Sunday, August 8, 2021

A Better Way: Compassionate Kids

In the "good old days" children were seen and not heard.  In the "good old days" not every kid got a trophy.  In the "good old days" if a child acted up in class they were paddled.  In the "good old days" --- fill in the blank.  

There have been so many approaches to child self-esteem over the years.  We hear that the generation before us was never coddled, had to work to earn praise and they were "better" for it.  

We all know that isn't exactly true.  

But we still do wonder...what about the "every kid gets a trophy" thing?  

How do we celebrate a child, indeed, how do we celebrate one another without giving someone a "big head?"

At the same time though, do you really know any child, or adult who loves him, her, themselves TOO much?  

We fear that our children will feel "entitled."  But isn't every child, every human being entitled?

Entitled to love? Entitled to safety?  Entitled to respect?

Maybe the problem is not that children, that we feel TOO "entitled", it is that we don't feel entitled ENOUGH to claim the things that are ours.

If human beings
KNOW that they are entitled to love, safety, respect, food, medical care, education, shelter, just because they are a person, then it stands to reason they will believe that EVERY person deserves the same.  

You know your child better than anyone, so you will know the best approach to take.  

Loving your child, assuring your child that they are incredible just as they are, will help them understand that ALL children, ALL people are incredible, just as they are.  

Perhaps that is the best way to build a more compassionate world.  Perhaps that is the best way to continue to find "better ways" of loving one another and all of creation.

Thank you for being the caring, compassionate people you are and raising your children to be your legacy of love.  

Here are some great articles and book lists you might want to consider.

Simple Interactions:  a partnership between the Fred Rogers Center, Harvard Graduate School of Education and the University of Pittsburgh

The Colors of Us Booklist

NAEYC Embracing Children of Promise

NAEYC article on supporting social and emotional growth

The Peaceful Parent

Sunday, August 1, 2021

A Better Way: Respecting and Celebrating Cutlures

This episode was one that really hit home for us.  Watch it again here. 

For many years I (Miss Ing) had read the book Tikki Tikki Tembo to classes.   I remember hearing it read to me as a child.  Only in recent years have I come to understand what is so wrong with this story.  The author never intended to be offensive, but the book really is.  Back in 1968 this book even won an award from Horn Book.  Today it really shouldn't be read anywhere except to explain the issues that make it so very troubling.  Read this post from Grace Lin, she explains it so well.  Even as late as 2019 I read this book in schools, I did change the country to "a far away place" and I changed the names, but that really wasn't enough.  I know better now and I will do better.    

Thank you for the feedback we have received from this program.  We are grateful to be learning and have a long way to go, but we will continue to try to do better.    

Learning for Justice addresses the difference between appreciating another culture and appropriating it.  

Here is a great article from Parents Together about talking to your kid about Cultural Appropriation as it might come up when choosing a Halloween costume.  

Here NAEYC explores culturally appropriate guidance for those working with little ones.

Friday, July 23, 2021

A Better Way: Harmful and Hurtful Stereotypes

Sesame Street has put together incredible resources that can help you have conversations with your child about race.  Check it out here.  

In March of this year, there was some outcry over what misinformed news sources referred to as "the canceling of Dr. Seuss."  
Dr. Seuss was not canceled.  Seuss Enterprises chose not to continue publishing six of the author's books that contained very inaccurate and harmful images.  Here is a link to a New York Times article describing what really happened and the backlash that resulted.
This decision by Seuss Enterprises and the misinformation seen on television and on social media were what prompted this show.
We wanted to somehow talk about how the "good old days" and the "good old ways" weren't always good.  But now that we do know better, we can make positive changes.  
Talking about stereotypes is one entryway into discussions of race, equity, and justice. 


Sunday, July 11, 2021

Taking Care of Our Earth Part 1

Greta Thunberg is an inspiration to many.  A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology suggests that knowledge of the young environmental activist's efforts makes people more likely to engage in their own efforts to promote better stewardship of the earth. 

Ms. Thunberg was 15 when she began her efforts, but teaching kids about taking care of the environment can begin much earlier and it doesn't have to be hard!

In this episode, we talked a little bit about fun things you can do with your family to encourage better stewardship of our planet.  Watch the show here.  

Here's a great starter booklist from Teaching for Change.  

The National Environmental Education Foundation provides some suggestions for at-home activities that promote earth-care.  

It can all seem overwhelming!  Miss Ing recommends trying out the Starting Sustainability Podcast (for grown-ups) to learn about taking baby-steps and not feeling overwhelmed when you try something and it doesn't work.  

Here is a quick listen from NPR regarding how to talk to children about their fears for the environment.   Chances are they have seen something on tv or heard about the precarious state of our planet and maybe they are worried.  How do you help them feel less anxious about a very real concern?  Grist provides some good suggestions.  

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Don't Cry?

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons proclaimed, "Big Girls Don't Cry."
Melissa Manchester had a hit with "Don't Cry Out Loud."
Even Judy got into the act singing, "When you're smiling when you're smiling the whole world smiles with you...but when you're crying, you bring on the rain. So quit your crying. Be happy again."
Admittedly probably no one takes parenting advice from song lyrics.
Yet do you recall being told, "Don't cry!" Most often when a parent or caregiver says this to a child, they are saying it with love, with the best of intentions.
Sure, there are times when we hear, "Don't be a baby, quit your crying!" But more so we hear, "Don't cry, honey, I am right here. Don't cry." And we say this to little ones because we love them so much! And it hurts us to see them hurting.
But letting your little one cry can be the best thing sometimes. It validates their feelings and helps them develop socially and emotionally.
Check out this helpful resource from Penn State.
And this is a helpful resource for kids themselves.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Myth Busters: Math People

Maybe you have said it.  Maybe you have heard someone else say it.  "I'm just not a math person.," or "I just can't do math.,"  or "I am left-brained, or right-brained, whatever brained it is when you are good at art and not at math!"  

That kind of thinking is still around, believe it or not.  But it really isn't true!  

Watch the show again here.  

When kids say those kinds of statements, it is more likely that they are having a little math anxiety. Math anxiety can lead to less than successful experiences with math, which leads to more anxiety, which affirms the belief that "Some people are math people and some people aren't."  And so on and so on and so on...

But there is help!  This article from the Child Mind Institute is a great place to start.

The National Association for the Education of the Young Child has some great posts with helpful tips for making math fun at home.  

This summer Miss Joyce is doing a weekly show, You + Math = Fun.  Check out the previous episodes here and look for new ones every Tuesday at 10:15am. 

And here are some great books that will help your peanut enjoy math!