Katy Jo went to an all-girls Catholic school and began doin' community services in the seventh grade. She was hooked immediately.
"My school had a preschool and I was drawn to these adorable little ones," she told me. "I always wanted to make a difference to younger students when I recognized them as having self-esteem issues. I found myself able to crack jokes with them and make them feel good about themselves."
Now when you do find a giver, you want to spend more time with them than may be polite so I asked her to send me a little bit of information about her life until now. She obliged.
Katy Jo grew up in the City and has spent the last 15 years teachin' elementary students and preparin' preschoolers who may need a little extra assistance. For the last six years, she has concentrated in helpin' these preschoolers get up to speed with their language skills.
I say it's about time someone like Katy Jo came along. I've been concerned over the plight of our children goin' into first grade havin' less than half the vocabulary of my dog, Clare. It seems our Bodega Bay Vet (and a fine gentleman Dr. Mike is) thinks Clare knows over 2,500 words.
I've read in a Yale study, children enterin' school in 1990 knew only around 1,000 words. This was a drastic drop from 1950 when children of the same age knew at least 4,000 words. The fifties ushered in the first television generation.
I'm not sure what the word count is today but, if I was a teacher, I'd be on the lookout for French mimes comin' into my first-grade classes.
Katy Jo and her teachers use the Slingerland method of instruction, a program that trains teachers to instruct students strugglin' with readin', writin' and spellin' skills. Boy, do parents need that if the Yale study was right.
While Katy Jo offers her help to parents who suspect they need it, a little voice inside me suggests there may be a whole cacophony of parents in Sonoma County who might not even know there's a problem.
Even If there's almost no suspicion of this, I'd suggest parents call Katy Jo and schedule a personal consultation. She offers small-group and one-on-one instruction in your home, at school or in a quiet public place.
Maybe this will give your children an advantage if they ever find themselves in a classroom with Clare.
Am I Pretty?