From the Womb: A Community-Scientist Discussion about Chemical Exposures and Children’s Development

This month the UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility (CEHS) is co-sponsoring Carolina Science Cafés focused on how the environment affects children’s health.

On February 26, Dr. Stephanie Engel will lead a conversation on endocrine disruptors and their adverse effects on children’s development. Endocrine disruptors, which are chemicals found in a number of consumer products, harm human health by interfering with hormonal, reproductive, and neurological development. This café will be hosted at Flyleaf Books on 752 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Chapel Hill (next door to Foster’s Market) from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Dr. Engel is associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and studies how prenatal environmental exposures harm neurodevelopment in children.

The Carolina Science Café is sponsored by the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, the UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility and the Society of Sigma Xi at UNC Chapel Hill. Each Carolina Science Café features a brief expert presentation on an emerging science topic followed by informal discussion with community audiences. For more information, contact Neasha Graves ( or Jonathan Frederick ( For additional information about this event and other CEHS-sponsored events, visit

The Center for Education, Imagination and the Natural World
Toward Wholeness:
Caring for the Soul of the Child
Towards Wholeness 2

March 1, 2014
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Place: The Peace and Justice Room, St. Francis Springs
477 Grogan Road, Stoneville, NC 27048
Cost: $75 (lunch included)
(We will be taking an Earth Walk in the morning, so please wear
comfortable shoes and come dressed for the weather)
Click here to register online
"Earth Elder Thomas Berry regularly reminded us that children must understand that their home is not the industrial world but the world of "woodlands and meadows and flowers and birds and mountains and valleys and streams and stars." Thomas counseled us that children must also be enabled to directly experience the Universe. In fact, he believed the child is our guide to how the Universe ought to be experienced by all of us.
Caring for the soul of children is one of the keystones of responding, in both a practical and spiritual way, to our current ecological crises."
~ Bill Plotkin, "Care of the Soul of the World" in Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth,
ed. by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
In this day retreat at beautiful St. Francis Springs, we will deepen our understanding of caring for the soul of the child through presentations by master practitioners on "The Soul Development of the Child in Nature" (Colette Segalla), "Caring for the Soul of the Child in Nature" (Sandy Bisdee), "Caring for the Soul of the Child in Song" (Jennie Walker Brunner), "Caring for the Soul of the Child at Home" (Marie Nordgren) and "Caring for the Soul of the Child in Illness" (Andrew Levitt). Retreat weaver: Peggy Whalen-Levitt.
Sandy Bisdee is the Director of Children's Programs at the Center for Education, Imagination and the Natural World. She holds a Montessori International (AMI) Teaching Certificate and brings over thirty years of experience as an educator of children to her work at the Center.
Jennie Walker Brunner is a classically trained violinist who also enjoys composing tunes and playing fiddle with the Walker Family Band. She holds a bachelor's degree in Music Education and is a trained Suzuki violin teacher. Jennie is currently working on receiving her Life Ways teacher training and has a deep interest in encouraging people to lift their voices in song.
Andrew Levitt is a pediatric cosmic clown at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro, NC. He holds a Ph.D. in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania and is a professional mime and storyteller.
Marie Nordgren is the founder, director and a teacher at The Children's Garden Preschool, a nature and play based early childhood program in Durham, NC. She received her training in Waldorf early childhood education from Sunbridge College in Spring Valley, New York.
Colette Segalla is a clinical psychologist in Raleigh, NC. She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in California, where she completed her dissertation on "Spirituality and its Embeddedness in Nature as it Relates to a Child's Development of a Sense of Self."
Peggy Whalen-Levitt is the Director of the Center for Education, Imagination and the Natural World. She holds a Ph.D. in Language in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, where she co-created a graduate program in Childhood Imagination.

Check out City of Raleigh's 2014 programs to help your family kick-start the new year active and outside! 

Let’s Get Active Homeschoolers
Get your homeschooler active in this unique program at Millbrook Exchange Center. Coach Shawn will guide your homeschooler through a variety of sports and games that will keep your child moving and having fun. Coach Shawn is skilled in a variety of sports and specializes in working with youth sports. Each week will feature a different activity or sport. Sign up by the month for $17.00 or per week for $5.00. Class meets each Friday! Sign up today because space is limited. Monthly classes start January 10, 2014.

Homeschool Open Gym
Calling all homeschoolers in the Millbrook area! Join us for open gym each Tuesday. Staff will provide equipment, you provide the fun. Great way to get some midday wiggles out before school starts back again in the afternoon and an opportunity to meet other home school students in your neighborhood. Program is free and meets each Tuesday from 10:30am-12:30pm.

Wee Walkers
Join us every Thursday from 10 – 11am to explore nature on this easy paced hike around the park for you and your toddler ages 1-5 years. There is no fee for this program. Please pre-register four days prior to the event. Register online with RecLink. Class meets at the Durant Nature park office located at the North entrance to the park off of Durant Road.

