The Rhode Island Pre-Kindergarten Program, entering its 9th year, provides free, high quality pre-kindergarten classes to eligible children. The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) oversees the program. This coming September, spaces will be available for 1,080 children to participate in the 60 pre-kindergarten classes. To be eligible, children must be 4 years old by September 1, and they must be residents of one of the identified communities. Children are selected for participation in the program through the lottery.
The State Pre-Kindergarten Program Lottery is open for applications through Saturday, July 1, 2017. Families can apply online, or applications can be downloaded or picked up at any Pre-Kindergarten Program location. Visit the RIDE website for more information including the complete list of participating Pre-K programs in Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence, Johnston, Newport, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick, West Warwick and Woonsocket.
Completed hard copy applications should be returned to one of the participating programs. Families may apply for more than one site directly in the application, and can rank their preference. Only one application per child will be accepted. Please do not submit applications to the RI Department of Education.
By Suzy Letourneau and Robin Meisner, Providence Children’s Museum
Providence Children’s Museum’s recently reinvented Coming to Rhode Island exhibit explores history through four story galleries – an English colonist’s farmhouse (1640), the new Fort Adams worksite (1835), a Cape Verdean packet ship (1892) and a Dominican bodega (1961). The exhibit uses these stories to build empathy and foster respect for the diversity of individuals who make up the world. Empathy is the ability to sense, understand and share other people’s emotions, and it allows individuals to take others’ perspectives, communicate and collaborate.
Children develop social and emotional skills like empathy as they begin to understand their own identities and appreciate differences between themselves and others, and research shows that pretending is a natural avenue for this development. In Coming to Rhode Island, children engage with each story through pretend play, allowing them to practice social and emotional skills in developmentally meaningful ways.
Toddlers (and even infants) start to notice and react to others’ emotions, a foundation of empathy. They also start pretending in simple ways and playing in parallel with other children, setting the stage for social skills and later forms of pretending. In the exhibit, a toddler might offer fake food to someone who says they are hungry or share with another child while playing side by side.
Children ages 3 to 5 begin to engage in more complex forms of pretend play, from wearing a costume or using props to creating stories with different roles. Children in Coming to Rhode Island might pretend to cook in a kitchen, build a fort or sail a ship. When pretending together, they talk about their ideas and decide how a story should unfold. In the process, kids learn that other people might not think and feel the same things they do, and they practice seeing other’s points of view and learn to work through conflicts.
Children ages 5 to 7 start to understand similarities and differences between themselves and others, and can take many different perspectives. When playing together, they create elaborate stories and practice empathy by imagining what others might feel in different situations. In the exhibit, kids might take on roles that are very different from their own lives. They might think about what life was like for the people whose stories appear in the galleries, and they recognize differences between their own lives and those who lived in the past.
Children ages 7 to 11 begin to recognize that different people might have different interpretations of the same situation, and that multiple perspectives can be equally valid. They also start to understand that people’s feelings are influenced by what others think and how others act towards them, helping them develop deeper empathy for others. In Coming to Rhode Island, older kids might reflect on how other’s previous experiences shaped the decisions they made and their perceptions of the world.
While children begin developing empathy and perspective-taking very early on, these skills continue to grow throughout their entire lives. In Coming to Rhode Island, older children and adults might question stereotypes and challenge assumptions, and appreciate the diversity represented in our community.
Learn more about Coming to Rhode Island and get a peek at the process of creating the exhibit on the Museum’s blog.
There is a silver lining to the post-Halloween slump of chilly days and early nights: West Side Play Space (WSPS) is reopening its doors for a 4th year of play this November!
West Side Play Space was founded by a group of parents on Providence’s West Side, transforming four classroom spaces in the former Asa Messer Elementary School Annex into a gathering space for play and community-building for kids 0-5 and their caregivers. The space includes a tumbling area, make believe/dress up area, reading nooks, and art supplies and projects. There also is a dedicated snack space, occasional special events, and opportunities for members to rent the space for birthday parties.
