent is required to attend. There will be an adult fall foliage hike at Trout Brook Valley in Weston on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 1-3:30. To reserve a spot, call or email with your name, the date(s), and number in party. If unsure of weather, call 203-331-1906 the morning of hike for status. No rain date. Wear appropriate clothes, shoes, and bring a water bottle. There is a 30 person maximum per hike except where noted. All hikes are easy to moderately difficult. Visit aspetucklandtrust.org. - Steep Rock Reservation in Washington Depot. Length: 5.1 miles; duration: about 2 hours - Chauncey Peak and Lamentation Mountain Trail, Meridan. Length: 2.1 miles; duration: 1 hour - The Devil’s Den Concourse, Georgetown. This eight-mile hike through an extensive 1,700- acre environmental sanctuary is perfect for any level hiker. Take a leisurely stroll past ponds, streams, gorges and ravines, taking in the natural formations and varied wildlife. Or challenge yourself to ascend the steeper ridges and the view of the Saugatuck Reservoir. - Devil’s Den Preserve, Weston. One of the largest preserves in the tri-state area, the 1,746 acres of the Devils’ Den Preserve are home to more than 500 types of trees and wildflowers and 140 species of birds. With 20 miles of trails ranging from daring to serene, the preserve is a favorite destination for hikers, walkers, and wildlife enthusiasts. - Kent Falls State Park, 462 Kent Cornwall Road, Kent. Kent Falls Trail winds one-quarter mile up along the falls. Although not difficult to walk, it is steep. There are many scenic vantage points that can be enjoyed along the trail. - Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden. Two miles of mountaintop resembling a large man lying in repose, the “sleeping giant,” is a popular feature of the south central Connecticut skyline. A 1.5-mile scenic trail leads to the stone observation tower on the peak of Mt. Carmel which provides an excellent view of Long Island Sound and the New Haven area.

children: • Physical activity: one to two hours every day with a combination of playground, classroom and home activity. • Screen time: at school, no television is offered with a goal of limited screen time at home. • Food: more fruits and veggies encouraged in lunches. Snack tastings of fruits or vegetables are offered weekly with discussions about healthy food choices, such as fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats, beans, and legumes. • Beverages: water available, whenever. No sugar-sweetened drinks; for ages two and up, low-fat or non-fat milk offered. Just a little 100% juice — no more than four to six ounces per day. • Infant feeding: Tutor Time supports

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Child Care and Development Center
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Bunny Village

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Kindermusik is the best way to give your child a great start, providing more ways for your child to learn and grow than any other early development program. We’re excited to have you join us in our award-winning Kindermusik classes for babies and children. Southbury birth to 5 years • Monroe birth to 7 years��



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“Ladder To Learning”

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Infants • Toddlers • Pre-School Transition Kindergarten

• Educating and caring for children for over 40 years! • Low staff turnover • Hours 6:30am - 6pm • Convenient location: Just off Exit 40, I-95
• 6 weeks to 36 months full time 5 days $273.00/wk • 3 to 5 years full time 5 days $228.00/wk • Part time days and hours are available • Call for other rates and availability • Ask about our referral program

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69 Woodmont Road Milford Call for a Tour! 203-877-5167 Visit our Website! LittleWhiteHouseLearningCenter.com


• 12 •

• Kids World • Hersam Acorn Newspapers •

• August 30, 2012 •

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Fairfield Prep invites you to Open House
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Open House
Sunday, September 30, 2–4 p.m.

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Entrance Exams
Saturday, October 13, 8:30 a.m. Saturday, November 3, 8:30 a.m.

Fairfield College Preparatory School

Create your online admissions account at www.fairfieldprep.org/admissions

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