Baby (and mother) Friendly Hospital Initiative

The Baby-Friendly hospital initiative was created in 1991, and now spans across many countries. If you’re expecting a child, and aim to have a more humanistic, breastfeeding friendly experience look up what, if any hospitals in your area are Baby-Friendly. Unfortunately the U.S., is lacking in these hospitals, especially in low-income marginalized communities.

Baby-Friendly hospitals must follow a 10 step program, ensuring best practices in terms of breastfeeding initiation and support. Among other practices here are a few most important steps taken to support the mother and baby Mothers are encouraged to do Skin-to-Skin, placing baby immediately after birth, or as soon as possible on mothers chest. Pacifiers and other soothers are not to be used. Formula is not provided, or encouraged unless specifically requested by the mother. And mothers and babies are encouraged to room-in together, so as to assure breastfeeding on demand.

The Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was launched by WHO and UNICEF in 1991, following the Innocenti Declaration of 1990. The initiative is a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

To help in the implementation of the initiative, different tools and materials were developed, field-tested and provided, including a course for maternity staff, a self-appraisal tool and an external assessment tool. Additional tools were developed afterwards, such as monitoring and reassessment tools. Since its launching BFHI has grown, with more than 152 countries around the world implementing the initiative. The initiative has measurable and proven impact, increasing the likelihood of babies being exclusively breastfed for the first six months. -WHO site

Advertisements

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.

Llama Llama Time to Share: A+

Unknown

Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney is a great book about sharing, a lesson and skill which is one of the hardest to teach and instill in children…and sometimes adults. The thing that I love about the book, and most of the Llama Llama collection is that it offers a lesson which can be easily identified by young children. Llama Llama Time to Share acknowledges the difficulties sharing can entail and the fun which is gained when sharing actually happens.

When the child I watch is having difficulty sharing I reference this book (we read it constantly per her request.)  She immidiately knows what I’m talking about and usually decides to do what Llama Llama would do. This book gets an A+ because the message is clear, relevant and worth learning.

Even Firefighters Go To The Potty: D-

UnknownEven Firefighters Go to the Potty by Wendy and Naomi Wax receives a D- because it’s horribly stereotypical and heteronormative.  As stated in the title, this is a potty training book, but what it really seems to be “training” or instilling in it’s readers is digressive social stereotyping.  Almost all of the professions feature white-males, the only other race imaged in the book is African-American, this is a typical race quota. The race quota can be seen in many late Nineties and early 2000’s shows, where a once all white cast, simply throws in a black person to “diversify.” But really all this does is amplify, and naturalize racism, by assuming that white and black extremes take care of the diversity quota. What about all other races?

The two-African-American MEN imaged in this book fulfill a race stereotype, one is a baseball player, the other is a server.  There might be one woman in the book, but her gender-ambiguity is hard to visually read, especially in comparison with the hyper-masculine male characters.

The ONE (possible)  woman featured has long hair, virtually the only “tell” this might be a woman, all other features are masculine, or hard  to read. In another, more progressive book, I wouldn’t assume this doctor were female, the long hair wouldn’t automatically make me think “female” but in a book that has proved to be socially digressive I’m leaning toward female. Long hair on a guy is just too much.

The possible woman is a doctor… great right? Maybe not, because either the doctor is a male, or the female doctor is, stereotypically unattractive, i.e., looks Vs. smarts. Women, stereotypically are not thought of as being both attractive and smart, you’re either one or the other.

Not every book needs to be ambiguous about gender relations, nor, does every book need to display different races, i.e. books centered around one-race families. The images, alone are to blame for the D- rating this book receives.  They’re so visually digressive that it overshadows any good message which could have been accomplished by simply doing the socially responsible thing of diversifying biological-sex and race through image. In a book which references many different professions including cop, firefighter, baseball player, server, doctor, there should be diversity in biological-sex and race.

Who Needs to be Artistic?

You don’t have to be artistically inclined, or creatively adept, to create a fun activity or toy for your children.  I’m speaking from experience.  You know those nannies who are amazingly artistically talented? The ones who draw beautiful portraits along side your child?  The ones who skillfully and effortlessly think of ways to use the left-over yarn, old clothes, to make an art project? Well, I’m sadly not one of those nannies.