Survivor: Durant Nature Park Edition
How does nature survive the harsh winter? We’ll find out as we hike to find real examples of how plants and animals have adapted to living in the cold. After our hike, we’ll head back to get firsthand experience on how WE can survive the cold by warming up by a campfire and roasting a marshmallow or two. Join us for this program Saturday, January 11 from 2:00-3:30pm. Program is for ages 6-12 years and the fee is $5. Please pre-register four days prior to the event. Register online using RecLink with barcode #151755. Class meets at the park office located at the North entrance to the park off of Durant Road.

The Great Acorn Mystery
Sammy Squirrel remembers exactly where he left his acorns last fall— right under the tree with the pretty leaves, but when Sammy wakes up from a nap, he discovers the woods have changed! Where did all the leaves go? In this fun detective program, participants will need to follow the clues to help Sammy find his acorns before someone else does. Maybe we’ll learn how to identify a few of our winter trees along the way! Join us Tuesday, January 21 from 2:00-3:30pm. Program is for ages 6-12 years and the fee is $3. Please pre-register four days prior to the event. Register online with RecLink using barcode #152161. Class meets at the park office located at the North entrance to the park off of Durant Road.

Predators on the Prowl
When the sun goes down, whoooo do you think comes out to hunt? Join us as we take an evening walk in the woods to look and listen for winter predators. We’ll finish our hike by roasting marshmallows over a campfire and practicing our predator calls. Fee applies to all participants. Program held Friday, January 24, from 5:30-7pm for ages 5 and up, fee is $3. Please pre-register four days prior to the event. Register online with RecLink using barcode #151909. Class meets at the park office located at the North entrance to the park off of Durant Road.
Start the year off in the outdoors! Join a park ranger for a hike through one of North Carolina's many splendid state parks!
Go to to find a park near you that is hosting a First Day Hike.


"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks" - John Muir

Project Enlightenment

Project Enlightenment is an early childhood program of the
Wake County Public School System’s Office of Early Learning that provides a unique blend of quality services to young children birth through kindergarten, their families, and teachers in the Wake County community.


PHONE: 919-856-7774

Wake County Public School System


December 2013


“Like Us” on Facebook!- Project Enlightenment now has a Facebook page! Please follow the link
or search for Project Enlightenment through your personal Facebook page.


THANK YOU to our Book Drive Friends! Project Enlightenment’s 14th Annual Book Drive continues to be a great success! To date, we have collected thousands of books! We would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to our elementary and preschool partners and anyone else who has participated by donating, collecting, sorting and distributing books. We have worked diligently to get the collected books into the hands of children and families that do not have books in their homes. Thank you for helping us make that happen for so many.

The Book Drive runs through December, but books can be donated to Project Enlightenment at any time throughout the year. Books needed include baby and toddler books (board or chunky), preschool books, Spanish books, and beginning reader books. Please call 919-856-7804 for more information.


Barnes & Noble Book Drive Partner- The Barnes & Noble in Cary is sponsoring Project Enlightenment for their Holiday Book Drive this year. They are collecting books through January 1, 2014. You can help us get books into the hands of young children that need them by purchasing a book to donate to Project Enlightenment’s "On the Road to Reading" book drive.


Resources, Resources, Resources… Remember that Project Enlightenment offers a host of helpful resources and services for teachers and parents of young children birth through kindergarten. Project Enlightenment offers classroom consultation, two demonstration preschool classrooms, teacher workshops, developmental screening, parent education and counseling, a Parents as Teachers program and a resource center for teachers and parents. Come by, call about our services (919-856-7774) or visit our website at We look forward to seeing you!


Parent Counseling Service- Project Enlightenment offers a short-term counseling service to support families who have concerns about child behavior or development that may impact school success. The counseling staff has decades of experience with issues facing families of young children, and their main objective is to provide specific interventions that will increase a child's success in home and school environments. Call 919-856-7774 or visit the Resource Center to schedule an appointment. For more information, visit our website at and click on the Parent Resources tab.


TALKline at 919-856-7808- Project Enlightenment is pleased to offer a call-in service for anyone who has a question or concern about a child, birth through kindergarten age. A caring professional Project Enlightenment staff member will take your call, listen to your questions and talk to you about your concerns. No issue is too small or unimportant. TALKline is available on Tuesdays from 9:30 am-11:00 am, Wednesdays from 1:00 pm-2:30 pm and Thursdays from 1:00 pm-2:30 pm. Remember to call TALKline at 919-856-7808 if you need to talk. Please see the attached flyer.


Workshops at Project Enlightenment- Project Enlightenment offers workshops for teachers and parents beginning in late August through the end of May. Please check our website to download our workshop brochures or register for a class.


Workshops for Teachers- Project Enlightenment offers a variety of workshops for teachers of young children birth through kindergarten age on topics including classroom management, child development, supporting English Language Learners and more. Please check out our website at for more information.


