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Letters to the editor – Friday (11-27-09)

Further thoughts on student rewards
The “What were they thinking” editorial (Nov. 20) commented on a Goldsboro principal, Susie Shepherd, endorsing a plan to raise technology funds by exchanging a $20 donation for points on a test. Apparently, a more traditional attempt to raise money through a candy sale was not successful.
The idea of awarding grade points for actions is not new. Often, teachers give students points for bringing a paper back with a parent’s signature, for selling the most items during a sales campaign and for having a parent come to a school function. Granted, one or two points is not as excessive as 20 points, but the concept of giving a reward for something unrelated to academics is the same.
A mitigating factor that has not been identified is the value in Ms. Shepherd’s decision to raise money through an event that is not detrimental to the nutritional health of our children. We, too, often choose to sell junk food because it is profitable, and then develop programs to address obesity and diabetes. Ms. Shepherd had a plan that seems more acceptable than cookie dough. What are we really thinking?
ó Marcia Kirtley
Salisbury
Music & learning
Day of Caring has made a lasting impression on the children at Partners In Learning. Our new Music Garden was designed by David Freeze and brought to reality by the labor of love of the Salisbury Post, Milford Hills Baptist Church and Sammy Freeze, who donated the handmade pipes, barrels and cylinder gong. There have been so many meaningful moments since it was completed. Feeling the music is especially important for some children with special needs. Vibrating instruments, such as the gong, allow one of our visually and hearing impaired children to enjoy music through another sense. Creating a more accessible and meaningful playground through musical equipment supports children’s needs for developmental stimulation, especially children with disabilities.
Our music garden has been designed to provide opportunities to socialize, develop sensory-motor and cognitive skills, support self-expression and communication skills, create games, and benefit from the enjoyment of music. The instruments are easy to play and motivate all children to interact with peers. Music crosses cultural lines and facilitates non-verbal communication, and children from different backgrounds and language skills can participate. Both typically developing children and children with disabilities can create, enjoy and learn as they engage with the instruments and each other. The music garden allows children with special needs to take advantage of naturally occurring learning opportunities.
The natural interest children have in music, the freedom inherent in outdoor play, and the engagement that comes from being creative have established the Music Garden as an environment for learning, excitement, meaningful play and, last but not least, joy and fun. None of this would have been possible without the hard work of the United Way Day of Caring and the hard work of the volunteers. Thank you for providing our children with both therapeutic and creative activities.
ó Norma Honeycutt
Salisbury
Honeycutt is executive director of Partners In Learning Child Development and Family Resource Center.

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