So how does it work? Parents and registered caregivers can drop in anytime during weekday and weekend open play hours with their children. In keeping with the vision to foster community among families, West Side Play Space operates as a co-op. Families contribute $10/month plus one volunteer shift per month. There is also an option to try out the space by paying a $10 daily drop-in. WSPS is open to all, not just Providence residents.
West Side Play Space is kicking off the 2016 November-April with a *free* Open House on Saturday, November 5 from 1:00 - 5:00pm for existing and prospective members as an opportunity to check out the space, enjoy some snacks and get to know the community.
This winter, look out for 3-week design mini-sessions offered to 6-9 year olds in collaboration with DownCity Design.
Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books & Authors
Saturday, October 15 from 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Lincoln School, 301 Butler Ave, Providence, RI
Admission is $5
Rhode Island may be the smallest state, but it boasts one of the largest and best book festivals in the nation. Thousands of people come to the Book Festival each year to meet acclaimed authors and illustrators from all corners of the country. These authors and illustrators will travel to Providence this October for the opportunity to be featured in The Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books & Authors, hosted by Lincoln School in Providence.
Excitement is already building in the local community and beyond as Providence anticipates welcoming this year’s impressive roster of writers, including Cece Bell, Sophie Blackall, Bryan Collier, Anika Denise, Christopher Denise, Candace Fleming, Natasha Friend, Mitch Krpata, Eric Rohman, Sergio Ruzzier, Anita Silvey, Chris Van Allsburg and Elizabeth Wein. Authors give talks throughout the day, sign books, and enjoy spending time with fans old and new. Among the line up of talent this year is a total of 16 Newbery, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King medals!
Young readers and their parents have the chance to meet and talk with the authors, have their books personally signed and participate in bookmaking and other crafts. The Festival celebrates the unique joy that can only be found by opening the pages of a book.
For a full listing of performances and activities, visit www.lincolnschool.org/bookfestival or call Lincoln School at 401.331.9696, ext. 3135.
Whether you're chomping at the bit for the return of routine or cringing at the dwindling beach weekends, or both: back to school time is upon us. To tame the beast of procrastination and shine some light on the transition from summer to school, we dug into the kido archives to share our favorite articles on getting organized, preparing the kids, making lunches to look forward to, and much more.
Getting Ready for School
We made it! The snow and colder days of Winter have finally bid us farewell and we welcome the warmer days of birds nesting and rain clouds with open arms. Is it wrong to say I miss those slower, cozy days of winter? Browsing the airwaves for some easy Spring craft ideas, I came across the following gems to create on a rainy afternoon or a sunny day outside.
Paper Plate Bird's Nest
Can be created with found feathers, yarn or sticks. Your feathered friend can be painted, made out of fabric or snazzy paper.
Spring butterflies! Cut pretty paper, accordion fold them and add pipe cleaners (or ribbon). Hang individually, or make a garland of them!
Flowers in a Pot
How does your garden grow? Using sturdy card as the backing, you can apply, fabric, felt or paint for the flowers on this beautiful Spring display.
Stained Glass Flower
Using black paper for the outline and wax paper as the backing. Stick brightly colored tissue paper onto an endless possibility of shapes - flowers, animals, kites, faces. Makes a gray day in Spring feel lovely and bright.
Originally posted April, 2015
By Michele Meek, ShelfDig
No one can deny the convenience of online shopping. Even my grandmother is ordering gifts from Amazon now. Still, many of us want to support our local stores. And believe me, the stores want that too.
So a group of us created ShelfDig—a website that enables you to browse and search the store shelves right here in Providence.
This year, why not try to buy all (or at least most) of your holiday presents locally? I’ve compiled a list of gifts for babies, children and teens, and you might be surprised by the variety of gifts you can find right here in Providence, many of them even locally made.
