BVSD Open Enrollment Deadline Is Almost Here

Open Enrollment. These two words bring strong emotions to the parents of Boulder. For some who chose to enroll their kids in their neighborhood school, open enrollment in the Boulder Valley School District [BVSD] is not a big deal. Phew! For the 40% of Boulder families who do open enroll our children it can be stressful.

So what is open enrollment in BVSD? Any child can go to any school based on availability by entering their child into the lottery system called, Open Enrollment. All families in BVSD can look at all schools to see which one seems to meet their child[ren]’s needs best. There are many choices [charter schools, focus schools, and neighborhood schools] and each has it’s benefits and drawbacks. But ultimately many Boulderites choose to open enroll their children in an attempt to try and find the best fit. For more details on open enrollment click here.

BVSD Open Enrollment Dates:

November 7, 2016 through January 9, 2017

Finding the BVSD school that is the right fit – School Tours:

All BVSD schools offer school tours during the open enrollment process. To tour a school you need to go during their scheduled school tours. To find open enrollment school tours dates/times – BVSD Open Enrollment Tours

There are two main types of BVSD schools:

Neighborhood Schools: These are the schools that are designated for your neighborhood. Your child can always get into these schools if you live within the boundaries. You DO NOT need to open enroll to these schools if you are in the neighborhood, but you CAN if you want your child to go to the school, but you are NOT in the designated boundary.

Focus/Charter Schools: These are open enrollment schools that serve ALL of BVSD. There are NO designated neighborhood boundaries for Focus and Charter schools. You MUST open enroll to these schools. 

To help you visualize the open enrollment process here is the BVDS open enrollment flow chart [the one they have up is from last year, so the dates are incorrect, but the content is good otherwise]:

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-12-37-13-pm

Preschools: For Boulder Families with younger children there are a few schools that have open enrollment options for preschool, such as Community Montessori. For these schools, open enrolling at preschool age is the best way to secure a slot for your child. So even if your child is too young for elementary schools, taking a look at the open enrollment process can be really helpful.

Other Open Enrollment Considerations: Likewise, the award winning Peak to Peak Charter School has open enrollment policies that favor those who have applied many times. They are all a bit different, so it is best to do your research!

Open enrollment happens for a limited time. You MUST apply to open enroll your child by January 9, 2017 to get into the lottery. To get an open enrollment application head to the BVSD website. Good luck to everyone open enrolling a child this year!

I am always happy to answer questions from my personal experience with kids in #BVSD and the Open Enrollment process. Email me at amanda@boulderfamilies.com

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Why I Am Getting My Kids Outdoors This Summer!

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Boulder County is a mecca of outdoor activities. Why is it that we parents find ourselves begging our kids to get off technology on a regular basis? At least I do. I love getting my kids out the door and into the backyard, on a hike, on their mountain bikes, or anywhere other than indoors as often as possible!

The summer is a great time to get the kids outside and engaged in authentic learning opportunities – the kind that present themselves all the time in the outdoors. I get the brochures for STEM and engineering focused camps and these all look amazing, but I say summer is a time to get outside, leave the traditional classroom behind, and explore a more authentic and engaging “classroom” in the outdoors. This summer I’m getting my kids out the door and learning more about themselves through outdoor experiences! It is time to get our kids out the door and into the outdoors this summer!

Authentic outdoor education programs offer our kids incredible opportunities to push themselves and develop the whole person by allowing them to:

  • Be without technology and fully engage!
  • Build confidence and grit doing things things that are fun but tough!
  • Be bold and try new things! 
  • Engage in healthy risk taking – the activities have high perceived risk, but low real danger!

The outdoors is a seriously powerful tool for personal growth and empowerment for our kids! I want my kids to face challenges and learn that they can push through them. I want my kids to have to engage fully by leaving all the distractions of technology behind. I also know with two boys they need outlets for taking risks in a healthy environment. I believe these are all best accomplished through purposeful engagement in outdoor adventures. This is why I’m turning to some engaging outdoor opportunities for my kids this summer. Let the outdoors be their teacher!

