yoga in LA

Family Yoga Expands at One Down Dog

Yoga is a meditative practice that many use to find calm and inner peace. So, why not make it a family affair? One Down Dog is known for its family-oriented yoga classes and it is expanding. New kids' classes just launched. Having offered prenatal, baby and me, toddler and me, and family yoga classes for some time, kids' classes were a natural extension of the studio's growing clientele. "After having my son, I realized how...

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Free Music-Tech Classes for Girls Come to Pasadena

In 2011, Erin Barra, an associate professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, began a music revolution by teaching music technology classes to elementary and middle school girls across the country. Beats by Girlz has reached young women in New York, Boston, Minneapolis and San Francisco – and Barra is now bringing the program to Pasadena. “The creation of Beats by Girlz started back at a workshop the Lower...

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Ultimate Frisbee Gets New Name and More Fun

  In 2024, the Olympic Games might come to L.A. And one of the possible new additions to the roster of athletic events is Ultimate (originally called Ultimate Frisbee). That gives your kids plenty of time to jump on the Ultimate bandwagon – and Southern California Youth Ultimate (SCYU) is ready to help. “Now is the time, more than ever, for L.A. to take the lead on this new and...

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Small Books With a Big Mission for Multilingual Kids

Board books and babies just go together. But when L.A. moms Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein shopped for their little ones, they didn’t find any that reflected the Latino culture they grew up with. “We both knew there was something missing for our children,” says Rodriguez. Best friends since childhood, the two worked together to create Lil Libros, a line of simple board books that teach letters, numbers, shapes and...

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choir programs in la

Choir Programs Let Kids Sing a Song

Given the chance, most kids love to sing and lots of L.A. programs will help them tune in  As Artistic Director Misha Shtangrud plays the piano to start a rehearsal for MUSYCA Children’s Choir, he sings, “Hello everybody, yes indeed, let’s make music, yes indeed.” His young students joyfully sing along, clearly enjoying the upbeat music and seamlessly transitioning to “Do Re Mi” and “Seasons of Love.” The kids, ages...

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The Importance of Sticking with Enrichment

When interest fades, should kids quit or power through?  When Natasha Vogt, a San Fernando Valley mother of two, watched her younger daughter enthusiastically perform in her dance recital, she breathed a sigh of relief. Earlier, her 4-year-old had decided she wanted to quit tap and ballet lessons, but had been convinced to stick with it at least until her recital. “She enjoyed being on stage so much that we...

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Very Special Arts Festival Celebrates Children of All Abilities

As I walked into the courtyard of The Music Center this morning I couldn’t help but smile. Children were everywhere — singing, dancing, and making art. More than 5,000 K-12 students of all abilities from all parts of L.A. County came together for the 38th Annual Very Special Arts Festival. More than 130 schools attended this year’s festival, celebrating students’ achievements in visual and performing arts. Eighty school groups participated...

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positive parenting

Finding Diversity in Children’s Books

Five Easy Ways to Find Inclusive Reads Your Kids Will Love “There were tons of brown kids just like me running around the neighborhood where I grew up in East L.A. in the mid-90s, but I never came across a single book about anyone who looked like me until high school,” says Julia Casas, youth services librarian for the Santa Monica Public Library’s Ocean Park Branch. When Casas, a Latina,...

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Chat Room: Molly Newman: Shepherding Students Toward The Arts – and Beyond

Molly Newman was the kid who loved books, stories and writing. She followed her love for literature and started her career as a high school English teacher. As the Director of College Counseling for Idyllwild Arts Academy, she now helps students follow their passion for the arts to college and beyond. Idyllwild Arts, located in the pine-forested San Jacinto Mountains, is an internationally acclaimed residential arts high school with programs...

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community news

Art Lessons That Think Inside the Box

When a friend bemoaned the limited art instruction options for her son in their school and community, Lauren Perelmuter, founder of Art to Grow On Children’s Art Center, sent the boy a Frank Lloyd Wright lesson in a box. His mom was so thrilled that she brought the program into her second-grade classroom, and The Art Box Academy was born. Art to Grow On offers mobile art classes in schools,...