These cotton baby onesies make unique gifts. Each one has its own decoration—a series of hearts, a tiger, or Martian. Locals might especially appreciate the “Don’t Mess with Rhode Island Either” design with a little RI within an outline of Texas. | $22
Cool Pop Teether
Teething babies (3 months and up) will enjoy this colorful silicone teether in the shape of an ice pop. | $9.95
These porcelain animal ornaments created by New Jersey artist Beth DiCara make a charming decoration for children’s rooms (although they’re definitely for show, not for play). | $18
Baby’s First Book: Nesting Dolls
Rag and Bone Bindery's best-selling baby book helps parents keep memories and mementos from baby’s first year. | $72
Milkbarn Swaddle Baby Blanket
These 100% organic cotton swaddle blankets decorated with white roses or little foxes are perfect as nursing covers or stroller blankets. | $27
Annicke Mouse: Handmade Stuffed Animal
Made from light brown organic cotton fleece, with a hand-embroidered face and striped cotton lining on her floppy ears, Annicke is perfect for newborns because it doesn't have any buttons or strings. | $42
Gray Baby Kowali Kozyhat
Gray and black fleece hat for babies. | $22
Plush Mini Creatures
Handmade colorful soft toy stuffed creatures by Mr. Sogs Creatures. | $18-$46
Little Miss Austin: A BabyLit Counting Primer
Designed to introduce 'little bibliophiles' to the romantic world of Jane Austen with a stroll through one English village to meet two rich gentlemen and discover what happens when the five Bennet sisters encounter four marriage proposals. | $9.99
Let kids create their own superheroes with these locally-made shiny and whimsical star capes. | $26
123 Beach Board Book
A beach-themed counting book is perfect for Ocean State children and babies. | $7.95
Touch and Learn Preschool Playbook
Preschoolers can learn numbers, alphabet, spelling and more with this compact electronic learning device that looks and feels like a book. | $23.99
Gold or white-colored lion bookends can decorate baby’s room. | $40
Handmade Car Seat Organizers
A great gift for kids and parents, these organizers hang from the back of the front seat and contain compartments to hold pens, pencils, books, tablets and more to keep children’s activities (read: clutter) in the car more organized. | $39
Lacing Cards Children’s Art Set
Children ages five and up can practice ‘sewing’ with these Children of the World Lacing Cards set from Eeboo. | $18
Children’s Height Chart
This refrigerator magnet height chart helps keep track of kids’ height. | $12.95
Wooden Bake & Decorate Cupcake Set
A Melissa & Doug wooden cupcake set includes cupcake tray, cupcakes, icing tops, cupcake sleeves, candles, icing markers and oven mitt so children can celebrate birthdays any time they want. | $19.99
This variation on Bingo has been a favorite in our house. Both pre-readers and readers alike can play (recommended for ages four and up). | $19.99
Hand-Stitching Project: Owl
Crafty kids will enjoy being able to hand-stitch (with a little help, perhaps) their own stuffed animal. The kit includes pattern, instructions, and all materials necessary to complete the animal. Also available in Cat, Kangaroo, Fox and Whale. | $20
Skull Piggy Bank
These colorful ceramic skull-themed piggy banks can contain loose change in older kids’ rooms. | $15
Roominate Chateau Wired Building Kit
This Roominate chateau-building kit includes wires and designable furniture to teach children important STEM-related skills like basic circuitry, wheels and pulleys, and creativity. | $49.99
This classic Geomag product contains magnetic rods and nonmagnetic steel spheres that combine to create an unlimited number of structures, for ages three and up. | $36
Peruvian Musical Instruments
Form your own kid band with a bamboo flute, painted maracas, a wooden mallet and metal chimes, and other instruments. | $10-28
Shrinky Dinks Refill Pack
The old-fashioned technology of Shrinky Dinks still amazes. This refill pack includes six sheets of shrinkable plastic so children can imagine their own shapes and designs. $9.50
Set Card Game
This game of visual perception is officially for ages 8 and up, but we’ve played it with children as young as four (for them, we often take out one of the ‘layers’ – shading, shape, color, number). It’s as fun (and challenging) for adults as it is for kids. | $13.99
Make Your Own Bunny Puppet Kit
Children ages four and up can make their own bunny puppet with this kit that includes a plush puppet body, fabric puppet parts, non-toxic glue, and instructions, along with puppet show ideas and a stage scene ready to color. | $18
These locally designed pendants by Lucky Bird Studios and Fishcakes feature a variety of themes to suit any tastes, from ‘I Heart Pie’ to ‘I Heart Pi’. | $26
Small Earthlust Water Bottles
Kids will find these BPA-free stainless steel water bottles with bird, elephant and owl designs ‘very grown-up’. | $16
Ada Books offers gently used children’s books like Pairs: Twins and Other Twosomes, Mad About Monkeys and Leo: A Ghost Story. | Various prices.
