John Muir Elementary School offers pre-school for special needs children. You’ve heard me talk about this before, they can be kids with autism, asperger’s syndrome, developmental disabilities, etc. The problem is that John Muir doesn’t have any form of play structure at the school. It is a barebones asphalt yard with a chain link fence around it. Kind of like something you would expect to see in industrial era Russian and not 21st century United States.
John Muir is a part of the Pepsi Refresh Contest where good causes can win $20,000 to help out their cause. I feel that this is a good cause to support. I have seen my daughter at school during recess and she has access to a lot of things to play with and a climbing structure. Children need to develop body strength and they can’t do that through only aerobic exercise of running around in circles. They need to challenge their muscles to help them grow.
They have until September 30th to be in the top 15 vote recipients and I’m sorry I didn’t hear about this earlier or I would have posted something then. There are three ways you can help and none of them should cost you a dime [unless you have to pay for text messaging.]
- Go to http://www.refresheverything.com/muirautismplayground and click on the vote button and use your Facebook login to vote.
- If you don’t have a Facebook account you can go to the same link and create a Pepsi account and vote that way [even in addition to you Facebook vote]
- Text 108702 to 73774
This is something you can do everyday until the end of the week. Pepsi is footing the bill and not your local, state or federal government so the only money is coming from a large corporation. I urge all of you to do this right now and repeat it and pass along a link to this page so that they can get as much help as possible. No child should have to go to a school where they don’t have any place to blow off some steam during recess. The kids will be happier and the Teacher’s will be happier. Let’s see if we can make a change here.
I received an email today from my daughter’s pre-K teacher. I was sad to read this email. As a few of you know, my daughter was diagnosed with autism. Few people really know what’s going on with autism. Not every child acts the same way. They could be normal looking kids who don’t have the ability to talk and are sensitive to song or the tastes of foods to the kids who have what are called “stimmy” behavior which could be that they hit themselves or bang themselves around or making odd gestures. I have to say we have received excellent help along the way from the school system. Kara, my daughter’s teacher is the best. All of the aids who help her out are also the best. They all have the patience of saints, but the problem is that they only get $250/year to supply their class. When I was a kid, my mother along with other moms would bring stuff to the class for the teacher to use. My mom was a teacher and still had lots of left over stuff that we wouldn’t need anymore, but would probably be able to be used in the class.
I knew things were kind of tough, but I never realized they had gotten that bad in San Francisco. Autistic children’s behavior runs across a wide spectrum. Some people have seen my daughter and don’t understand because they don’t see anything odd about her except that she doesn’t really speak much at 3.5 years old. Most of these people either haven’t had to deal with kids or their kids are fully grown and they can’t remember what a 3 year old is like. The school district needs to be better run to provide for our kids whether they are autistic or not. California ranks very low on the education scale. While we’re spending more than other states because we have more teachers, our teacher to pupil ratio is much higher than other states. Here’s the email:
Dear Family and Friends,
As most of you know, I am Pre-K special education teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District. I teach a wonderful group of 3-5 year olds, who are mostly on the autism spectrum. What many people do not know, is the huge negative effect our economy has had on California’s schools. The last two years SFUSD teachers have only been given $25 a month for classroom materials. Yes, that is right, we are given only $250 a year to purchase paper, markers, books, puzzles, etc. It is nearly impossible to access these materials alone, and our current materials are nearing their end. Recently, I joined Donor’s Choose and submitted a project to help enrich my students’ learning through music, art, science, and sensory materials (as well as necessary classroom materials such as shelves without holes, new carpets, etc.) On this wonderful website, you can support this project by donating any amount. Once we reach our goal, the website will purchase the materials and send them to my class. I’ll take pictures of my kids using them and we’ll make thank you notes to our donors!
A free way to donate $5 to my project is by going to this website http://www.bing.com/gives/default1.aspx#fbid=nYe–0CPAFi&wom=false . Click START HERE, enter your email address, click MAKE BING MY HOME PAGE (do not worry it will NOT make BING your homepage), click NO I will not make BING my home page, and then click finish. You will receive an email from Bing (most likely in your junk mail) subject donation code. You can redeem the $5 donation yourself for my project at : http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/proposal.html?id=487308 .
I am sorry that my daughter’s teacher has to ask for money to help cover the costs, but if you’re a teacher think about only having $25/month to fund your school supplies. It seems to me that all the money we’re spending on education not enough is being spent on educating our children. Special needs kids especially need special things to help them get over some of the textural issues they have. I know my daughter when she was 2 years old didn’t like the feeling of dirt and sand and now she’ll be grabbing handfuls of dirt like all the other kids with no problem. This may not have happened if we didn’t have the extra help to bring her around. We might have been able to do it ourselves, but it probably would have taken longer, so I have to thank the school district for that.
I’m hoping that Jerry Brown while he’s cutting out unnecessary expenses to the school department like his removal of the Secretary of Education
because it was a 13 person department with a $1.9 million/year budget that was basically a yes man to the Governor and redundant to the Superintendent of Public Education office. Our children deserve more in a state that’s the 8th largest economy in the world. I’m sending my $5 right now.