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The Importance of Enrichment for Your Child

“Enrichment” is a catch-all term used to describe just about anything a child does after school – from supervised kickball on the playground to advanced music or performing arts instruction or Olympic-style training. But many of these programs play a vital role for students looking beyond traditional academics for a chance to shine. They give kids the opportunity to discover new interests or develop existing talents that might not be...

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fun ideas for kids

Angel City Derby Gets Girls into Four-Wheel Drive

It’s Saturday morning, and a couple dozen girls age 7-18 are skating around a Gardena warehouse on old-fashioned four-wheel skates. As their coach, Shilow “RegulateHer” Castro, shouts instructions, they pair up and practice nudging each other out of the oval track striped on the cement floor. The girls wear helmets, knee and elbow pads and wrist guards, which are standard for their sport: roller derby. Their team, Angel City Junior...

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special needs

Sign-ups Open For The Miracle Project Fall Theater Classes

The Miracle Project – an innovative program that uses theater, music and movement to help individuals with autism and other disabilities build self-confidence, communication skills and friendships – is kicking off its fall schedule of courses in September. Space is limited, and early registration is strongly recommended. Several classes will be held Tuesdays at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts (9390 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; www.thewallis.org) from Sept....

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fun ideas for kids

A Kiss of Creativity Comes to Encino

A new art studio that caters to kids opened this spring at Encino Town Center, teaching arts skills while allowing children’s self-directed creativity to flourish. Petit Bizoo, “a small kiss” in French, serves ages 4 and up, and offers mommy-and-me classes for toddlers and unique workshops for adult art lovers as well. “I want to teach art and awareness to families, schools, adults and children. [To show them] that art...

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Back-to-school Readiness For Music Students

As a piano teacher and the founder of Music Teacher LA, I am often asked how to help young music students get ready for back-to-school time. For families whose children are taking private music lessons, such readiness is essential to ensure that children have a smooth transition from a summer of laid-back music study or vacation to motivational weekly music lessons. Additionally, feeling confident and prepared helps kids to begin...

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positive parenting

Chat Room with Rosalie Tucker: Creating Cultural Empathy Through the Arts

Rosalie Tucker grew up loving the spotlight. Her passion for dance and performing began at age 5 and continued through college. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree in World Arts and Cultures and Choreography at UCLA, she discovered another passion – arts education. For Tucker, dance and theater were always the gatewayS to explore the larger issues of social justice and cultural understanding. As the Head of School and Teacher Programs...

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community news

Ballet for All Kids Relocates to Agoura Hills Facility

Ballet for All Kids (BFAK) has a new home and more space for children and adults of all abilities to enjoy their classical ballet training programs. BFAK has relocated from Westlake Village to Agoura Hills. The new facility opened Aug. 1, and will offer an expanded class schedule to include ballet, tap and jazz, belly dancing and contemporary. Additional classes are also held at the Los Angeles Ballet Academy. “We are so...

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positive parenting

Tips to Help Your Child Deal With Recital Nerves

As the end of the school year draws near, we are entering into “recital” season. Your child may soon be participating in a dance recital or dance show. It is normal for them to be excited about the upcoming performance. In fact, these nerves are a sign of energy. Nerves are often transformed into an exciting on-stage charisma and a successful dance performance. But how do you help your child...

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The Best View of Our Planet – From Our Planet

As we celebrate the Earth this month, the California Science Center offers visitors a unique look at the planet we are trying to protect. Presented in IMAX and IMAX 3D, “A Beautiful Planet,” narrated by Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence, gives moviegoers a never-before-seen glimpse of Earth from space and provides an increased understanding of our planet and galaxy. The film will screen five times daily, April 29-June 30. Made...

