Sunday, April 24, 2011

What Would You Attempt To Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?

I recently saw this prompt in an artsy type of store:


I think this would be a great prompt for a writer's notebook!  If you gave this to your students at the beginning of the school year and asked them to think and write on it, I think you'd really get an idea of who the child is sitting in the seat.   It would be interesting to give this prompt to a first grader, a fifth grader, an eighth grader, and a senior in high school.  It would be interesting to give this prompt to teachers or graduate level students.  How would a person's age and life experience impact the response?

Here goes my response...

If I new I could not fail, I would attempt to open a wellness center for families with  low-socioeconomic status.  The purpose of the wellness center would be to educate families and children. The impact of the wellness center would reverse the cycle of poverty and slow down the Matthew Effect we see happening in our schools.  Families who receive support from our welfare system would be asked to visit the wellness center twice a month.  Transportation would be provided for those who do not have vehicles.

The wellness center would focus on the benefits of being educationally healthy.  It would serve parents, caregivers,  as well as children in infancy up to age seven.  As soon as the mother is pregnant and qualifies for welfare services, she (and her partner) would enter the wellness center program.  During her pregnancy she would learn about infant/child development.  She would learn the how language impacts learning. Sh would learn the importance of talking to and reading to her infant, toddler, preschooler, etc. 

The wellness center would employ professionals such as pediatricians, early-intervention specialists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, child psychologists, child psychologists specialized in equine therapy, literacy specialists/Doctors in education, specialized in early childhood.   Each professional would have their own wing of the facility with family (patient) rooms.  


The wellness center would be a spacious, modern facility with cathedral ceilings filled with natural light set on 40 acres in Northern Penobscot County.  The wellness center would be a place of tranquility and would overlook Mt. Katahdin.  It would have a huge children's library, filled with beautiful books, comfortable reading nooks, and a reading fort.   It would be a place that families and children look forward to coming.  The 40 acres has a forest, and a pond for children to explore.  There would be a horse farm nestled into the corner of the forty-acres equipped for Equine Therapy.

There would be "behind the glass" rooms where mothers would watch professionals model interactions with their children.  A professional would lead the mothers in a discussion of what they are noticing about the interactions.  Mothers would then try on different strategies for interacting with their children.  One of the professionals at the facility would be assigned to family.  This professional would visit the home twice a month for two hours to support the family in providing an educational environment for the child in the home.  The professional would provide education to the family in the home as well. 

As a result of attending the wellness center, families would receive free diapers, baby food, books, and other items for their attendance and cooperation in the wellness program.  Once the child is seven and has graduated from the wellness center, he or she will receive a $15,000 scholarship to a university of his/her choice in the University of Maine System.  

Until the child graduates from high-school, the family would be supported by a case manager.  The case manager would visit the home twice a month to check on the family and their needs.  The case manager would be in constant communication with the family as well as the child's principal and classroom teacher.

This is what I would attempt to do if I knew I couldn't fail.

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