Early childhood education is important

The U.S. child population continues to increase and grow more diverse — especially in California, Florida and Texas. But the overall rate of 3- and 4-year-olds not attending preschool — 52% — hasn’t changed since 2010, according to the 2019 Kids Count Data Book, which has been tracking child well-being at the state level since 1990.

The report also highlights the steady upward trend in high school graduation rates. “Students who graduate from high school on time have many more choices in young adulthood,” the authors write. “They are more likely to pursue postsecondary education and training, make healthier decisions and engage in less risky behaviors.”

Our daughter, when she was small, attended preschool. She did well in school and graduated on time. She pursued two college degrees and lives a very healthy life. She has never smoked or taken drugs and only occasionally has a glass of wine. Our grandchildren attended preschool. They are currently doing very well in elementary school. Our granddaughter, though, has said she’s not interested in college because it’s just more school. We’ll see what she says in another eight years. Her parents, both college graduates, have told her they want her to go to college.

Working with small children these past five years has made me very aware of how important preschool and kindergarten can be for success in higher grades. Fortunately, Fresno schools offer preschool and transitional kindergarten free of charge. Yet, at Columbia, the preschool is not at capacity. Some parents don’t take advantage of transitional kindergarten for those too young to start regular kindergarten in August. It does take work to get kids enrolled and then to school every day.

Last year I saw one of these children who missed kindergarten, a little boy whose family had a major trauma the year before and had not sent the boy to school. First grade was so hard for him. He did not have the socialization skills to be around other children. He was unable to take directions from the teacher. His academic skills were minimal so the work was hard and he became frustrated. There are others like him who have missed out on those early years of education, nor had parents who taught them number and letter concepts and required satisfactory behavior. Those children struggle in school and then in life.

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Where were you when…

It’s been on the news to remind us. A friend posted the question on Facebook. The OJ Simpson slow-chase in Los Angeles was 25 years ago on Monday evening. Do you remember it? Where were you?

I remember it very well because I was at the home of a church member and we were starting the search for a new pastor. It would be another year before we found the person who would become the pastor, but for that evening we were meeting to discuss the process. The news was on as we arrived and we all watched for a few minutes. Then the tv went off and we went on with our work.

As I remembered the evening, I realized that there are only a few of the committee members still alive. At the time those four remaining members were considered the young people on the committee, yet I was 41 and didn’t feel all that young. In thinking about the past 25 years, I also realized that I will be 91 in another 25 years. Wonder if I’ll still be around to remember the OJ slow-chase on its fiftieth anniversary?

Keeping our days straight

Terry and I were talking about certain events for today when I said it was Flag Day.

Terry:  No, that’s June 11.

Me:  No, I’m pretty sure it’s today, June 12.

Terry:  Today is June 14.

Me:

So, there you have it, dear Reader. Neither of us can keep our days straight. And if you are unsure of what day it is after reading that confusing conversation, it is Friday, June 14, and it is Flag Day in the United States.

Plans change

Sometimes you just got to change up your plans. Like today, for instance. My plan for Wednesday morning had been to be up early and work in the backyard. The forecast is for 106 degrees so I knew I couldn’t be out there long, but could get some pruning done because I would be in the shade.

Tuesday was supposed to be set aside to process the blackberries into jam, but then I got busy running errands and didn’t get home until 1 p.m. Too late to get the jam made and be ready to take Terry back to pick up his car at the mechanic’s at 3:30.

The berries had been picked on Monday morning. I had kept them refrigerated so I knew they were still fresh, but I wanted to get them processed before they sat any longer. The backyard could wait. I now have seven jars of blackberry jam sitting on the kitchen table.

There are four boxes of berries left in the fridge that will go into a blackberry cobbler. I’ll bake that tomorrow morning as the heat has set in for today, and I have a book I picked up from the library yesterday that keeps pulling me in. It’s an old book that most have already read, but I never was interested in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar until I read Three Martini Lunch  by Suzanne Rindell. She listed a series of books that had been inspiration for her novel, with Plath’s being one. There are others that I have requested from the local library, all old books, but unread by me.

Good friends, good food, good times

Monday was a super-duper day. Very hot though, 101 degrees here and close to 100 in San Francisco. We have the air conditioned cars, homes, and businesses. San Francisco does not.

The Ladies Who Lunch went on a short road trip for lunch. An old-time Mexican restaurant in Selma that is in its original location which is a residential area. The family started the cafe back in the 1950s out of their own home and just continued to grow and build in the same place. The food is the same as the 1950s, too. The family has built a dynasty on those recipes.

After lunch we headed further south to a large berry operation where we have been coming once a year for six years. The owner knows us and greets us. We chat about family and crops, prices and tariffs. These are some of the best berries in the country and we always get bfruit that was just picked. I bought a crate of blueberries just for Terry as he likes them with his breakfast cereals and pancakes. I bought a crate of blackberries to make jam, and maybe a cobbler. I was fortunate enough to be chauffeured yesterday by two of the ladies whose husbands love berry cobbler. It will make a nice thank-you gift.

These are perfect days. Warm, sun-filled, with good friends.

My rant for the day

If you have something that doesn’t work

GET RID OF IT.

We have two neighbors with cars that do not work. One hasn’t worked for years. Yet, the cars just keep sitting there. Taking up space. Being an eyesore.

I housesat, many years ago, for a friend who never got rid of what quit working. She just got a new one and set it next to the broken one. Two toasters. One on the floor. One on the kitchen table. Three floor lamps. Two didn’t work. One did. A broken chair. Two desks in the living room piled so high with papers that neither was usable.

Why is it so hard for people to get rid of things?

The wildlife in my small world

I just read a blog post by a writer bemoaning their experience with doves. It made me sad. We have doves here and they are quite delightful. Also squirrels and opossums. I love the wildlife and try hard to work with it so we all coexist. It would make me sad if they should leave.

One neighbor feeds the birds. Another feeds the hummingbirds. I feed the squirrels and the opossums. Of course, we all three have cats and one neighbor has two dogs. We love the animal life that goes on around us. Just recently the neighbor behind us got a rooster. He and I talk every time I’m in the backyard.

I wanted to say all of this on the writer’s blog, but it’s one of those that only allows comments by Bloggers (Google) so decided my thoughts deserved their own blog post!