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Visit Book Fest and YALLWEST in April

New readers and longtime bibliophiles alike will uncover much to love at Los Angeles events this month. April presents both the 21st edition of L.A. Times Festival of Books and the second volume of the Youth and Young Adult Book Festival, better known as YALLWEST. The weekend of April 9-10, the USC campus (Jefferson Boulevard and Figueroa Street, L.A.) will be stacked with booksellers and book lovers. The Festival of...

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New York Toy Fair – Unplugged

I made my annual trek to New York in February to attend the Toy Industry of America’s Toy Fair, a trade show that features hundreds of thousands of new toys, games and novelties from more than 1,200 exhibitors. It was worth braving the record-low temps and snow flurries of Manhattan for a sneak peek at the products hitting stores this spring or fall. Drones, robots and toys with integrated apps...

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Zaniac Brings Play-Based STEM to Santa Monica

STEM learning is all the rage these days, and its eponymous subjects – science, technology, engineering and math – have enormous potential for engaging learners in meaningful and rewarding enrichment. Zaniac taps into that capacity with its after-school centers in eight states throughout the U.S. In February, Zaniac opened its first California learning center in Santa Monica. Zaniac’s founders set out to create a place where kids in kindergarten through...

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Meet L.A.’s Hummingbirds

Los Angeles is crammed with contradiction. We are plagued by some of the world’s ugliest traffic, yet Terry Masear, best-selling author of “Fastest Thing On Wings: Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood,” says we’re also home to more beautiful hummingbirds than any city on Earth. Angelenos’ increased sightings of these flying jewels are due in large part to the conservation efforts of hummingbird rehabbers like Masear. Locals who put up feeders for...

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8 Creativity Boosters for Kids

One of our jobs as parents is to find new ways to inspire and encourage our children’s curiosity, creativity and interest in the world around them. Try these eight tips to spark your child’s inner artist, actor or architect. Role Playing. How often have you heard the words, “Mom, can you play with me?” And what kind of games do our kids want to play most? The most exciting and...

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Shop Talk: Music 101

Whether you’re a music listener, novice player or skilled musician, these treasures will fit nicely into your repertoire.

Early Music Lessons

Is Your Child Ready for Piano Lessons?

Parents who enroll their children in music lessons can provide a powerful boost for their youngsters’ overall development. A number of studies suggest that formal music lessons help develop hand-eye coordination, improve language skills, teach children to use both the left and right side of the brain simultaneously, instill confidence and develop discipline, patience and music appreciation. Additionally, studies show that adults who played instruments during childhood have sharper hearing...

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Fifth Graders Take Over the Music Center for Blue Ribbon Fest

More than 3,100 fifth grade students – more than 18,000 over three days – from throughout Los Angeles County will simultaneously perform a choreographed Hip-Hop dance on The Music Center Plaza as part of the 46th Annual Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival Feb. 17-19. As California’s longest-continuing arts education initiative, The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival has introduced more than 830,000 students to the power of the performing arts, despite school budget...

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12 Great Books for Black History Month

Your child may be awash in historical stories of notable African- American heroes this Black History Month. We’d like to add to the conversation with our list of relatable stories that will help your child see themselves in children from different backgrounds. Here we present books that feature young characters of African descent, among others, and show them working together through fictional and a few lesser-known historical situations. This list...

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Get Ready For a Cultural Free-For-All

The SoCal Museums is a group representing more than 20 area museums. This collection of regional cultural institutions covers a wide range of interests -- from Tyrannosaurus rex to TV sets, ancient masterpieces to astronauts and the Wild West to wildflowers. For the 11th year, the group has organized Museums Free-For-All Day, Jan. 30, where institutions admit visitors free. Participating institutions range from big names such as the Broad, Getty...

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Summer Camp 2016

Rethinking Summer Camp

Seek out options that create a stronger sense of self. In choosing a summer camp, hours, location and schedules matter, but if you dig deeper, you can book a camp experience that gives your child more than just a place to hang out. While a good amount of the school year has likely been focused on achievement, fitting in, doing what everyone else is doing and being a “good” student,...

