How to prepare for an uncertain school year

  Posted: 2 February 2021

“Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play.“

Wise words from Philip Pullman, who received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2005:
  Posted: 19 August 2019

 Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play. If you don’t give a child food, the damage quickly becomes visible. If you don’t let a child have fresh air and play, the damage is also visible, but not so quickly. If you don’t give a child love, the damage might not be seen for some years, but it’s permanent. But if you don’t give a child art and stories and poems and music, the damage is not so easy to see. It’s there, though.

 Their bodies are healthy enough; they can run and jump and swim and eat hungrily and make lots of noise, as children have always done, but something is missing. It’s true that some people grow up never encountering art of any kind, and are perfectly happy and live good and valuable lives, and in whose homes there are no books, and they don’t care much for pictures, and they can’t see the point of music. Well, that’s fine. I know people like that. They are good neighbours and useful citizens.

 But other people, at some stage in their childhood or their youth, or maybe even their old age, come across something of a kind they’ve never dreamed of before. It is as alien to them as the dark side of the moon. But one day they hear a voice on the radio reading a poem, or they pass by a house with an open window where someone is playing the piano, or they see a poster of a particular painting on someone’s wall, and it strikes them a blow so hard and yet so gentle that they feel dizzy. Nothing prepared them for this.

  They suddenly realise that they’re filled with a hunger, though they had no idea of that just a minute ago; a hunger for something so sweet and so delicious that it almost breaks their heart. They almost cry, they feel sad and happy and alone and welcomed by this utterly new and strange experience, and they’re desperate to listen closer to the radio, they linger outside the window, they can’t take their eyes off the poster. They wanted this, they needed this as a starving person needs food, and they never knew. They had no idea. That is what it’s like for a child who does need music or pictures or poetry to come across it by chance.

  If it weren’t for that chance, they might never have met it, and might have passed their whole lives in a state of cultural starvation without knowing it. The effects of cultural starvation are not dramatic and swift. They’re not so easily visible. And, as I say, some people, good people, kind friends and helpful citizens, just never experience it; they’re perfectly fulfilled without it. If all the books and all the music and all the paintings in the world were to disappear overnight, they wouldn’t feel any the worse; they wouldn’t even notice. But that hunger exists in many children, and often it is never satisfied because it has never been awakened. Many children in every part of the world are starved for something that feeds and nourishes their soul in a way that nothing else ever could or ever would.

  We say, correctly, that every child has a right to food and shelter, to education, to medical treatment, and so on. We must understand that every child has a right to the experience of culture. We must fully understand that without stories and poems and pictures and music, children will starve.

  Written by
 Philip Pullman for the tenth anniversary of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2012. More from Philip Pullman here. 

The new school bullies aren’t children – they’re parents
Furious Facebook posts, abusive emails, school sit-ins, menacing behaviour: the bullying of staff by parents is becoming increasingly common and can have devastating consequences.

 Send via Email Normal text sizeLarger text sizeVery large text size When something inside you breaks, the most basic matters can be overlooked. Take, for example, the case of Queensland construction worker Matt Barreno*. One Sunday evening in May last year, the 48-year-old flew out of his house in such a fury, he barely registered his outfit: grey flannelette pyjamas and some worn sandals he calls slippers. In that moment, there was only one thing that mattered: confronting the principal of the local high school at her home, a 20-minute drive away.

 Speeding away from his mountain home in the genteel hinterland of south-east Queensland, it's unlikely he noticed the organic farms, wineries and hedges topped with tropical blooms that he drove past. Matt was gripped only by thoughts of this principal and what he believed she had done to his family.

By Melissa Fyfe & Henrietta Cook
 April 20, 2019

Poor nutrition is stunting intellectual development
 Free education means little if poor health and hunger continue to hobble children, writes Samantha Richmond

 There are certain factors to consider regarding President Jacob Zuma’s plan for tertiary education to be subsidised for about 90% of households from 2018.