Snap Circuits: Light
This circuit kit includes 55 parts that snap together with ease so children can make projects like a strobe light or lights that change to the beat of music. | $79.99
Toysmith Juggling Balls
A set of three colorful juggling balls is perfect for beginners. | $ 7.95
Choose from a variety of colorful skateboard decks, then choose a wheel color and truck to design your own skateboard. | $50 for decks; $20-$50 other parts.
Here’s a pair they might not have already—a pair of vampire earrings. | $10
Fjallraven Kanken Backback
This iconic Swedish-designed backpack is durable and water-repellent, with adjustable straps. | $80
PARL Paw Print Bangle
Animal lovers will appreciate this handcrafted paw print bangle with 20% of your purchase donated to the Providence Animal Rescue League (PARL). | $35
The Sharman-Caselli Tarot Deck
An illustrated Tarot card deck created for the first time tarot card user. | $24
Decorative Cell Phone Covers
Celebrate sports teams (Yankees, Bruins, etc), Superheros (Batman, Hulk, etc) and other themes with a decorative cell phone cover. | Various prices.
Ripped jeans, white jeans, or simple blue jeans by Joe’s Jeans. | Various prices.
Earrings from Around the World
Earrings in a variety of shapes, colors and styles from around the world. | Various prices.
A leather-bound journal (various sizes) makes a great gift for a budding writer or artist, or any teen that might appreciate the “old-fashioned” arts. | $32-42
Rhode Island Bag
This natural cotton canvas bag features a Rhode Island map filled with pictures, icons and city names. | $20
S'well Wood Collection Water Bottle
This stainless steel water bottle, painted to imitate wood, keeps drinks cold for 24 hours, or hot for 12. Plus, for every Wood Collection bottle sold, S’well will plant a tree. | $36-48
In this selection of remainder books from Symposium, you’ll find classics like Ulysses or On the Genealogy of Morals, along with books by Nabokov, Faulkner, Proust, Hunter S. Thomas and Chaucer. | Various prices.
Providence-based artist Margaret Hinge makes these handcrafted stone earrings. | $40
How about a shiny new bicycle? Find road racing, touring, upright hybrids, and mountain bikes in all colors and sizes. | Various prices.
Round Hanging Terrarium
Here’s an idea for an eco-friendly room design—grow a plant in a round hanging glass terrarium. | $30.50
Graphic novels and comic books, like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby and Gahan Wilson’s Sunday Comics, fill this shelf. | Various prices.
Made from carved wood with white inlaid patterns, each of these hair sticks features a unique design. | $12
The classic sneaker still holds up—high-top and regular Converse sneakers in all colors. | $50
Or if you know your teen wants the Nike Air Huarache or the Adidas Tokyo Purple Sneakers or the New Balance 996, browse this shelf for designer sneakers. And when you buy local, it makes it easier to exchange for a different size! | Various prices.
ShelfDig enables shoppers to browse, search and discover online the products available in stores in their local community. A semi-finalist in the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, ShelfDig currently has partnerships with over 60 stores in the Providence area and launched to the public in the beginning of November 2015.
The holidays are here and the “Family Performance Series,” Artists’ Exchange’s newest family-friendly programming, is the perfect activity to entertain all of your family members for little to no cost. Series performances began in September and will run through May 2016, with shows on Saturday mornings from 11:00am-12:00pm at Theatre 82 & Café, located at 82 Rolfe Square in Cranston. Admission is “Pay What You Can” with a suggested donation of $5.00 per person.
Each Saturday is unique and guaranteed to engage and entertain your toddler and teen, your spouse and grandparent, and everyone in between. Upcoming performances feature a line-up of theater professionals with experience entertaining families, youth, and children in puppetry, music, interactive storytelling, improvisational theater, dance, and more.