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Karate Moviemaking For Kids

If you’re tired of listening to the “soundtrack” of your kids acting out improvised kung fu scenes in the living room, focus that energy in a productive direction by signing them up for Karate Moviemaking Class at the Pacific Martial Arts dojo (2614 Arthur St., Ste. D, L.A.). The course boasts knowledgeable teachers and plenty of fun ideas for kids. Taught in partnership with Coding For Treasure computer science center...

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Families Can Get Moving at The Wallis

Continuing its partnership with L.A.’s Invertigo Dance Theatre, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills is offering a new session of three public dance/movement courses on Fridays beginning Jan. 22. These three intergenerational courses—Invert/ED’s Tiny Tots Move and Groove, Dancing Through Life and Dancing Through Parkinson’s—provide toddlers and guardians, older adults and people living with Parkinson’s disease and other degenerative diseases an inviting environment specially designed...

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Nontraditional Sports That Think Outside the Ball

Jennifer Jones first introduced her daughters to parkour on the streets of New York. “We traveled to New York in 2014, when my daughters were 7 and 8 and my stepdaughter was 15. I was concerned about the younger ones wanting to be carried as we walked 20 blocks at a time,” says Jones, owner of Market clothing boutique in Brentwood, “so I thought outside of the box and set...

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Read Aloud Like a Rock Star

Seven Secrets from Voice-Over Actors, Teachers and Literacy Experts Early in my time volunteering with BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), I picked up my first valuable lesson on what not to do when reading to kids. On that fresh, September morning, my read-aloud selection for the 20 eager third graders gathered before me at Paseo del Rey Elementary in Playa del Rey was an educational but – in...

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Master Gardeners 90210

Your kids can get serious about spinach and become pros at peas with Junior Master Gardener classes in the demonstration garden at Greystone Mansion & Gardens, 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills. Registration is underway for the eight-week course, which begins Jan. 10. Gardeners ages 6-12 can learn to grow a vegetable garden – and learn the benefits of locally grown, organic food – while developing critical-thinking skills and confidence....

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BARK Dogs Help Children Fetch New Reading Skills

Between 1997 and 2006, Long Beach resident Josie Gavieres raised six puppies to work with Guide Dogs for the Blind. The last dog she raised, Groucho, had an especially sweet temperament, but didn’t qualify for the program. Gavieres decided to take advantage of his gentle disposition in a different way. “I had always wanted to be a first-grade teacher because I think reading is so important,” Gavieres says, “so I...

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DJing and Music Producing For Kids

As a young teenager, I always looked for something that would allow me to express myself. I tried taking piano lessons for two years, but felt that there was something missing. As amazing as it was to play music by legends such as Beethoven, I didn’t feel that I owned a piece of it. I always had the desire to perform for a crowd and create something of my own....

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - Oct 27: The Wallis presents "Arturo Sandoval's Master Class" at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on October 27th, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

Growing Arts Enrichment at The Wallis

Arts education programs at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts get a major portion of their funding through the GRoW at the Annenberg Foundation. And when Mark Slavkin stepped into his position as director of education at the Beverly Hills venue in January, there was plenty of growing to do. The Wallis, which launched its third season of programming in the fall, was originally intended as a space...

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Tips For Buying Your Child an Instrument

The holidays are at hand and you want to surprise your musically inclined child with a brand-new instrument. Or maybe your rental is due in a month and you would rather put money into an instrument you own. First, I want to applaud you for making this important investment into your child’s musical education and enrichment. A top-quality instrument can provide enjoyment for many years. But what do I look...

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L.A. Winter Break Camps For Kids

The winter holidays bring plenty of cheer and fun ideas for kids, but also a two- or three-week break from school. Whether that has you scrambling for childcare, or just for a way to distract the kids from life’s many small screens, you are in luck. Because Los Angeles offers a flurry of winter camp possibilities that give kids a cool way to spend their vacation. And they’re not just...

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L.A. Zoo Offers New Family Classes

Have you ever wanted your family to explore the world of animals, learning about the many different ways they use their tails? Or how patterns on fur, feathers, scales and skin help animals avoid predators? Or why animals make their homes in unusual locations? Or which adaptations help certain animals survive extreme cold or heat? The L.A. Zoo introduces four programs to help children and their parents discover all this...