There are so many ways to get our kids going – even at really young ages! Think of the options: Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Biking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Hiking, Mountaineering, and many many more! Get the kids out there however you do it – on your own or with a camp program this summer. Of course it depends on how old your kids are and their innate interests, but you can find so many opportunities for authentic learning in the outdoors around Boulder County!

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Photo Credit to Avid4 Adventure

I did some research and I found Avid4 Adventure. I knew they were around but I had not really looked at outdoor camps until now. This summer my 12 year old will be rock climbing with Avid 4 – scaling walls and meeting new friends. He will be scaling walls and pushing himself beyond the limits he currently perceives. He will be getting out of his comfort zone. He will be getting scraped up. He will be exhausted when he gets home after long hikes to climbing spots. I believe he will come back each day with his cup full of life and ready for more adventures. Here’s to summer outdoor adventures! 

More details about Avid4 Adventure in case you think your kids are ready for an outdoor challenge this summer. They offer really professional programs and believe in authentic education through outdoor adventures. Avid4 offers day and overnight programs for all outdoor enthusiast kids and those who just want to dip their toes in the water so to speak. I love Avid4’s philosophy and professionalism! Check out their great general [kids try a little of everything] and sport specific outdoor programs for kids pre-K through 11th grade at their two Boulder County bases of operation:

Avid4 Adventure offers camps out of two local locations that may be interesting for Boulder Families – Boulder Camps and Lafayette Camps @ Avid4 Adventure

Are your kids going to camp this summer? Any great outdoor learning experiences to share with the rest of us?

#Kids #SummerCamp #Summer #Boulder #GetOutdoors

Podcasts Are Rocking My World!

Podcasts App

Podcasts App

Podcasts are rocking my world! I know they have been around for years, but recently I finally figured them out. I love them for these five reasons that may appeal to other parents:

  • Learn something new. Honestly, if I want to learn about history – cue up the podcast. If I want to get some parenting wisdom – cue up the podcast. If I want to relax – cue up the podcast. They are sort of miraculous!
  • Put me to [back to] sleep. I have a few podcasts I use to help me go to sleep – or go back to sleep if I wake up in the middle of the night. I leave my phone by the bedside with my earbuds attached. If I wake up, I pop on one of my cued up podcasts, and I’m back off to sleep. I don’t remember a word of the podcast, but they work without fail to get me off to sleep.
  • Get exercise. I often cue up a podcast and go out on a run. I’m learning so much!
  • Get things done. I get into listening to my podcasts and find myself folding the laundry. It’s one of my least favorite tasks and yet I find [more] time for it when I’m listening to a podcast.
  • Family Time. Driving up to the mountains each weekend skiing we try to listen to a podcast together. Yup, the kids are interested and learning some really interesting things!

How to get your hands on some cool podcasts? Here you go…

  1. Download the podcast app for your smart phone. Just search “podcast” and it will come up in the iTunes or Android stores. It’s a free download.
  2. Do some research on podcasts you may like – try Google searching “podcast” and anything else [parenting, exercise, mindfulness, love, etc…]
  3. Some fun podcast ideas:
    1. Modern Love
    2. Mom and Dad Are Fighting – by Slate 
    3. Smart People
    4. NPR: Parenting
    5. TED Talks – Ideas worth sharing
    6. This American Life

What podcasts do you enjoy? 

BIFF Youth Pavilion = Awesome Film/Arts Programming For Kids and Teens!

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The Boulder International Film Festival brings world class film and events to Boulder for a short time each year. In 2016 their Youth Pavilion is offering kid and teen focused films as well as workshops such as how to creating zombie makeup. All programs are free on a first come, first served basis. BIFF is March 4-6, 2016 so make your plans now!

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And more for teens…

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More detailed information on the #BIFF2016 Youth Pavilion happenings can be found here:

 BIFF 2016 Youth Pavilion Schedule

#BIFF2016 #Film #Boulder #Colorado #Families #Kids #Education

The CU Wizards Are Here. Let Them Engage Your Child In The Wonders Of Science!

wizard-0The CU Wizards program is an ongoing science discovery program presented free by CU professors on a variety of topics. The presentations are geared towards kids in grades 5 to 9, but everyone is welcome! These are fun, interactive, intense, silly, engaging presentations so take a look!

