>The fine people at BlogHer are participating in the DonorsChoose Challenge. Basically, because public education is grossly underfunded in communities across America, teachers often spend their own money on supplies for the kids. Since many teachers are underpaid, they often cannot afford the things that they need for special projects that enrich kids' lives and help them learn. DonorsChoose is a website that lets teachers tell potential donors about what they need for their classroom and why. If donors like the idea, they can give a portion of the project cost or the full amount. All the projects are awesome.

For the DonorsChoose Challenge, I decided to write about a project called Puzzling Diversity. Mrs. G teachers four year olds in a low income community in Oklahoma. She would like puzzles for her pre-k classroom that illustrate the different types of careers that people from various ethnic backgrounds and genders can aspire to. I believe that almost nothing is more important than quality early childhood education, and I also love that Mrs. G is working with her kids at a young age to see outside of restrictive gender stereotypes and dream about what they can be when they grow up. Puzzles are also critical tools to help children develop fine motor skills and develop a spatial reasoning. Puzzling diversity really touches me in so many ways.

To equip her classroom with puzzles illustrating positive behaviors, Mrs. G only needs $75 more dollars. If 75 people give a dollar each, that would do it. I know that these are terrible times economically, but I think most people can spare a $1 to help kids. If you give $1 today, research on the benefits of quality early childhood education indicates that you will actually save between $7 and $17 in future spending (i.e. - taxes) because these programs lower the rate of dropping out of school, teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, repeated grades, and other social ills. So it's a double benefit to support Puzzling Diversity if you think about it.

When I was a wee lass, I wanted to be president when I grew up. I also, at various points, wanted to be Jenny Lind (aka The Swedish Nightengale; a singer who toured the world and charmed audiences with her melodious voice in the early 1900s), Florence Nightengale, a teacher, and/or a bank teller. Husband wanted to drive the bus to the zoo when he was pre-school age. How about you?

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