Written By: Michelle Joiner


Daybreak. Sun rising. Sea rolling in, dashing out. Sand clumping between my toes. Smooth breeze blowing. Time to say thank you. Time to go to church. Going to church, the synagogue or any house of worship sometimes gives a person that good home feeling of childhood, of tradition. This was one of those days. It just felt right!

We pile into the car.


Do you ever have one of those friends that is friend to the whole family. My friend Eve was originally friends with my mother . She then became friends with my brother, who just so happened to be her age, then we became friends just because we liked the same things and lived in the same neighborhood. So it’s Independence Day weekend. My mom is in town and doesn’t want to go to my future daughter-in-law’s bridal shower.

Not because of what negative ideas you may think, but because she didn’t want to hinder the party’s shall I say, risqué exuberance. Mom and Eve still communicate regularly. Having heard the hesitation in my mom’s voice, Eve invites Mom to come out to her cottage in West Hampton. Mom was saved. I went to the bridal shower. A fantastic time was had by all, except only the older generation brought risqué presents! The times, they are a changing. Later, I caught the LIRR at Penn Station,transferred at Jamaica Station, took the express to Babylon Station, then Eve picked me up at the West Hampton Station. Back to the story. A little background information always helps.


We pile into the car, Eve, my mom and myself. My mom is an avid coffee drinker. Eve stops at the ‘Beach Bakery’ on Main Street. It is only 8:00 AM and obviously, my mother is one of many with the desire for an early pick me up. This community can only be defined as organized mayhem. So many lines, but everyone is smiling and in a state of good humor. Mom grabs her daily dose of caffeine. Mom satisfied,

Eve then drives to Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, which is also located on Main Street.


Immaculate Conception Church is crowded. We don’t get to sit next to each other. Today, this is a good thing. Free to be myself with the powers that be. Father L. is presiding. He is visiting from Nigeria.

Parents, grandparents, young couples, toddlers and babies are calmly listening to the Mass. The Catholic routine of standing ,sitting, kneeling and singing is being followed. Father has completed the Gospel. It is time to sit and listen. Father’s job is to relate the thousand’s year old Gospel to today. I look around. My eyes take a professional twist. Babies are being rocked. Toddlers are on moms’, dads’ and grandparents’ laps. Preschoolers are sitting and reading their picture books. Parents are communicating through touch, facial expressions and eye contact. The intermittent screech is successfully redirected. It is quiet.



Why do I take this moment to pause and smile? Because I know these infants,toddlers and preschoolers are already on the correct path to educational success. I am a Speech, Language Pathologist that has been working with “ at risk” infants, toddlers and preschoolers since 1981. Before I am able to attempt to help them develop their speech and language skills ,I take the initial 10 weeks or more developing their listening skills . It has been my experience that children capable of sitting have a better chance of listening and learning. These children were already displaying the components of educational success: sitting, observing, engaging in focused tasks, being exposed to a Tier III * vocabulary, and developing inference skills. Inference skills help the toddler to adult choose to act or react, to think or respond impulsively. Sitting on dad’s or grandma’s lap offers the toddler a chance to observe others, to engage in critical thinking, to problem solve, to look at his parents’ faces to surmise if his/her next action is going to be welcomed or questioned and to make the appropriate decision.


The New York State Common Core English Language Arts Standards are broken down into 4 domains: reading,writing ,speaking and listening. According to the research as far back as 1908, the order should be listening, speaking,reading and writing.Professor of Special Education, E. Huey stated, “ Literacy follows oracy [speech]. So, parents who foster their young children’s listening , speaking, vocabulary and knowledge are also fostering success in school.” In 2011, Sticht concluded from their research “ With proper support in literate societies, people acquire the skills of reading and writing , which draw upon the same language and knowledge base that is used for speaking and listening.” The National Education Literacy Panel/National Research Council (2009) confirmed that the following components should be incorporated into the preschool setting : stability, routine,building attending,listening, and self regulation skills , exposure to improve experiences, knowledge,vocabulary and appropriate grammar.The Epoch Times (10/14-16/14) reported a 2006 survey which the employers were questioned about entry level skills. The top 10 employers emphasized communication skills as an entry level requirement. I again looked around and realized all of the aformentioned was happening right here every Sunday!


So the next Saturday or Sunday when you are debating whether to go straight to the beach or take the time to attend church, remember the experience is not only uplifting but educational for the entire family!


After church, Mom and Eve walked on the beach. I took advantage of the runner’s lane on Dunes Road, West Hampton to South Hampton and back.We all returned to the cottage. I grabbed time to relax and read the ‘Dan’s Paper’ weekly.

Later we go to the Hampton Lady Restaurant off of Dunes Road. We eat appetizers, dance to the “Soul Band”. My mom at 88 years of age totally woos the crowd.

At the cottage again,I crash on the lounge chair, outside on the balcony. Moon smiling. Sea rolling in,dashing out. Smooth breeze blowing.

All is quiet. Time to sleep.



If you would like to know more about the preschool to high school NYS Common Core Standards, please visit your local school ‘s website .

ExampleTier III vocabulary words: tastes delicious versus tastes good.