Education for Social Development

Education for Social Development

One of the things I loved best as a child was “dress up”. This type of play always involved delight, drama, laughter , self examination, a flurry of ideas about self-identity.
My first delight in Kindergarten was looking around the room and seeing the play house and play kitchen.
I remember so much about kindergarten, i can only wish for all children the most wonderful first experience in school. So it happened that I came upon this editorial in the NY Times and remembered again some of the wonders of that experience.


Here’s my letter to the editor, scroll down on the link, It’s the last one. 🙂

To the Editor:

As an educator and a parent, I was reminded of a personal experience in Caitlin Daniel’s exploration of the financial and nutritional costs of children’s food preferences.

In 1960, in a Dewey-inspired kindergarten in Southern California, I was treated to “tasting parties.” Our teacher would arrange small pieces of foods like kumquat on a plate for us to taste. The bittersweetness of the kumquat fed the idea that tasting a new food could be an adventure.

American children from cultures beyond the United States’ borders experience many flavors and nutritional boosts that their more assimilated neighbors lose. School multicultural nights and pot lucks capitalize on building community through sharing dishes from many cultures. In our family, our children asked for plantains after tasting them at school, and another mother taught me how to prepare them.

Writing about food and favorite recipes has been a staple of the whole-language curriculum, and it encourages food studies that broaden cultural awareness. Schools can and should support better nutrition, education and community building.





Hand in Hand Begins



A mural, a message, an opportunity to be a part of our community in new ways. A project that would bring people together to make a statement about who we are, our lives and our spirituality. This is what we envision as we begin.  Georga Accola, Kathy Creutzburg and Sarah Lilly gathered at the wall, PSUMC’s 8th St. and Sixth avenue mural  for the adventure of creating a new mural for our church community.

The church council awarded us a grant for the work and now the plans begin to take shape. Kathy is an artist who  works in murals, mosaic and sculpture and has created work with Georga’s school and At-risk teens upstate.

She will work with our church community in workshops that first develop ideas for the mural and then help in it’s installation. Kathy will bring the ideas together in a design and guide us through the process. You can view some of her work at her blog

Georga and Kathy will lead workshops on Sundays this spring to involve our church community and Sunday dinner guests in the process. I am making connections with our youth and other youth in the area in a call for young people to contribute their ideas to the new mural,

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First step: repair the wall and create a neutral surface to work from. This will   require removing the existing mural, patching the wall and then putting on a “skim coat”. It looks like it’s a good time to do some regular maintenance on the wall, too.   I’ll be talking with trustees on how to make that happen.

Meanwhile, I need to contact our youth and other youth groups in the area to see if we can get our surrounding community to have in put into the message of the mural. I would love your input or comments on the process.

PSUMC Mural Project: Hand in Hand

PSUMC Mural Project: Hand in Hand
coffee hour, sanctuary and small groups

coffee hour, sanctuary and small groups

In a time when racial justice seems so hard to find, our church is looking for a way to bring neighbors in among us and reach our mission of doing justice out into the community.

I was contemplating this need recently , as I walked along 8th Street side of the church and noticed again the damage on our mural. I was thinking: “We need a project we could invite the community to work on”. The two ideas intersected in my mind, and I decided to present the idea to our Social Action group and start fleshing out a plan to recreate our mural, interfacing with the community and supporting a message geared towards racial justice and spiritual community.WIN_20150125_131216 WIN_20150125_131157

Long before I became a member, I remember walking past our church and reading the creed; “Hand in hand, we the people of the Park Slope United Methodist Church,black ad white, straight and gay, old and young, rich and poor, unite as a loving community…..”  I remember thinking rather cynically, “How are they going to make that happen?”

When I came through the doors, I became part of a community of like-minded souls, an oasis of kindness, sharing and focus on goodness and justice. That was 1992. Through more than 20 years of Brooklyn life, including 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, I have learned the benefits of belonging to this intentional community.

The mural tells some of our church stories.  As this blog continues, I will share the story of our new mural and its evolution.  Read the rest of this entry

Andrew Cuomo to New York State: Your Teachers Stink. I Will Fire Them. I will Break Their Union.


This lays it out . FYI the Common Core test was administered before teachers had access to curriculum. As ever, once students begin to succeed as a cohort on standardized tests, the bar is arbitrarily raised to create a false crisis. So the politicians re-stoke a fire about blaming teachers without addressing real inequalities: Income, healthcare, stability, the justice system, the list goes on.


Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

The gauntlet that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch picked up with their public correspondence in December has been thrown down.  The Governor announced his plans to revamp and revise education in New York with his State of the State address on January 21st, and it was accompanied by a book detailing his policy proposals.  On teacher evaluation, Governor Cuomo is delivering a massive change — and a direct challenge to community control of their teacher workforce.  If the governor gets his way, 50% of teachers’ evaluations will be controlled by students’ annual progress on standardized tests, and no teacher rated “ineffective” in either half of the evaluation will be scored higher than “developing.”   The other 50% of annual evaluations will be comprised of two observations, one by a school administrator and another by an “independent observer” in the form of an administrator from…

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New York: Government Corruption Fighter Endorses Teachout and Wu


I am ready. Let’s shake things up! Being out of the news loop this summer, I had no idea that Cuomo’s running mate Kathy Hochul is a right winger. Learn more about Zepuyr Teachout and vote for her Tuesday. We’ll send a message to Cuomo and to Albany to “Get off the fence!”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Janos Martin, former counsel to the Moreland Commission, which was created by Governor Andrew Cuomo to investigate political corruption, then disbanded by Cuomo, has endorsed Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu, who are challenging Cuomo in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

In his statement, he recounted the travails of the Moreland Commission. And he said,

“When I joined the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption (“the Moreland Commission”) as special counsel during the summer of 2013, I knew Albany’s history of corruption, and relished the opportunity to investigate it and offer ideas for reform. Like many of those who participated in or followed our work, I found hotbeds of scandal, apathy and mediocrity beyond even my low expectations. The person who disappointed me most during my time on the Commission was Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“The opportunity that has been lost by the Commission’s neutering, then disbandment, is more significant than most people realize…

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Neuro Date 9.4.14


Insight into work life of a critical care nurse. Awesome.

RN Speaks

Day two, multiple Code Grays were called on the patient. The psychiatrist extended the 14-day hold. The patient became increasingly violent and was put in four point restraints. Additionally, the sitter was exchanged for a psychiatric tech whose profession it is to work with such patients, smart move.  I am so glad he is not mine. 

We are low on our census, and have only 13 patients. We do not have a monitor tech to watch the heart rhythms, so we will have to do double duty. My patient acuity is not as high as it normally is, so I help the other nurses with their patients.

It is noisy today. We have a screamer in room 2, a loud moaner who calls “why why why” in room 5, a VIP in room 6 whose family and friends come in abundance to pay homage, and a patient with poor impulse…

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Homes are Containers for Love


Containers for love.


Homes are containers for love. They are where comforting, comfortable things, happen. They are the places of rest and refuge. And they are places you share with family.

Without love, they are empty places. Loneliness is being in one of these places.

Places, too, are containers for love and are never truly empty, for they are containers for God=love.

When a family moves to a new place, they move their love into the new home.

When you experience it, God’s love is present throughout the places in the world. The globe is a container for God’s love.

Your parent’s love for you, yours for your children, your beloved, are all expressions of God’s love. Without God’s love, none of these could exist. Is the act of expressing, bringing into being, not loving?

Giving, understanding, helping, are all loving.

Yet all places can also be empty, if love is not perceived there. Stay open to the presence of God.

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