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L.A. Language Schools for Kids

Los Angeles boasts a diverse culture where many languages are spoken, and there are many opportunities for children to add enrichment to their education by picking up a second or even a third language. Studies show that children who speak more than one language can reap benefits such as increased attention and focus, preparation for work in an increasingly global economy and flexible thinking skills. For young children, learning a...

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Messy Enrichment Programs Your Kids Will Love

Once upon a time, children amused themselves with their two hands, making mud pies outdoors, painting pictures inside, exploring, experimenting – and often getting dirty in the process. These days, those little hands are more likely to be occupied with a keyboard or a game controller, but that doesn’t mean children don’t still like to get messy now and again. These fun local enrichment programs encourage kids to use their...

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Youth Art Contest

Enter the State Parks Young Artists Poster Contest

If you love taking your family outdoors for inspiration, you can’t do better than Southern California’s state parks. Have your kids turn that inspiration into artwork, and they could win a $50 Subway gift card and some cool State Parks swag. The California State Parks Foundation is looking for poster art that showcases why state parks are important to California kids. Entries into the Summer Youth Art Contest will be...

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Summer Sessions, Fall Weekends Coming Up at Camp for Kids With Serious Illnesses

There are still a few summer sessions left at The Painted Turtle, which provides a year-round, life-changing environment full of enrichment and authentic camp experience for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The Painted Turtle supports children’s medical needs, inspires them to reach beyond their illnesses, and provides care, education and respite for their families. There will be a session for campers with liver disease and transplants, primary immune deficiency...

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Three Powerful Ways to Motivate Summertime Music Practice

As a teacher, I am frequently asked how to encourage children to practice during summer break and school holidays. Some experts believe children who do not practice (or rarely practice) during summer will need one additional month of practice to recover their skill at the end of the holiday. So, what can you do? Get involved. Ask your child about the piece he or she is working on. Sit with...

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A Different Drummer

Justin Lack opens a rocking music school for kids in North Hollywood. In a small studio in North Hollywood, a young guy who could only be a musician is moving gear into the newly cleaned out space. “It’s always been my goal to run my own music school,” says Justin Lack. “I want to teach kids my way, which is as much music appreciation as learning a specific instrument. It’s...

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Five Reasons Your Child Should Learn Chinese

It’s no secret that getting into college is harder than ever. More students are applying, and many are applying to multiple schools to ensure they are accepted to multiple schools and have options. According to The Washington Post, admission rates at top colleges are dropping. Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Stanford only admit 5 to 5.3 percent of candidates. Even state schools are becoming more difficult to get...

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Summer Activities For Tomorrow’s STEM Girls

Startling statistics and personal experience came together and inspired Sandy Marshall, founder of the NASCAR Foundation, to create a program called Project Scientist. Women fill just 25 percent of jobs in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (popularly known as STEM). “I was reading the research on why there were so few women and girls in STEM,” Marshall explains. “I began to reflect on my own history of...

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Enrichment and Beyond

For children interested in any kind of extracurricular activity – from sports to science to the arts – parent involvement and support are vital. While this often doesn’t go much farther than picking up and dropping kids off, signing a few forms and maybe buying snacks for the team, parents face a world of opportunities for bringing their children’s enrichment experiences home as well. Decades of research shows how vital...

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10 Ways To Show (not tell) Your Child Reading Matters to You

You’ve told your child reading is important, but your actions are far louder than words. Set a good parenting example for your child by showing how important reading is to you and your entire family. Here are ten ways to show (not tell!) your child reading is important. Let your child see you reading. Parents frequently read when children are tucked away asleep. Let them see you reading. When they...

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Theater Improv Games are Fun Ideas For Kids

Some kids are naturally gregarious and social, and have no trouble making friends or speaking up in class. Others are shy, struggle to make connections with others, and dread being called on by the teacher – even when they know the answer. Theater improv games can help shy kids and those who need help with social skills, and are fun for all. Parents looking for fun ideas for kids will...

