A free online educational course for parents and family caregivers of children and young adults aged 21 or younger will soon be offered by the Southwest Connecticut Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. — an announcement from NAMI Southwest CT
The six-session course starts Oct. 8 and is open to those helping care for children and adults, ages 21 or younger who are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition or who have already been diagnosed. The NAMI Basics course will be held on Thursday mornings, from 9 to 11:45 a.m., beginning Thursday Oct. 8, 2020.
STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way is launching an expanded, multi-lingual program for children experiencing, or at risk of, developmental delays. The enhanced program, generously supported in part by The Community Fund of Darien, New Canaan Community Foundation and other generous grants, expands services from birth through age 5, with additional service options for children up to age 8. — an announcement from Star, Inc., Lighting the Way
The goal of the program is to assist families throughout the preschool years and beyond by strengthening the continuity of therapy and teaching that will benefit families with basic short-term needs as well as those with greater challenges. Likewise, to be able to serve all income levels, STAR is an approved provider accepting Medicaid, most medical insurances and private pay. STAR offers developmental evaluations, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and special education.
Three of the popular live-streaming educational animal programs offered by the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will be available with closed captioning in Spanish and English Aug. 11, 12 and 13. Each of the programs is free (a donation is suggested). — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium
Closed captioning will be added to these live programs on Zoom: “All About Sea Turtles” on Tues., Aug. 11 at 2 p.m.; “All About Seals” on Wed., Aug.
Parents are invited to an online panel discussion about what you can say or do to help your children talk comfortably about race, how to answer their questions about what is happening and why, and how to teach them to become resilient in these redefining times will be presented Wednesday, July 1 by the India Cultural Center (ICC) of Greenwich. The panel discussion, starting at 7 p.m., features Rachel Jean-Baptiste, PhD, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at King School in Stamford; Dr. Madhu Mathur, a pediatrician; and Sunitha Prasannakumar, a licensed clinical social worker. You can register for this free event here. The discussion around diversity and inclusion has become increasingly important. As the country begins to transition back to life before COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement has more momentum than ever with growing discussions surrounding race and discrimination.
With many high school students concerned about the recent police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and dramatic events sparked by it, Darien High School sent an email Thursday morning to parents with web links to information geared toward students on racism and police violence. SEE ALSO: DHS Principal’s Recommended Source for Reading About Racism Denounced on National Fox News Show (June 6)
DHS Principal Ellen Dunn sent the email. Among the resources it points to are several that her message emphasized, including links to:
— an interview with “a clinical psychologist at the University [of Pennsylvania] studying racial literacy and racial trauma”
— a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, has detailed materials for educators and families on teaching about race, racism, and police violence
— three links to Web pages with information “for educators in how we can proactively help children think about and process these difficult ideas” from the National Association for School Psychologists, which was being used by the school district for guidance in addressing the topics with students.
“As events unfold around the country, the Darien Public School District joins other organizations and individuals in the call to action to address and end systemic racism. […]
“As a District, we are sharing resources with the community that will guide our work moving forward in the race conscious education of our students and support your discussions as families.” […]
“Engaging in difficult conversations is a critical step in fostering acceptance and embracing differences.
Every year, the Depot Youth Center provides balloons that graduating seniors find outside (see below for details), but two other ways of celebrating graduating students are also happening this year, when the pandemic can threaten spirits and will certainly change the traditional commencement event. First, An “adopt-a-senior” program for families with elementary and middle school students has been started where those families drop off “a homemade card or sign, a flower from the yard, or a small token at the student’s home,” according to an announcement in the Middlesex Parents Association newsletter. Families who sign up are assigned a student and given an address (in an email to be sent next week). The dropoffs are supposed to take place anytime in the five-day period from June 1 to 5. (See the announcement below.)
Second, Middlesex Middle School parents can order a yard sign from the Depot for graduating 8th graders who are going on to high school next year.
A webinar to help support parents as we begin to start thinking about
re-entering the world after the long quarantine will be held from 7:30 to 9 p.m., Monday, June 1. The event on Zoom is free, but you need to register first. The presentation is sponsored by the YWCA Darien/Norwalk Parent Awareness and the Community Fund of Darien, with the support of the Thriving Youth Task Force, Darien High School and Middlesex Middle School Parents Association. “Are you ready for Re-Entry? A Conversation with Parents About
Supporting Our Teens” will be presented by Cristina Young, a licensed clinical social worker and parent educator.
