ALWAYS MINDFUL of providing innovative ways to improve the learning environment and well-being of their pupils, the staff of Park Elementary School has introduced two programs to address physical and psychological needs.
With the "Breakfast Buddies" program, the school ensures that the children can have a nutritious meal and not miss any classroom activity. Students go to the cafeteria and get a bag of breakfast items -- but they eat in the classroom.
Pupils who had been having breakfast in the cafeteria were not missing instruction time, but were missing out on the "morning work" of exercises, drills and warm-up activities designed to get them ready for the day.
Assistant Principal Carolyn Keenan is pleased with the number of students taking part in the program. "We used to have between 70 and 80 students daily for breakfast. During the first week of the program it jumped to 121. The highest that we had was 130," she noted.
Park's sixth-graders help make the program a success by filling the "breakfast bags" with utensils and napkins. "This is a big job; 120 bags a day means 600 bags a week," Keenan said.
The other program entails having Teacher Guided Activities (TGAs) instead of recess breaks. Principal Diane Lenzi instituted them to cut down on recess accidents. Now, Park pupils use the time for a learning activity directed by homeroom teachers.
"There could be guided games in the gym, or a visit to the computer lab, art suite or media center," Keenan said. "The students learn a new skill every day. It could be a club activity. They are all guided by a teacher; [it's] not a free-for-all."
Keenan said reactions to the program is positive.
"The teachers like it and the parents like it. There is still an opportunity to go outdoors onto the playground, but it is a teacher with their own homeroom to take care of," she said.
Wine and candlelight
Here's a chance to get into the holiday spirit and support Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts at the same time. The CCCA will sponsor a wine tasting and open house the evening of Dec. 5 at the home of Margaret and Bob Nichols.
The candlelight evening will feature fine wines, holiday foods and a silent auction. Admission is a tax-deductible donation of $50 to CCCA. Tickets are limited.
Information: 410-691-9725 or 410-590-6610.
Senior citizen activities
Susan Knight, a representative of the county Department of Aging's Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program, will speak at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Korean nutrition site, 5502-A Ritchie Highway, Brooklyn Park.
The Brooklyn Park Seniors will meet from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Mondayat the Brooklyn Park Library, 1 E. 11th Ave. All Anne Arundel senior citizens are welcome.
Book and bake sale
Readers of all ages are sure to find something at the book and bake sale scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Brooklyn branch of Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library.
Sponsored by Friends of the Brooklyn Community Library, the event will feature baked goods and inexpensive hardback and paperback books. Proceeds will support Friends activities at the library, 300 E. Patapsco Ave.
School Halloween parade
Belle Grove Elementary students may participate in the school's Halloween parade Friday. Children should not come to school in costume, but they will be permitted to go home at 1: 15 p.m. to change if their parents have provided a signed permission slip.
"Phone call permissions" will not be accepted, the school cautions.
The parade will be held in the front circle of the school. In the event of rain, it will be held indoors.
After school, Belle Grove students in kindergarten through third grade are invited to a masquerade dance from 2: 45 p.m. to 4: 15 p.m. in the multipurpose room. Admission is one canned or other nonperishable food item and a signed permission slip. The food will be distributed to needy families in the community.
Parents will be responsible for transporting their children home after the dance.
Another dance is planned by the PTA of Brooklyn Park Elementary School. A Fall Fling Dance will be held from 6 p.m. to 8: 30 p.m. at the school. Admission is $2 for all pupils. An adult must accompany all children under age 10.
Activities will include costume prizes, games and a bake sale. Music will be provided by a DJ. Information: 410-222-6590.