Children learn how to get along without television

October 26, 1997|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The Television Project visited a Baltimore elementary school this month, offering children alternatives to the medium that dominates most living rooms.

Annamarie Pluhar, 43, founded the nonprofit organization, based in Silver Spring, to loosen television's grip on family life. Through workshops, lectures and a quarterly newsletter, Pluhar urges parents to change their children's point of view.

"Kids today are truly at a loss if they turn off the TV," Pluhar said. "Parents depend on it as a baby sitter and children are watching for hours. When they are not watching, they are demanding that parents be entertainers."

A $1,000 grant from St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Westminster helped deliver the message to Robert W. Coleman Elementary, the only year-round school in the state.

The grant paid for supplies, Pluhar's salary and travel costs for a two-week workshop, given while the children were on a break from their regular class schedule.

Pluhar taught the basics of turning off TV by using games, chapters read from lengthy books and exercises designed to turn on children's creativity.

"I am turned on to exercise now," said Courtney Crowder, 9, jogging around the school track.

"I learned to make banana bread instead of watching TV," said Brittany Coles, 10.

Pub Date: 10/26/97

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