But I try not to let this fact get me down.  I still draw alongside your children, my pictures just look like exact replicas of your 2-year-old’s. I’m still creative in theory, though my creations never look the way I imagine, which is something like this….

images-1

instead they look more like this…..

Unknown-1

The thing is, it doesn’t matter.  There are still plenty of activities for people like me.. and you to do.

Like I said, I still do all of the art stuff, and it’s fun! The thing I’m good at is being outdoors and going on fun, educational outings.  I love to take the child I watch (and past children I’ve nannied) to parks, where we can discuss nature, touch grass, dig in the mud, find walking sticks (I’m a pro at finding a good, solid, walking stick.)  We often take home some goods from nature, like leaves, flowers, sticks, and rocks.  And through some kind of miracle, I can usually think of some potentially magnificent art and educational project to make out of these things.   Though the outcome tends to be mediocre, the process is just as fun as it would be if I were artistically inclined….at least that’s what I tell myself.

Outing Ideas:

I live in New York City, so outing ideas are basically endless here.  We take trips to parks, which often have a free nature center, museums: including children’s, nature and art museums. We go to Zoo’s, Botanical Gardens, book stores, etc.  Destinations spots are also great, trips to the Hudson or East rivers, Coney Island, different playgrounds, simply walking around.  Most of the things listed here you can find anywhere you live.

Outing’s depend on where you live, but in general trips to book stores with a good kid selection is a great outing, especially on a rainy day. Museums are great, check out if your city has a children’s museum, there are tons of fun and educational activities in children’s museums, also don’t hesitate to bring them to art museums.  You might not be able to stay for as long as you would want, but still worth the trip!

Quote

Tattling vs. Telling

What Kids Want Us to Know

As a mother, I find several behaviors very annoying. Fortunately for me, my kids are too old for my least favorites. Whining is at the top of the list; I am especially annoyed when the first request is made in a whiny voice. [Kids, if you have to whine, please at least wait until your parents have said no.] Hmm, perhaps I should write a post about that.

Today’s post is about number two on the list: tattling. According to Merriam-Webster, tattle means “to tell a parent, teacher, etc., about something bad or wrong that another child has done.” I add to that definition, “in order to get the child into trouble.” All teachers and all parents with more than one child know too well how much children enjoy tattling. Mom, Cathy took my car! That’s ’cause he was touching my juice box! Well, she called me stupid! Only because…

View original post 1,233 more words

Dyslexia and Education

UnknownI just saw this piece on Motherlode by Lisa Ogburn  about raising a dyslexic child in standardized world.  I’m dyslexic, and I just recently talked with my mother about the difficulties she had teaching me how to read, the hours she spent going over sounds and words, phonetically with me, only to have me retain little to nothing the following day.   I don’t remember these hours spent learning how to read, but one day I got it.  I became an avid reader, but continued to have issues with numbers, and to this day I have a hard to sounding words out.

I was home-schooled until high school, when I then attended a huge public school, this may have been a mistake, my mom and I debate over this.  I think going to public school had its benefits, such as, understanding who I was, and the ways that I was smart despite being dyslexic.  That I had a personality, a righteousness I was able to exercise and that set me apart from the other kids who seemed to have none. But there was the obvious downside, which is our education system and the standardized tests which riddle every corner of it.

I remember taking an entrance examine before my freshmen year, everyone had to take it, so as to evaluate what class level they should be in.  According to my scores the school wanted to place me in remedial everything, luckily my mom had the final say and placed me honors classes where I could verbally and inwardly strengthen my learning.

My teachers would say that I was smart, that I performed well on homework and in class discussions but my tests were often confusing for them.  I did well on my homework because I had time at home. For most people testing is difficult, it’s a skill that is learned, for people with dyslexia it can be close to impossible.

The education system often made me feel stupid, it’s a feeling I still struggle with now. Luckily I am an adult now, and I can logically understand that the problem isn’t me, or people like me, it’s a fundamental problem within our society and educational system.