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Published: Wednesday, 4/20/2005

Erie Township: Respect is key word for pre-school kids

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

ERIE - Michigan author Chick Moorman taught Erie Township day-care provider Diane Hussin lessons that she took to heart: young children respond when they are empowered and respected.

"We use a lot of words that empower children. We provide them with positive self-esteem," the woman known as "Miss Diane" said. "We give the children choices to make, but we let them pick."

Later this month, Mr. Moorman will be appearing across the county for a series of speeches organized by the Monroe County Intermediate School District hoping to deliver the same message to educators, parents, and day care providers as part of the third annual "Be Their Hero From Age Zero" conference.

Mr. Moorman holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Western Michigan University in education. He is a former classroom teacher who went on to found the Institute for Personal Power, providing training for more than 300,000 teachers and parents.

Mr. Moorman will be the keynote guest at several events taking place April 28-30 across the county, including:

●a summit meeting at 5:30 p.m. on April 28 at the Intermediate School District;

●a Koffee Klub meeting with the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce at 7:45 a.m. on April 29;

●a professional development seminar at the Intermediate School District at noon.

Mr. Moorman, who lives in Merrill, Mich., will wrap up his local appearances with a parent-child "morning out" at the new Bedford Branch Library at 10 a.m. on April 30, where he will discuss with parents his communications techniques with children.

The school district spent about $7,500 putting together the free seminars, soliciting sponsorships from several area organizations and businesses.

"We've been going at this now for three years, and we have a core group of about 25 people who meet every other month who do outreach activities," Superintendent Don Spencer said. "We're doing wonderful outreach in the community."

Mr. Spencer said the annual conferences have led the school district to alter some of its previous thinking on early childhood development, and set the umbrella organization on a mission to include day-care providers, paraprofessionals, and parents in its educational mission.

"One of the things that this initiative has led to is that we've developed a packet of materials that we now give to the parents of every child born in Monroe County, and children born in hospitals in Toledo to parents from Monroe County," Mr. Spencer explained.

The packets include information about early childhood development, said Doug Redding, who runs the Early-On program for the school district.



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