 While it will have given hope for many who had previously been unable to study further, some factors, beginning at birth, have long-term significance. A 2016 analysis by Daniela Casale, using data from the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS), underlined the links between child health and educational outcomes and highlighted how much work remains to pave the next generation’s path to success.

Students learn better from books than screens, according to a new study

Patricia A. Alexander Professor of Psychology, University of Maryland Lauren M. Singer Ph.D. Candidate in Educational Psychology, University of Maryland

  Today’s students see themselves as digital natives, the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology like smartphones, tablets and e-readers.

 Teachers, parents and policymakers certainly acknowledge the growing influence of technology and have responded in kind. We’ve seen more investment in classroom technologies, with students now equipped with school-issued iPads and access to e-textbooks. In 2009, California passed a law requiring that all college textbooks be available in electronic form by 2020; in 2011, Florida lawmakers passed legislation requiring public schools to convert their textbooks to digital versions.

 Given this trend, teachers, students, parents and policymakers might assume that students’ familiarity and preference for technology translates into better learning outcomes. But we’ve found that’s not necessarily true. As researchers in learning and text comprehension, our recent work has focused on the differences between reading print and digital media. While new forms of classroom technology like digital textbooks are more accessible and portable, it would be wrong to assume that students will automatically be better served by digital reading simply because they prefer it.

3 Parenting Power-Struggle Pitfalls And 3 Tools to Navigate Through Them BY BRITTNEY SERPELL PARENTING

 Power struggles come with the territory of parenting. Before they can even talk, the awesome little people we have the privilege to raise start to exert their wills and test their boundaries.

 All too often as parents, we struggle to manage ourselves well in these power struggles, and end up reaching for tools like anger and punishment to feel powerful and regain control of the situation. When we do, though we may “win” in getting our child to do what we want them to do in the moment, we ultimately lose by causing collateral damage to our heart-to-heart connection with them.

   If this becomes a pattern in our parenting, we will ultimately sabotage the goal of raising our kids to be powerful adults who care about being responsible for their half of connection with us and others. Therefore, it’s vitally important that we navigate through our power-struggle moments in ways that protect the heart-to-heart connection we’re building with our kids.

 The following three tools for avoiding power-struggle pitfalls are ones I learned years ago, when my dad first discovered Love & Logic. After becoming certified and using them every day with my own kids, I discovered another layer of appreciation for them. I hope you find them as helpful as I do!

The silent tragedy affecting today’s children
Victoria Prooday, Occupational Therapist

There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels - our children. Through my work with hundreds of children and families as an occupational therapist, I have witnessed this tragedy unfolding right in front of my eyes.

 Our children are in a devastating emotional state! Talk to teachers and professionals who have been working in the field for the last 15 years. You will hear concerns similar to mine. Moreover, in the past 15 years, researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions

Helicopter Parents Are Raising Unemployable Children
Marcia Sirota Author, speaker, coach and MD

Helicopter parents are in the news a lot these days. These are the parents who can't stop hovering around their kids. They practically wrap them in bubble wrap, creating a cohort of young adults who struggle to function in their jobs and in their lives.

  Helicopter parents think that they're doing what's best for their kids but actually, they're hurting their kids' chances at success. In particular, they're ruining their kids' chances of landing a job and keeping it.

ADHD is a brain disorder, not a label for poor parenting, say scientists
Henry Bodkin -16 February 2017

ADHD is a brain disorder and should not be used as a convenient label for difficult children or poor parenting, the first major physical study of the condition has concluded.

  Researchers analysed the brain volumes of more than 3,200 people and noticed that those of patients with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) were underdeveloped in five key regions. Areas governing emotion and motivation were found to be smaller than in the general population, regardless of whether the participants were taking brain medication.

10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12
By Cris Rowan

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010). Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010, Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012).

Coddled kids paying high price: expert
A generation of "snowplough" parents have pampered their children so much that they are driving a mental health epidemic among today's teenagers, a leading Australian child psychologist says.


Psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg.
 Picture: DAVE TEASE

 Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, a high-profile parenting expert who spoke to teachers and parents at The Illawarra Grammar School this week, said many Generation X parents had made their children's lives so easy that the kids were left with no way to handle problems or overcome obstacles on their own. "This generation of parents just push all the obstacles out of the way and try to make life as simple and as easy as possible for their kids," he said. "On the face of it, that's admirable because we all want the best for our kids, but it teaches them absolutely nothing about resilience and creates immense vulnerability when they leave home and go into the big wide world."

Science Proves Reading To Kids Really Does Change Their Brains

Now, for the first time, researchers have hard evidence that reading does activate the parts of preschoolers brains that help with mental imagery and understanding narrative - both of which are key for the development of language and literacy.
"There have been a good number of studies that have found empirical evidence that reading to kids does have an impact on things such as literacy and oral language readiness," Dr. Thomas DeWitt, director of the division of general and community pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, told The Huffington Post. "But prior to this study, we really have not been able to answer, 'Does it have an impact biologically on brain function?'"

Parents, It's Time To Stop Undermining Our Kids' Teachers

I am the father of three children, a son (age eight) and two daughters (ages seven and four). My wife is a school teacher who has taught elementary-aged children for the last 15 years. Since my wife is a teacher, I have spent countless hours listening to teachers tell their stories.

  This has caused me to recognize some things I would like to share with my fellow parents. We are doing a huge disservice to our kids. We are raising a generation of children who are going to be incapable of succeeding in the modern era.

  They are being taught to be egocentric and to give up, often before even trying. In this post I want to recount a number of lessons I have gleaned from contact with so many teachers over these last years. Parents, you are not your child's best friend, you are their parent If I only get one point across to my fellow parents in this post it is that you are not your child's friend, you are their parent.

  Your job is to instill good behaviours and morals and enforce the rules. Too many parents I meet think that they are supposed to be their child's best friend first, and parent second.

The collapse of parenting:
Why it’s time for parents to grow up If anyone can be called the boss in modern, anti-hierarchical parenthood, it’s the children
Cathy Gulli January 7, 2016

For modern families, the adage “food is love” might well be more true put another way: food is power. Not long ago, Dr. Leonard Sax was at a restaurant and overheard a father say to his daughter, “Honey, could you please do me a favour? Could you please just try one bite of your green peas?” To many people, this would have sounded like decent or maybe even sophisticated parenting—gentle coaxing formed as a question to get the child to co-operate without threatening her autonomy or creating a scene.

 To Sax, a Pennsylvania family physician and psychologist famous for writing about children’s development, the situation epitomized something much worse: the recent collapse of parenting, which he says is at least partly to blame for kids becoming overweight, overmedicated, anxious and disrespectful of themselves and those around them.

 FOR THE RECORD: Dr. Leonard Sax on the collapse of parenting. You put your questions to the expert.

Opinion: Open Letter to my Child's Pre-School
 Sholain Govender-Bateman asks her child’s preschool to please not make her job harder. Dear preschool I loved the first part of the concert where the children, all aged 6 and below, recited nursery rhymes and sang kid’s songs. It’s always delightful to see little kids just being kids and their adorable, innocent selves. I see that so much time and effort has been put into the costumes and rehearsals.

7 Ways To Raise Grateful Kids In An Over-Entitled World. In a world of “I wants” and “Can I haves?” it can be daunting for parents to raise grateful kids.

In a world of “I wants” and “Can I haves?” it can be daunting for parents to raise grateful kids. I get it. As a mom of two boys, I’ve watched and learned (sometimes the hard way) how our society is now seemingly pre-dispositioning kids to feel entitled to have it all, simply because “everyone else does.” Does having the latest and greatest gadget make them better people? No. But what will is raising them to be grateful not just for what they have, but for the opportunities that are available to them.

  With that in mind, here are seven powerful strategies from my new book, The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic — A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World, that will help parents model gratitude in their daily lives and help their kids do the same.