We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: A

UnknownThis is such a great book, full of  sensory imagery and adventure.  The author, Michael Rosen takes his little readers through tall grasses, roaring winds, heaving storms and monstrous mountains.  Each outdoorsy “obstacle” is followed by a mantra,

“We can’t go under it, we can’t go over it, we have to go through it!”

Maybe it’s just me, but this mantra is such a great lesson for little kids to learn in life.  Things can be tough, sometimes we have to deal with it, and go straight on through.  At least, that’s what I get out of it– my charge on the other hand just wants to go on a bear hunt!

Advertisements
Link

What Drives Success?

What Drives Success?

-New York Times

-New York Times

Here is an interesting article from The New York Times by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld about race, immigration and success.  They identify three embedded-not innate traits which can lead to your child’s success.

“The fact that groups rise and fall this way punctures the whole idea of ‘model minorities’ or that groups succeed because of innate, biological differences.  Rather there are cultural forces at work.

It turns out that for all their diversity, the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success.  The first is a superiority complex– a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality.  The second appears to be the opposite– insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not enough.  The third is impulse control.”

Success happens, not by instilling only one of the three traits, all three must be present– and in America, specifically well-off white families, falsely think they can drive their child to success by constant confirmation, such as, “You’re amazing.  Mommy and Daddy never want you to worry about a thing” (NYT.)  Rather, success is based not solely, but partially, on some possible threat of failure, or of failing to live up to some standard prerequisite.

Link

Forbes: on Damaging parenting

Forbes: on Damaging parenting

I agree with all 7 of the negative parenting styles, or acts listed in this article. Parents and caregivers want to be there and protect their children, I get that,  and we should continue nurturing and supporting our kids and charges. However, Like most anything else excessive behavior can have negative results. Maybe next time you see your kid upset because another kid budged the line for the slide, don’t butt in, let your kid figure it out. Take small steps, it can be difficult to occasionally let your kids fend for themselves, but you might be shocked by what they’re  capable of, and what they can learn by experiencing these autonomous moments.

Baby-Led Stories

Here is another verbal tip for both parents and caregivers: Ask your children, or the children you care for to tell you a story, sing you a song or “read” a book to you.  All of these things give them a free-range opportunity to use their language skills and stimulates imagination. An added plus is it gives parents and caregivers a verbal break, but stay alert!  Listen to what your kid is saying, and ask them questions about it when they are done, make them know you care and hear them.

Back to Pink, Kind of.

This is kind of a reblog from Bluemilk, I saw her post referencing the recent article/discussion Girls, Boys, Feminism, Toys: Deborah Siegel and Rebecca Hains Discuss.  The discussion between Deborah Siegal and Rebecca Hains, points to issues with the anti-pink phenomenon, and ways to educate children about media literacy.  

Rebecca: In all honesty, the argument that we need to stop (“or at least pause”) the war on pink didn’t even come off as a rhetorical device to me. I’m sad to say that it just came across as ill-informed. There isn’t a war on pink; there’s a thoughtful, measured argument that while pink isn’t inherently bad, it’s limiting the play worlds and imaginations of boys and girls alike. So “Who’s Afraid of the War on Pink” reads, to me and my colleagues, like a straw man argument. The authors were conjuring up a nonexistent epidemic of myopic thinking, instead of engaging with anyone’s actual writing on the subject of girl culture and the rise of pink.

Check out the rest of the discussion on Girl W/Pen

Sorry Goldieblox

Unknown

I just found this article by Katy Waldman in Slate, Goldieblox: Great for Girls? Bad for Girls? Or Just Selling Toys?

If you haven’t yet heard of GoldieBlox toy company, check it out here.   The aim of the company is to guide girls toward a career in engineering, or at the very least get them away from typical girl toys.   While I haven’t had the pleasure of getting my hands on one of the toys, and while the company aims seem at first powerful and legitimate I can’t help but shutter a little at the almost sleazy misappropriation of feminism seen in their video and mission statement, and with it the assumption that girls don’t already utilize home materials, and other toys to satisfy their desire for constructive and creative learning.

I really don’t want to poo-poo on anyones attempt at trying to promote “better” learning for girls (and boys, right?) and while I can even respect understand, the desire to try and make a buck in the name of feminism, this toy company seems to have missed the mark.  In Waldman’s essay she points to many disheartening truths about the toy, and reviewers all seem to agree that while the idea behind the toy is “inspiring” the execution is a, “massive disappointment, Really doesn’t inspire creativity or ‘engineering’ skills, no room for thinking outside the box.” Amazon reviewers. 

In the end, if you want to inspire children to be creative and even to directly push them toward a career in engineering it seems your best options remain in your household.  Tupperware, tape, boxes, blocks, utensils, etc., all of these things promote spacial reasoning, creativity and may even build future engineers.

Tools of the Mind

Unknown-1I just recently heard about this new (to me) preschool and kindergarten curriculum, Tools of the Mind. If you, like myself have not yet heard of this I highly recommend checking it out.  The differences from a typical classroom are subtle, but fundamental.

Tools of the Mind is a research-based early childhood program that builds strong foundations for school success by promoting intentional and self-regulated learning in preschool- and kindergarten-aged children.”-(Tools of the Mind site)

The differences are in the classroom set-up, schedule and activities.  The alphabet board is not alphabetical, as we know it, instead letters are grouped together based on their likeness to others, i.e., vowels and consonant. What we consider play-time can be the center of the days activity in a Tools classroom.  The curriculum recognizes and utilizes play to stimulate self-awarness. Before a set-up play activity children are asked to draw/write (in their own way) what their intention is for the activity.  While this “intention setting” might seem small and insignificant, what it does is offer children a chance to be reflective and self-aware, which give s them agency, and a chance to be autonomous.  These subtle, yet as I said above, fundamental differences have been recognized as having great upward impact.  

“The effectiveness of the Tools program has been the subject of numerous research studies in the field of early education and neuroscience. Tools has been shown to improve self-regulation skills in young children and predict later achievement in reading and math. Tools is currently expanding in many states and local school districts across the country. As a result, the Tools program is now a part of several, rigorous longitudinal studies examining the effects for special populations such as dual language learners, as well as, the program’s effects on teacher practice as measured by teacher and child interactions.” DC Public Schools: Tools of the Mind Early Childhood Curriculum, Empirical Research Review.

Quote

Wise Words from Kitzinger

“Babies speak a language that needs to be learned.  And with each baby you need to start discovering this one’s special language.  It takes time.  Meanwhile there us confusion, and irritation that the baby’s messages are not clearer, and that your own efforts to understand are not appreciated.  You have read books about child care, but somehow the baby is not playing by the rules. Remember that, though you are trying your best, your baby has not read the same books.”- Sheila Kitzinger (The Year After Childbirth)