By Sue Carr, Monona Grove Nursery School
Three and four year olds are certainly a bundle of energy with lots to do and say all day every day. In a preschool environment, in a class of 15 or 16 other kids, the collective energy can be overwhelming for some children. Often, children need to be taught how to help themselves calm down, take stock and breathe. This is often referred to as mindfulness, and here are some good techniques for preschoolers to practice. Remember that with little people, it takes a lot of practice for these things to become intuitive and regular. So keep at it!
*Breathing—with a kiddo who is really riled up we often start with breathing- “take three big breaths from your belly”. Putting one hand or both on their belly helps them to feel the movement of the air through their body. This is also a great way to get a group of kids to settle in after a transition—playing or clean up to circle time, or a singing-dancing circle time to a book. We often close our eyes, put our hands on our bellies, and sit still listening to the breathing for a few minutes. For a family, it might be a way to start a meal or a family activity—take the moment for everyone to gather themselves.
*Stretching- another way that we help kids to be very present in their body is to talk them through some simple stretches and helping them to focus on the various muscles in the various parts of their bodies- Focusing on their feet, stretching each toe, the ankle and their leg, or on the hands, stretching each finger and the palm, allows them to focus on their own body and can bring them back to a central sense of being especially when things with friends get a little crazy.
*Yoga- We use some ABC yoga cards with our kids- helping to get them to form their bodies into various letters and then holding that position carefully. There is also wonderful resources where young kids can be taught various animal based yoga positions. Yoga brings down the level of activity, and brings kids into clear focus with exactly what their body is doing.
*Focus on the Senses- Sometimes we practice mindfulness by having a noticing moment. Whether in the classroom, waiting in line, outside on the playground or on a walk, we help the kids to use all 5 senses to notice things. What do you hear, what do you smell, what do you feel (how is your body touching the ground) and what do you see. We have a bubble fountain in our classroom, and sometimes just taking a moment to focus on that sound (which is a constant background noise) brings everyone in the room back to a more calm, present, and peaceful place.
Teaching children to be present in their own bodies is a lifetime skill that in this crazy busy, media focused world can be a lifesaver for both you and them!
Sue Carr is a teacher and the director of Monona Grove Nursery School, a fixture on Madison’s East Side for almost 60 years.
By David Benforado, Madison Gas and Electric Company
As we announced in October of last year, Jeff Keebler succeeded Gary Wolter as President and CEO on March 1, 2017. Gary continues to serve as Chairman. Jeff has been with MGE since 1995 and has served in various leadership positions across the company. To help introduce him to the community during this planned transition, we have a number of online updates, including a Q&A with him at https://www.energy2030together.com. Jeff was instrumental in developing our Energy 2030 framework and is committed to MGE remaining a trusted energy partner in our community. He talks in the Q&A about a number of things beyond energy. We also have a new video with him at https://www.mge.com/Energy2030. You might see Jeff out and about in the community. If you do, say hello!
Since the introduction of our Energy 2030 framework, we've been working on a number of initiatives, including a proposal for a major wind farm:
Thank you for your time and interest in these matters. Please stay engaged in our energy future. We look forward to sharing updates with you periodically and through stories on our Energy 2030 website,
David J Benforado is the Community Services Manager at MGE - a proud sponsor of LENA!
by Paula Tiffany, Movin' Out, Inc.
Movin’ Out, Inc. is looking for homeowner’s in the Lake Edge neighborhood who have a family member with a disability and are in need of home repair or accessibility improvements. Movin’ Out Inc. is an agency committed to helping people with disabilities with housing. The ability to provide this assistance was made possible because of a generous gift from a family in the Lake Edge Neighborhood. In addition to having a family member with a permanent disability, families must also be below 80% county median income. If interested, please contact Movin’ Out for further details at 251-4446 ext. 7.
Paula Tiffany is the Housing Counselor at Movin' Out, Inc. located at 902 Royster Oaks Drive, Suite 105 - a proud sponsor of LENA!
Rutabaga Paddlesports is excited to open a kayak and stand-up paddleboard rental concession at the Olbrich Beach House this summer. We look forward to expanding our rental program to east-side Madison neighborhoods and to be able to offer additional instructional programs at this new location.
Weather permitting, we will be open 7 days a week beginning approximately May 20. Hours will be Mon-Fri from 10am to 8pm; Sat, Sun and holidays from 10am to 6pm. We will offer hourly rentals of sit-on-top single and 2-person kayaks, fishing kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (SUP). In addition to kayak and SUP rentals, we will sell snacks such as pretzels, ice cream, and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as small paddling accessories such as water bottles, glasses straps and sunscreen. We will also expand the opportunity for community members to store their personal canoes, kayaks or SUPs near the water with the addition of rack space for rent. Our most popular adult classes are also coming to Olbrich. Join us for a recreational kayak or stand-up paddleboard class, or for our full moon SUP community paddles. We hope in the future to offer additional youth programming at this location.
Rutabaga is all about creating communities where people can gather and learn to love the outdoors, particularly on the water. We are happy to help create such a community, and look forward to helping more people enjoy the lakes we all love and cherish.
For more information about rentals see: www.rutabaga.com/rentals
To learn more about classes see: learn.rutabaga.com
We look forward to seeing you this summer!
Nancy Saulsbury is the Director of Outdoor Programs and Amelia Musser is the Program Coordinator at Rutabaga Paddlesports located at 220 W Broadway - a proud sponsor of LENA!
By Sue Carr, Monona Grove Nursery School
Preschoolers are a bundle of energy and curious about all kinds of things. While they are exploring and playing it is important to provide some activities that aid in the development of the muscles needed to eventually have a comfortable pencil grip. In preschool, these activities can be fun and creative, while still building important muscles. Here are some of our favorites.
