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Family valued - 5.3.06

Get hopping to a pre-school co-op

If you're considering nursery school for your pre-schooler, now's the time to shop around if you want a range of options. Two years ago, we found ourselves behind the proverbial eight ball. It's a common first-child mistake: who would have thought you have to plan for nursery school so far in advance? But you do, and fortunately, it's not too late.

In our hurried search process, we discovered that a parent-run cooperative nursery school was best for us. We landed at the EllwangerBarryNursery School (461-4250, www.ebns.org) near Strong/UR. A co-op encourages learning at every turn, requires parent involvement in the classroom, and is run by a board of parents/directors. EBNS has just one teacher, so the parents essentially run the school. It sounds more daunting than it actually is; once the school is established, maintaining it isn't that hard when everyone does their part. But the value that accrues from your child witnessing your active involvement in her life is worth the effort. We've also forged relationships that might last a lifetime.

Lori Minnehan of the Community Nursery School of Irondequoit (266-2108), also a co-op, agrees. She says that parental involvement is crucial to the success of CNSI. "It makes the transition to the classroom easier for the children and also offers you the chance to observe and help cultivate your child's budding intellect."

Both schools are accepting applications for the school year starting in September. You can learn about other area nursery schools on the web at www.kidsoutandabout.com and through the free magazine Genesee Valley Parent.

--- Michael J. Peter

Easy as pi

It's not hard to understand why kids are fascinated by the number pi. When I was a kid I liked it even before I knew what its function was. The ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter?Whatever. The cool thing about pi was what happened after the number got off to its inauspicious start: 3.1415. It was rumored that after the decimal point the digits went on forever. That meant infinity. As many digits as I could count and then double that. Triple that. Plus one.Plus one more.Forever.

Now a nifty website called the Pi Searcher (www.angio.net/pi/bigpi.cgi) helps make infinity come alive for people who, like me, never got beyond the foreverness of it. It had never occurred to me that, being infinite, any string of numbers could occur in pi in many different places. Maybe even an infinite number of places.

Key a series of numbers into Pi Searcher --- your birthday, lucky number, etc. --- and it will calculate where in pi your string occurs. For example, the date September 11, 2001, written as 091101, appears at the 8,267th place after the decimal point. It also appears again at the 375,742th place, the 1,215,935th place, and so on. Currently the site calculates up to the first 200 million digits of pi --- not quite infinity, but enough to get a good sense of things.

If you really get into it, the Pi Searcher site, now celebrating its 10th anniversary, has lots of other information that is nifty-slash-useless, depending on your point of view.

--- Jennifer Loviglio