Saturday, December 20, 2014

Archive: January, 2012

POSTED: Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 12:58 PM

Parents can make themselves nuts trying to figure out what kind of education a child needs. In the scrum of information about test scores, single-sex education, public vs. private, there is one basic principle that parents should try to incorporate, said Tara Martello. She's the mother of a toddler and an occupational therapist who just opened Grow Thru Play, a new Graduate Hospotal spot offering occupational and physical therapy for children, as well as play-based programs.

“I think as a country, we are just off base with what we are doing to our children,” Martello said. “There is not enough play. I see more and more children who can’t come up with things, ideas. We instruct everything. We bombard them.”

In addition to therapy, Grow Thru Play, at 1636 South Street,  offers open play time and classes on handwriting and other activities that many children find challenging. Some schools no longer teach handwriting, but Martello believes it’s a crucial skill that helps children improve sensory skills and do better in school.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 4:00 PM

So it turns out I'm not the only one a little creeped out by the thought of living in New Jersey. Len Lipkin's take on Jersey's mall culture and its implications for parents and children definitely resonated with me.

It also got me thinking about why parents who talk about leaving Philadelphia for the suburbs seem to mention a handful of places - Lower Merion, Narberth, Elkins Park, maybe Jenkintown at the outside. In New Jersey, it seems like the world lives in Haddonfield.

There must be other options out there. It was only through doing a story about parents' school choices that I learned that Wallingford has good schools and is convenient to the city.

POSTED: Monday, January 23, 2012, 5:46 PM

Sunday was a rough night for parents hoping to get their children into the Penn Alexander school. They had to sleep over to nab a limited number of kindergarden spots. The situation seems unfair, but it's hard not to see some positive in it: Parents want to live in the city and send their children to public schools, and they will tolerate a lot of discomfort to do it.

Shouldn't Philadelphia be able to harness that energy?

Here is my story on the wait at Penn Alexander.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 3, 2012, 1:45 PM

It was the day after Christmas, and I had to go to the Cherry Hill Mall for work. Traffic was minimal, a dream for most drivers, but still a nightmare for me. I missed my exit, which meant a couple extra miles of staring at those ugly Jersey highway barriers. Where is a gently landscaped median when you need one?

If our family were to move for schools, Haddonfield, with its porches and restaurants that you can walk to, would be high on the list of possible new locations. But crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge daily, enduring traffic, and staring at those repugnant Jersey barriers (no wonder so many mobsters made their homes in the Garden State; it's so easy to find something heavy to tie around someone's feet) might quickly dilute Haddonfield's charm.

Yes, I know there is PATCO, but my work hours do not make that option inviting, and I'd still be stuck on Jersey highways just to run errands. So I began wondering: "Would I choose a Philly public school, despite worries that it might be a subpar education, to avoid an ugly commute?"

About this blog
In her 12 years at the Inquirer, Miriam Hill has written about everything from politics to gourmet chocolate (Like!) and anxious dogs (adorable trouble).

But only one topic has become a passion: the pleasures and challenges of raising a young child in the city.

Not too long after her son was born four years ago, she started hunting around for day care, which triggered her ongoing search for a good primary school. Public, private or charter? Stay in the city or move to the suburbs?

And then there are the more mundane questions, such as how many games can you play while sitting on a stoop?

Please join her in the conversation about raising children in Philadelphia and about making this city better for kids. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, but her only personal obsession is not football, but Bruce Springsteen. As he might have said, it’s hard to be a parent in the city.

You can also follow Miriam on Twitter here.

Miriam Hill
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