We use all kinds of tongs, tweezers, connected chop sticks, and pipettes to pinch, which strengthens the muscles in the thumb and forefinger. For the youngest kids, there are big, easy tongs that can be used to pick up pompoms or cotton balls. For older kids, tweezers can be used to pick of small things like beads or noodles. Think of the old game Operation! We also use pipettes to water color paint or to simply move water from one container to another. All preschoolers love that! The squeezing of the pipette and learning how it works strengthens the same muscles.
Play Doh and Clay:
We expose our kids to some form of playdoh, slime, or clay almost every day. The actions of rolling, pinching, pushing, stretching and kneading not only offer some sensory activities to stimulate the brain or calm the mood, but also builds the muscles in the wrists, hands and fingers. The strengthening of these muscles is key to being able to comfortable hold crayons, markers and pencils for future writing. Some of our favorite play doh add-ons are Potato Head pieces, birthday Candles, rolling pins and cookie cutters, and ice cream scoops. But anything that is washable can be played with at the playdoh table!
MGNS Play Doh Recipe
2 tsp. Cream of tartar 1-cup water
1-cup flour 1TBS.oil
½ cup salt food coloring
Put cream of tartar, flour and salt in pan on stove. Add water oil and coloring. Mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until dough forms a ball.
Cool and kneed. Store the play dough in an air tight container in refrigerator.
On a bigger scale, working on vertical services usually engages more of the larger muscles- strengthening the shoulder, arm and core muscles of the body. We use chalkboard, dry erase boards, easels, and vertical lego walls to create spaces for kids to stand and work vertically. Other ideas would be to tape paper to the wall to allow the kids to draw or paint. Magnet games on the refrigerator, or using washable glass markers on a patio door or a large window are also fun activities. Using a big surface will usually engage the kids to use both hands and practice some of that all important crossing of the midline as well.
Easy Fine Motor Activities:
There are lots of other activities that all parents do that can be used or tweaked to specifically engage fine motor muscles. Stringing beads is an easy one. We use a piece of tape on the end of the yarn to create a hard end to string through and grab, and we sometimes use uncooked noodles (penne or wagon wheels) to string. If yarn is too hard, try using a pipe cleaner for easy stringing. Finger painting is also a great way to use those muscles, especially when you challenge your kiddos to use one or two fingers at time, or make small fingerprints. And simply putting a hole in a container, and having something for your little one work to push through the hole will really exercise those muscles. Pompoms work well, cotton balls, Cheerios.
In the end, all preschool age kids should be exploring and growing at their own rate and with their own choices. But if they are interested, you can easily provide activities that are fun and calming as well as muscle strengthening. Bonus!
Sue Carr is the Director at Monona Grove Nursery School located at 4200 Buckeye Road - a proud sponsor of LENA!
By Lori Scarlett, DVM, Four Lakes Veterinary Clinic
One of my favorite things to do with my dog is go to a local dog park. Letting him play with other dogs, being told how handsome he is, and getting to talk about dogs with other people is a highlight of my weekend and his! Unfortunately, sometimes having to drive a distance to get to a dog park stops me from going.
But now Monona has it's own dog park! This off-leash dog park is next to the Public Works Garage at 851 Femrite Dr. (the corner of Femrite Dr and Edna Taylor Parkway). It is roughly one acre in size – about the size of a soccer field. It is not as big as some of the Madison dogs parks, but certainly is big enough for a nice romp outside with some friends.
Your dog does need to be licensed and have a dog park permit ($30 per year), which gets them more bling on their collar and admittance to all the Dane County dog parks. In order to be licensed, your dog must have an up-to-date rabies vaccination. For the safety of your dog, having distemper, parvo, Bordetella, and influenza vaccines is also a very good idea. These are all contagious and potentially fatal diseases that are easy to protect against.
Because the new park is smaller than some, it is important to know the etiquette for a dog park. First, please don't take your dog if you know he/she doesn't do well with other dogs. When at the park, pay attention to how your dog is interacting with the other dogs and people there. If he is hiding behind you, growling, barking, or charging other dogs, take him home. No one, including your dog, is having a good time. If you are at the park and encounter an aggressive dog with an unresponsive owner, get yourself and your dog somewhere safe, then can call the police to intervene.
Please pick up after your dog. Intestinal parasites are easily spread through dogs parks and cleaning up your dog's poop immediately is the best way to prevent transmission. Some of the parasites carried by dogs can also be contracted by people, so please do the right thing! Having your veterinarian check a stool sample yearly is a good idea and keeping your dog on heartworm preventative year-round will also keep intestinal worms in check.
If your dog isn't spayed or neutered yet or hasn't had all the puppy vaccines (the last one is given after 4 months of age), please wait to take him/her to the dog park. Four Lakes Veterinary Clinic offers a Free Vaccines for Life program that is worth checking into and they also perform spay and neuter surgeries. Getting your dog “fixed” will also decrease the cost of a dog license!
So check out the new Monona off-leash dog park. Remember, a “tired dog is a good dog!”
Dr. Lori Scarlett is the owner-veterinarian at Four Lakes Veterinary Clinic, 4504 Monona Dr - a proud sponsor of LENA!
Update/Correction Notice: City of Monona officials indicated that dogs must be licensed and no other permits or licenses are required at this time. The program will be evaluated for potential charges to non-resident use however that is not the case for at least 2017.
Articles are written and submitted by members of the Lake Edge Neighborhood Association, residents, business owners, community members, and elected officials in the Lake Edge neighborhood or vicinity.