Upcoming Teacher Workshops for January 2014 include:

Ø  Enjoy Baby Doll Circle Time ™: The Ultimate in Appropriate Group Time for Our Youngest on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 from 1:00- 3:00 pm

Ø  Toddler Talk: How Toddlers Acquire Language Skills on Thursday, January 9, 2014 from 1:00- 3:00 pm

Ø  Weather on Monday, January 13, 2014 from 1:00- 3:00 pm. Please note that this workshop occurs in the Discovery Room at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

Ø  Using Shubert Books to Help Children Learn to Solve Problems on Thursday, January 16, 2014 from 4:30- 6:30 pm.

Ø  Demonstration Preschool (DPS) Classroom Observation on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 from 8:30 am-11:00 am


Workshops for Parents- Project Enlightenment is pleased to offer workshops for parents on a variety of topics. Please visit for more information.


Upcoming Parent Workshop for January 2014:

Ø  Positive Discipline: Firmness & Limit Setting on Tuesdays, January 7, 14 & 21, 2014 from 6:30 to 8:30pm


The Parent Teacher Resource Center (PTRC)- Project Enlightenment offers a variety of helpful information (including a library full of books for adults and children) and services for teachers and parents of young children birth through kindergarten. Come by and check out the resources in the Parent Teacher Resource Center (PTRC), call about our services (919-856-7804) or visit our website at


PTRC Displays- Please stop by the Resource Center to see our displays on Sleep and When Your Child Needs a Little Extra TLC (comprised of materials on how to be reassuring, how to create and deepen a close connection, and how to support and comfort your child during challenging times.) Come in or call 919-856-7804 for more information.


The Production Area- A Production Area is located in the PTRC. It is available to anyone who wants to make activities and materials to use with young children. You will find construction paper, poster board, laminators, book binding machines and a variety of Ellison Die Cuts in addition to various other materials. A user fee may apply.

Books on teaching strategies and fun activities are displayed throughout the school year. This month, books on songs, rhymes and chants are provided.

Please call ahead (919-856-7804) if you wish to visit the Production Area, as it is reserved at times for large groups.


Library Catalog- Looking for information about sleeping, eating, behavior? You can go on-line and search the resources that Project Enlightenment has on those subjects and many more that pertain to young children. To access our library catalog from your computer, just follow the simple directions listed below.


To access the Library Catalog:


1.      Go to the Project Enlightenment website at

2.      Look under Highlights.

3.      Click on

4.      Select Project Enlightenment (at top of list).

5.      This will take you to our catalog.

6.      You may search for any book or subject.



Third Thursday in the PTRC- The PTRC will be open until 8:00 pm on January 16th. Make plans to come by and see us! REMEMBER, Third Thursday will not occur in December 2013.


Project Enlightenment E-Newsletters- If you know someone that would like to join our e-news email list, please have them email Robyn at .


Website- Our website, designed for parents, other family members, teachers and other professionals is loaded with information that is relevant regarding young children.

Fall Festivals and the NC State Fair

Come celebrate North Carolina's Homecoming at the North Carolina State Fair Oct.17-27th.

Where are you going this fall?
Tell me at @ecosmartparent

2013 State Fair - Raleigh N.C. North Carolina's Homecoming!
Many state agencies have educational exhibits including:
  • N.C. Forest Service
  • Wildlife Resources Commission
  • Got to be NC Agriculture: Discover food products from across N.C
  • Agriculture Today
  • Soil and Water Conservation
Fuquay-Varina Downtown Chili Cook-Off
Fuquay-Varina's Chili Cook off-Oct. 26th 

Fall Pumpkin picking and activities:

Magic in the Garden and Campout Carolina this Weekend!

Looking for something to do this weekend with the kids. Look no further, Magic in the Garden at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, and Campout Carolina. See below for details.

In partnership with Kidzu Children’s Museum… The young and young-at-heart are invited to our annual“Discovering Magic in the Garden” program next Saturday, Oct 1210 am – 12pm for an enchanting morning of family fun in the Children’s Wonder Garden!  Build magical homes for fairies and elves using Nature’s materials, make a fall leaf crown, craft a wand, listen to a local storyteller spin “fairy tales”, play games, and more.  Bring your 
imagination and love of nature… children (and their grown-ups) are invited to wear their most magical costumes, so don your favorite cape or fairy wings and join us in the Garden!

Fee, per child: $10 ($9 NCBG members)
Age: 4 & up w/ adult caregiver

1. Go to and click the yellow “Calendar + Registration” button
2. Select program from list
3. Sign in with your login + password (or create an account)
4. Check real-time availability, register, pay!
Campout! Carolina
Photo courtesy of 
Pull out the sleeping bags!
Join thousands of North Carolinians the weekend of October 11-13, 2013 and take part in EarthShare North Carolina’s 7th annual Campout! Carolina.
Campout! Carolina is an annual event that encourages people to turn off the lights, unplug from the computer, and enjoy a night under the stars.  On this weekend people across the state campout in backyards, campsites and favorite backwoods spots to celebrate and show their support for a healthy environment.
Taking part is easy.  Register, explore the website for ideas and information to help plan your campout, share your camping tips and recipes, and more.