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get lit

Get Lit Brings Poetry to L.A. Schools

On Nov. 23, I had the pleasure of attending “The Poetry of Television” hosted by Get Lit – Words Ignite. The event was held to commend some of television’s best writers and to honor Academy Award-winner Alan Ball (American Beauty) with the annual IGNITE award. The gala was held at The Dodgers Stadium Club and featured insightful performances from the Get Lit Players and speeches from Alan Ball and former...

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Finding Great Educational Apps for Your Kids

It’s amazing to see how education and information are changing, and how that rapid change is largely being driven by handheld devices. Children today have access to so many opportunities, largely because of the plethora of mobile apps. But are children spending their screen time learning, or just being entertained? A national survey of parents of kids ages 2 to 10 released early this year by the Joan Ganz Cooney...

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6 Essentials For Kids’ Music Lessons

Why do children lose interest in music lessons within the first six months? After listening to many parents’ stories, I wondered. In my experience teaching and running a music school, I saw only a few dropouts after six months of studying. I asked several students’ parents and found some common factors that kept kids engaged in music: In-person experiences with a music teacher: There are lots of online music lessons...

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How Enrichment Helps Shy Kids Blossom

It’s no surprise that Los Angeles – where adults spend a lot of time seeking balance – is a hotbed of enrichment programs for kids. But for shy or insecure children, jumping into a brand-new activity can be intimidating and overwhelming. And for their parents, it can be downright daunting to push a reserved child out of her or his comfort zone in the name of “personal growth.” It usually...

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Kids Acting Up: Local theater classes offer a world of opportunity for children to take center stage

What do you do when your kids act up? Since the first film studios opened in Hollywood more than a century ago, people have flocked to Los Angeles to become movie stars. So it should be no surprise that Southern California is home to a huge number of acting schools for adults and kids alike. If your child is interested in acting, setting goals will help you sort your options....

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The Value of Pretend Play

By Patti Rommel, Director of Research and Development at Lakeshore Learning Materials Does your child love to dress up as a fearless superhero and conquer menacing villains, or reenact a scene from his or her favorite movie with friends? Maybe your little one can transform a cardboard box into a bottomless treasure chest … with just his or her imagination! If so, your child is engaging in pretend play, an...

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Step Up Summer Learning! Seven Simple Ways to Help Prevent Summer Slide

By Patti Rommel, Director of Research and Development at Lakeshore Learning Materials As the clock slowly ticks down to the final ring of the school bell, kids everywhere dream of those long days of summer filled with endless playtime and carefree fun. However, while this break from the classroom gives kids the chance to relax and revive before the next school year, it can also have another, unintended effect, called...

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Kids get a hands-on look at California history – including panning for gold – at The Autry.PHOTO BY DANIELLE KLEBANOW

Spots For Summer Learning

By Ellen Byron   The beginning of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of learning for your kids. Los Angeles is filled with great ways to entertain them while injecting a little education. “I think it’s important to keep kids’ brains active over the summer,” says former teacher Sarah Barrett, a Studio City mom and school fundraising expert whose daughters are 7 and 10. “That doesn’t mean you have...

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Enrichment Opportunities for Young Scientists

Local programs offer experiences that go beyond the classroom to let kids explore. By Elena Epstein Sarah-michelle Eversaul’s affinity for all creatures that crawl, fly, swim, hop or slither is palpable. “I love them all,” says the 12-year-old from Irvine. “Every animal has its own personality, and I want to be able to work with them and help them in any way I can.” For this aspiring veterinarian (or possibly...

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Story Time

Bringing Up Bookworms

Build your child’s love of reading with these tips By Christina Elston The Velveteen Rabbit wasn’t Jennifer Graves’ first love. Snow White is the first book she remembers falling for as a child. “I thought it was so scary, but I wanted to read it again and again to get to the end, where everything works out,” she says. She enjoyed lots of other books, too – Frog and Toad,...

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