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Early Education


My son is only four. So as fall arrives and other families are out school shopping, we're still happily strolling the beach. But, as Oliver reminded me recently, schooling starts at home, long before the first bell rings.

One night, he asked when I'd be dead ... which shows both the depth of his thoughts and his weakness with verb tenses. Chattering away another night before falling asleep, he asked whether there was a lot of blood when he was born; I had a C-section. On another recent occasion, he asked me to explain the removal of the manure truck that broke through a building on Main Street in St. Albans. I realized I didn't conclusively know the answers to any of these questions, so we discussed the possible answers instead. He's not in school yet, but he sure is learning.

Much of this month's issue of Kids VT is devoted to school-related issues, including gifted education. Oliver's probably not gifted — although, as a baby he produced a phenomenal amount of drool — but I'm OK with having a normally abled child. In fact, reading this month's feature story by Aimee Picchi on gifted education (page 20) made me realize how complicated it can be to raise super-smart kids.

This month's Kids VT also reports on the immunizations that children are required to get before starting school. Ken Picard's feature (page 26) examines differing perspectives on these vaccinations. An annotated photo illustrates the ins and outs of backpacks, and this month's craft covers books with paper bags and contact paper. In "Go Ask Dad", local fathers compare notes on negotiating with school-phobic kids.

From my perspective, it's great preparation for... next year.

— Kate Laddison, associate editor

Did you ever spend time in the principal's office when you were in school?

I never had detention, but I was forced to mulch the school grounds one Saturday as punishment for something that I cannot remember, conveniently enough. — Maryellen Apelquist, calendar writer

I played varsity where delinquency was concerned. I earned a two-day suspension from high school for some fisticuffs my freshman year. My behavior improved, but there was also some backsliding. — Erik Esckilsen, writer

Nope, detention-free. I was never one to rock the boat during school because I just wanted to get out of there! — Stina Booth, writer/photographer

Nope. Not even close. I'm a rule follower. — Kristin Fletcher, writer

I mouthed off to one of my teachers in seventh and eighth grade so much that he referred to a table in the back of his classroom as my "office." — Cathy Resmer, editor

I got in trouble all the time. I was a chatterbox who just couldn't stop talking. I felt like no matter what, I could not control the flow of words coming out of my mouth. When I have taught as a substitute, I empathize with kids struggling to stay quiet. I know that sometimes you really just can't help it! — Sky Barsch Gleiner, writer

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.