The next CU Wizards program is March 14, 2015: Waves & Radios: The Physics of the Information Age

CU Wizards website

Wizarding schedule

FAQ’s 

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Lions, Bobcats, Lynx, Oh My – Natural Selections Offers Guided Hikes for Families in and around Boulder

Lions, Bobcats, Lynx, oh my! Natural Selections is the educational arm of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks that offers hikes and activities to get the whole family outdoors and learning about our natural environment. They offer events for families at least once a month, year around – even in the snow! These events are fun, educational, entertaining, engaging, and all about the natural environment all around us.

Upcoming Hikes for Families:

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Some of these hikes require registration, so check in before hand. You can get on their email list to get advance notice of upcoming events:

https://bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/nature-hikes

Thanks to Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks for engaging Boulder kids in nature!

#Getoutdoors

 

BVSD Open Enrollment Time Is Just Around the Corner

Open Enrollment. These two words bring strong emotions to the parents of Boulder. For some who chose to enroll their kids in their neighborhood school, open enrollment in the Boulder Valley School District [BVSD] is not a big deal. Phew! For the 40% of us who do open enroll our children it can be stressful.

So what is open enrollment in BVSD? Any child can go to any school based on availability by entering their child into the lottery system called, Open Enrollment. All families in BVSD can look at all schools to see which one seems to meet their child[ren]’s needs best. There are many choices [charter schools, focus schools, and neighborhood schools] and each has it’s benefits and drawbacks. But ultimately many Boulderites choose to open enroll their children in an attempt to try and find the best fit. For more details on open enrollment click here.

BVSD Open Enrollment Dates:

December 1, 2014 through January 16, 2015

Finding the BVSD school that is the right fit – School Tours:

All BVSD schools offer school tours during the open enrollment process. To tour a school you need to go during their scheduled school tours. To find open enrollment school tours dates/times – BVSD Open Enrollment Tours

There are two main types of BVSD schools:

Neighborhood Schools: These are the schools that are designated for your neighborhood. Your child can always get into these schools if you live within the boundaries. You DO NOT need to open enroll to these schools if you are in the neighborhood, but you CAN if you want your child to go to the school, but you are NOT in the designated boundary.

Focus/Charter Schools: These are open enrollment schools that serve ALL of BVSD. There are NO designated neighborhood boundaries for Focus and Charter schools. You MUST open enroll to these schools. 

To help you visualize the open enrollment process here is the BVDS open enrollment flow chart [the one they have up is from last year, so the dates are incorrect, but the content is good otherwise]:

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 2.13.08 PM

For Boulder Families with younger children there are a few schools that have open enrollment options for preschool, such as Community Montessori. For these schools, open enrolling at preschool age is the best way to secure a slot for your child. So even if your child is too young for elementary schools, taking a look at the open enrollment process can be really helpful. Likewise, the award winning Peak to Peak Charter School has open enrollment policies that favor those who have applied many times. They are all a bit different, so it is best to do your research!

Open enrollment happens for a limited time. You MUST apply to open enroll your child between December 1, 2013 and January 16, 2014 to get into the lottery. To get an open enrollment application head to the BVSD website. Good luck to everyone open enrolling a child this year!

Hiking and Learning and Exploring – Oh My! Natural Selections Offers Family-Friendly Hikes and Educational Opportunities!

IMG_2813Love hiking? Enjoy learning? Want to connect your kids to nature? The City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks department offers ongoing nature hikes and educational opportunities throughout the year. These are well run, engaging programs that offer something for everyone – some of their programs are even wheelchair accessible. These programs are family-friendly and so engaging for Boulder Families!

Here is a list of their upcoming August programs:

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These are always free and open to the public. Sometimes you do need to make a reservation, but that is the exception. I have seen many of those programs fill up, so if you like something you see reserve it! You can subscribe to Natural Selections and receive email updates on upcoming events weekly – here. Just go to the pull down menu and select – Natural Selections – and you will be in the know!

Read more about how Natural-Terrain Schoolyards Reduce Children’s Stress Levels – here. This is a great CU study!

