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In praise of real-world experiences

February 23, 2011

In response to “The Dangers of Petting Zoos,” Our Readers Write, Feb. 17: St. George's Preschool follows the practices of the National Association for the Education of Young Children believing children learn best by real-world experiences.

Books and videos are wonderful tools for teaching, but nothing can take the place of seeing, experiencing and interacting with the real thing. Most young children do not realize milk comes from a cow or a goat and rarely are able to milk one.

We took every precaution with regard to health and safety when arranging for this learning opportunity. We did not have a traditional petting zoo where children are in a caged area chasing animals around. Instead we invited a farmer who takes pride in the care of her animals. She came and talked with the children about respect for farm animals, the products they produce and the use of them in our daily lives. We feel the knowledge gained was something the children will not soon forget.

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Cherie McSweeney

Director of St. George's Preschool

La Cañada Flintridge

Celebrating a memorable teacher

Mrs. Patricia Glaser was a teacher in the La Cañada schools for many years. She passed away last year before her official retirement. Instead of getting to travel the world and visit with her children, she died of cancer, definitely a shocker for all of us.

I have known lots of teachers in this district. For me, Mrs. Glaser was different. She was sharp, intelligent and efficient. And she seemed to have an innate understanding of children. Oh, and she liked the kids, too.

My daughter Emily was relatively new to La Cañada schools, so when she found out her 5th-grade teacher was Mrs. Glaser, she was neither happy nor sad. Mrs. Glaser was just a name to us. Just another teacher, or so we thought.

Emily was lucky enough to have Mrs. Glaser for two years and she excelled under her watchful eye and care. Mrs. Glaser taught English, was particularly adept at it, and she helped my daughter overcome her shyness and realize she was smart and capable.

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