Q. What is the DART Student Art Contest, and can my child participate?
A. Annually, Dallas Area Rapid Transit hosts a Student Art Contest. It is open to all young artists in kindergarten through 12th grade. Participants have an opportunity to showcase their talent and win cool prizes. Your child’s artwork must be an original work of art and can be expressed in color or black and white. While participants may choose different drawing tools to create their masterpiece, all students must visually illustrate this year’s theme, “Paint the Town____________. Ride DART.” Participants will fill in the blank. They must also include the DART logo in their submission. The deadline to submit your artwork is Feb. 28. For a complete list of contest rules, including how and where to submit entries, visit DART.org/artcontest.
Jessica D. Lennon \ Transit Education \ DART \ dart.org
Q. Why are STEM programs so valuable to a child’s development?
A. As our world continues to become more tech and innovation dependent, it is important that students are involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) programs. Learning STEM early prepares students for future schooling and possible STEM careers, which are growing at a higher rate than other career types. But STEM is also important in many other daily aspects of our lives, such as driving, cooking and corresponding with friends and family. STEM fosters creativity, encourages teamwork and experimentation, teaches problem solving and knowledge application, all of which are vital for us to not only understand the world in which we live, but help minimize environmental issues. A great STEM program provides hands-on, minds-on learning that is fun and engaging. With STEM, students become empowered to think critically, analyze, explore and protect the world around them!
Sherrie Ripple \ Education Director River Legacy Living Science Center \ www.riverlegacy.org
Q. Besides academics, what should I look for in a preschool for my child?
A. I always tell parents to trust their gut! You know your child better than anyone else. When touring a school, keep your child in mind and visualize them in the classroom. Do children seem to flow around the room, working independently and in small groups? Do teachers speak quietly and on the child’s level. When you enter the room, do you hear a low hum of activity of busy children? Look for an environment that strives for a balance of freedom within boundaries. Children should be able to explore their limits, but also understand expectations and stay curious. Too much freedom can create chaos and make children feel scattered, unfocused and insecure. Look for a classroom that embraces the individual and provides a developmentally appropriate atmosphere.
Tracey Reinhart \ Head of School \ Montessori Episcopal School \ www.montessoriepiscopal.com
Q. I like to be proactive. At what age should my child see an orthodontist?
A. Although the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child be evaluated by age seven, I like to see children by the age of 2 so I can detect and evaluate facial growth problems as early as possible. Before the onset of adolescence, it’s about how the jaws grow, NOT about the teeth! Crowded /crooked teeth are only a symptom of a jaw growth problem! How the jaws grow has more to do with a child’s rest oral posture (how they hold their lower jaw) which is directly related to their breathing habits. Early detection and management of unfavorable jaw growth maximizes the growth and development of your child’s jaws, teeth and whole face preventing the need to address future problems with invasive procedures. “An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure!”
Darin J. Ward, DDS, MSD, FAGD, FRDC(c) \ Face ForWard Orthodontics \ www.faceforwardorthodontics.com