“Laugh Out Loud” is every second Saturday of the month and “Big Day” is the last Saturday of the month. Join “The Club” in “Laugh Out Loud” and be a member who follows the Club Rules: “Have Fun,” “Be You,” “Speak Your Mind,” “Play Games,” and “Dream Big.” Act out stories, read and sing, be silly, and laugh with your new friends Lauren, Davey, Jessie, and Tommy. In “Big Day,” you will celebrate daily holidays – ranging from favorites to rare to bizarre but incredibly fun – with Dr. Phineas P.T. Pretorius, festival presenter extraordinaire, and his sidekick, Larry, with sketches, stories, songs, and funny!
Puppets and storytellers will delight you on the remaining dates with renowned performers including: the BIG NAZO Mini-Creature Show (November 21st, January 6th, and April 2nd), Marc Kohler, Sparky’s Puppets, and Marc Levitt. Visit www.artists-exchange.org or contact Jessica Chace, Theatre Director, at 401-490-9475, for full schedule and information.
ABOUT ARTISTS' EXCHANGE
Artists' Exchange is a nonprofit arts collaborative whose mission is to create an atmosphere in which creativity, learning, and discovery converge and individuality is celebrated. Home to multiple art studios, a gallery, online art boutique, café, and secondary venue Theatre 82 & Characters Café; it offers year-round classes and summer camps in art, ceramics, theater, and music. Artists? Exchange is operated by Gateways to Change, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all human beings.
Join Erin Vinacco this Halloween for a free family yoga class on Halloween Day (October 31) at the Motion Center Yoga Collective, Hope Artiste Village, Pawtucket. Halloween Costumes are welcome!
Regular weekly classes will be be held throughout the winter during Farmer's Market starting Nov 1st, Saturdays 10-10:45am, $5 per participant. Free for little ones under 2!
Come move, breathe, play and relax together! Family yoga is active and engaging opportunity for families to connect in a whole new way. Practicing yoga postures with a new, fun and playful approach helps us all to decrease our stress and increase our joy and connection. Each class includes breathing practices, group and partner activities as well as tools to calm and focus our minds and bodies both on the mat and at home. Class concludes with time for quiet guided relaxation and rest even for the most wiggly bodies and active minds. All abilities welcome. All children must be accompanied by an adult participant. Focus is on school-aged children (5-12) but younger and older siblings are welcome to join too. Aunties, cousins and grandparents are all welcome - bring the whole family!
Erin Vinacco is a native Rhode Islander with over 7 years of experience working with and children,parents and families. She finds joy in sharing both the peaceful and playful aspects of yoga and mindfulness with students of all ages and abilities and currently works with the non-profit ResilientKids to bring mindfulness into the schools. Her compassionate presence welcomes all students to the mat and allows everyone to explore and develop their unique practice at their own pace and comfort level. She is a certified Kripalu yoga teacher and has been practicing yoga and meditation for more than a decade. Erin has completed a 40-hour training in Trauma Sensitive Yoga through the Trauma Center in Boston and over 40 hours in training in teaching yoga to children, teens and adults with special needs through Creative Relaxation Yoga Therapy and My OmAbilities.
This Halloween, FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is encouraging food allergy families to start a new tradition: painting a pumpkin teal and placing it on your porch as a sign to other families managing food allergies that you have non-food treats available at your home. Your teal pumpkin is also a way to raise awareness in your neighborhood about food allergies!
Purchasing inexpensive non-food treats to hand out is a great way to include all children in trick-or-treating, and FARE hope that the Teal Pumpkin Project will be a tradition for years to come.
Examples of non-food items include: glow bracelets or necklaces, pencils, markers, boxes of crayons, erasers, bubbles, mini Slinkies, whistles or noisemakers, bouncy balls, coins, spider rings, vampire teeth, mini notepads, playing cards, bookmarks, stickers, and stencils.
Print out FARE’s teal pumpkin poster to post next to your door to notify visitors that you are handing out non-food items in support of all children with food allergies.
Last year, households from 50 states and 7 countries participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project. This year, you can be part of an even bigger movement by joining 100,000 households pledging to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project.