Kids Learn to Love Snowboarding at Burton’s FREE Riglet Park in Vail [Friday/Saturday]

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It turns out the Burton US Open is not only for the pros because they have brought along Riglet Park Program is a FREE program that offers kids ages 3 to 6 an opportunity to check out snowboarding. They get geared up with demos and get to mess around on small scale snow features.

For the next few days at the Vail base area of Lionshead you will find Burton’s Riglet Park. What is a Riglet you ask? A Riglet is somewhat like a Grom [skate and surf speak for beginner], but younger still. Riglet Park is a magical opportunity for your young ones [ages 3 to 6] to try out snowboarding in a really safe environment–with instructors who work with them one-on-one. Riglet Park is open and ready to have your little Riglet join them and find the joy in snowboarding!

I was invited to take a media tour of Vail’s family friendly activities and Riglet Park was one of them. Skyler got a chance to strap on a snowboard and try out the mini-park Burton created just for the little ones. Of course Skyler is 10, so he was on the large side, but the Riglet Park folks were happy to oblige and found him boots right away. They got him on a snowboard and in no time he was pulling 180s on their mini half pipe. He was in love!

Here is how Burton describes their Riglet Program:

The Burton Riglet program is a snowboard learning experience geared towards kids ages 3-6. A Riglet Park has the allure of a bouncy castle and is as safe as one too. Mellow rollers, small berms and ground level features allow young riders to feel the balance they need to ride—and they do it while they’re riding. Two feet strapped in, being pulled through a zone set up just for them with safety, fun and learning in mind. From the kids to the instructors, everyone wins.

We will have a Free Riglet park setup in Lionshead village right next to the Eagle Bahn lift. Stop in with your child to experience everything they’ll need to get started riding. We’ll provide free demos of board, boots, and bindings designed specifically for the youngest kids, as well as Burton’s specialized Riglet reel. Certified instructors will be on hand to teach kids the basics and get them having fun standing sideways. This program is free and open to the public. Sign ups will take place at the Riglet tent near the Eagle Bahn lift in Lionshead.

Details here.

Riglet Park Operating Hours:

March 7 & 8 [Fri/Sat]
10am – 12pm
1pm – 3pm
4pm – 6pm

#Vail, #Snowboard, #Burton, #BurtonUSOpen, #Snow

Kids Can Learn to Ride at Burton’s FREE Riglet Park in Vail During the Burton US Open

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 9.30.25 AMThis year Burton is bringing the Burton US Open to Vail, March 5 through 8. It turns out the event is not only for the pros because they are creating a learning experience for the young ones. Burton’s Riglet Park is a FREE program that offers kids ages 3 to 6 an opportunity to check out snowboarding. They get geared up with demos and get to mess around on small scale snow features. Instructors are available to help the kids. Plus your kids can get inspired by some of the best snowboarders in the US who will be in town competing.

I cannot wait to see the Riglet Park Program in action!

Here is how Burton describes their Riglet Program:

The Burton Riglet program is a snowboard learning experience geared towards kids ages 3-6. A Riglet Park has the allure of a bouncy castle and is as safe as one too. Mellow rollers, small berms and ground level features allow young riders to feel the balance they need to ride—and they do it while they’re riding. Two feet strapped in, being pulled through a zone set up just for them with safety, fun and learning in mind. From the kids to the instructors, everyone wins.

We will have a Free Riglet park setup in Lionshead village right next to the Eagle Bahn lift. Stop in with your child to experience everything they’ll need to get started riding. We’ll provide free demos of board, boots, and bindings designed specifically for the youngest kids, as well as Burton’s specialized Riglet reel. Certified instructors will be on hand to teach kids the basics and get them having fun standing sideways. This program is free and open to the public. Sign ups will take place at the Riglet tent near the Eagle Bahn lift in Lionshead.

Details here.

Riglet Park Operating Hours:

March 5 & 6 [Weds/Thurs]
10am – 12pm
2pm – 4pm

March 7 & 8 [Fri/Sat]
10am – 12pm
1pm – 3pm
4pm – 6pm

#Vail, #Snowboard, #Burton, #BurtonUSOpen, #Snow