To the editor,
We are writing to update you on the news surrounding the inaugural Senior Send-Off. Given the uncertainty surrounding social distancing policies for large gatherings, the Darien High School Parents Association (DHSPA) has come to the difficult conclusion that we cannot hold our event as originally envisioned. However, we are currently hard at work planning safe and creative ways to honor all 361 members of the DHS Class of 2020 over the course of the next month. On Tuesday, May 12, parent volunteers placed signs in the yards of each DHS senior. We are grateful to The Depot for their assistance in this project.
Rowayton Arts Center is offering two new weekly online art classes for children in Kindergarten through Grade 5. — an announcement from Rowayton Arts Center
Both classes will be taught on Zoom by Muffy Pendergast, the well known “Empress” of New Haven’s annual Giant Puppet and People Making Mayhem Parade. Zoom has now made it possible to share her creative teachings with the students of our community. The classes will be age appropriate and will focus on teaching the various elements of art through engaging and fun-filled projects, using items you already have in your house. Any extra supplies will be delivered to homes on a weekly basis.
At 12 noon today, Thursday, April 16, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz will host a Virtual-Town Hall regarding some of the health and safety resources available to support Connecticut children and families. Registration in advance is required. The Virtual-Town Hall will feature the Tri-Chairs of the Council on Women and Girls Health & Safety Subcommittee:
—Department of Children and Families, Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes
—Office of Early Childhood, Commissioner Beth Bye
—Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon
Register online here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Editor’s note: This information was passed on to Darienite.com and other news organizations in town by First Selectman Jayme Stevenson.
Darien High School is shut off to all traffic, other than for COVID-19 testing, “in order to eliminate the public from gathering in a manner that risks the spread of COVID-19 within our community,” First Selectman Jayme Stevenson declared in a late Friday afternoon proclamation. Also, all public baseball and softball fields in town, both those at town parks and schools, along with the batting cages at McGuane Park “are hereby ordered closed,” the proclamation states. The order banning vehicles only applies to Darien High School and is not “applicable to the other schools within the district until it becomes necessary to do so,” the proclamation states. The order takes effect immediately and “shall remain in effect for the duration of the emergency unless earlier modified by the Chief Executive Officer,” the proclamation said. “[T]here is a need to eliminate public gatherings at Darien High School and elsewhere so as to eliminate the possible risks of the spread of COVID-19,” Stevenson says in the proclamation.
The Bruce Museum in Greenwich is presenting online short videos and descriptions of projects kids, teens and families can do at home as you socially isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s the announcement about the program series, called “Digital Weekends,” from the Bruce Museum:
Digital Weekends with the Bruce are fun, hands-on art and science projects for you and your family. Over the next several weekends, teaching artist Grayson Kennedy and Youth and Family Programs Manager Megan Brown will lead you in an online activity based on exhibitions at the Bruce Museum. Use the linked videos and write-ups to make something fun and creative while you’re home. This week, for our first project, we will explore the artwork of L. A. Ring, whose paintings featured in the exhibition On the Edge of the World: Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring from SMK – the National Gallery of Denmark.
While closed to the public for now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich is posting weekly activities involving STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math) for kids in Grades 1 through 5 stuck at home. From the museum’s announcement:
Manager of School and Community Programs, Corinne Flax has created weekly STEAM activities for families with children at home. These weekly activities will focus on basic STEAM concepts. Learners will get the chance to design, test, modify, experiment, hypothesize and much more. A little about the series, At Home STEAM Activities:
● The series is for children ranging from 1st through 5th Grades. Each activity can take as little as 30 minutes or as much as an entire afternoon, depending on the interest level of your learners.
State Rep. Matt Blumenthal has started a series of Facebook Live seminars for students of all ages. His next installment, at 1 p.m., Thursday, is on how to run for office. “I’ll talk about how to get politically involved & run a campaign, then answer questions. Students of all ages welcome. Tune in & share!”
The Depot Youth Center is using the internet to connect with youth and parents, with three webinars coming up and various Depot groups now online, the organization announced. Programs for Youth
“Teen programs and clubs have been moved to an online platform, including Jesse Lewis Choose Love, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), GNO (Girls Night Out), The Garden Club, the Volunteer Club, Student Governing Board, Respect Works and more,” according to an announcement Darienite.com received Monday. “The hope is for the kids to better manage this crisis together and continue to have a forum in which to connect with one another to alleviate the natural rise of anxiety and depression that social isolation can bring,” the announcement said. Email links have been sent to Depot members. Webinars for Parents
From the announcement:
The Depot will remain a source of support for the parent community as well — we are focusing to provide webinars and online support on subjects that are top of mind right now.