Renascence School Education News - private school

Friday, February 20, 2015

Let’s Get Every Kid in a Park

Ed.gov – Arne Duncan, Sally Jewell, Tom Vilsack, Jo-Ellen Darcy, Kathryn Sullivan

“From sea to shining sea, our country is home to gorgeous landscapes, vibrant waterways, and historic treasures that all Americans can enjoy. But right now, young people are spending more time in front of screens than outside, and that means they are missing out on valuable opportunities to explore, learn, and play in the spectacular outdoor places that belong to all of them. President Obama is committed to giving every kid the chance to explore America’s great outdoors and unique history. That’s why today he launched the Every Kid in a Park initiative, which calls on each of our agencies to help get all children to visit and enjoy the outdoors and inspire a new generation of Americans to experience their country’s unrivaled public lands and waters. Starting in September, every fourth-grader in the nation will receive an “Every Kid in a Park” pass that’s good for free admission to all of America’s federal lands and waters — for them and their families — for a full year.”(more)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Adventure playgrounds unleash the power of play

Deseret News – Marsha Maxwell

“Protected by an eight-foot-high privacy fence and sitting atop a small hill in northern Wales is a radical adventure playground where the children are in charge. At the entrance is a sign reading: “The Land. A space full of possibilities.” Inside, children construct their own play spaces from discarded lumber, old tires, rope and all sorts of junk. Depending on the day, children might be playing with an old rowboat, shopping carts, bicycle parts or a discarded piano. Kids use saws and hammers, and even build fires to burn cardboard just for the fun of it…Adventure playgrounds like The Land are designed to foster free play, an activity that experts say is important to a child’s development. Free play is a process of self-discovery, giving children a chance to develop their unique abilities along with a sense of mastery and the capacity to negotiate risk.”(more)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Q&A: Blocks, Play, Screen Time And The Infant Mind

NPR – Eric Westervelt

“Dr. Dimitri Christakis has done extensive research on blocks and play, and has lectured on media and children. He is the director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute…We talked about the way young children learn and how their minds develop. He’s not against digital education tools, but he says they have to be the right kind and age-appropriate. He is raising alarms that Americans are over-charging their infant’s developing brains…the typical preschool child in the United States watches about 4 1/2 hours of television a day, and they’re only awake for about 12 hours a day. So somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of their time is spent in front of a screen, [raising] the question of what are they not doing that they would otherwise be doing? What activities are being displaced? And much of those activities are traditional means of interacting with the environment and with adults.”(more)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Taiwanese Government Mandates Limit on Children’s Tech Use

Education News – Sherlynn Summers

“Lawmakers in Taiwan have revised the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act to regulate the amount of time children can spend using electronic devices. The new law provides the government the power to fine parents if they are unable to prevent their children from using electronic gadgets for “a period of time that is not reasonable,” writes Lee Seok Hwai of the Straits Times…The new legislation follows the line of rulings in China and South Korea which both promote a healthy level of gadget usage time. China continues to attempt to discourage excessive online gaming while South Korea has classified online games and e-sports as addictive substances. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum of two hours daily of screen time for children. It also discouraged the set up of television and Internet access in children’s bedrooms…Child development psychologists continue to encourage more unstructured play time for children.”(more)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How schools ruined recess — and four things needed to fix it

The Washington Post – Julia Steiny

“A recess that is consistently short and very restrictive allows few opportunities for healthy sensory development – leading to potential difficulties with attention, learning, and behavior…What if we took a totally different approach to recess instead? A therapeutic approach that values the needs of the whole child and views recess as a form of prevention instead of simply time to get “energy out.” What if we let children fully move their bodies during recess time, let them get dirty, and even test out new theories? What would recess look like then? The closest I found to doing just that was the Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand…I decided to meet Swanson’s principal, Bruce McLachlan, in person…His recess has gotten international attention, because he did something radical: he got rid of the rules. And guess what? When the rules left, so did their “behavior issues.” He saw more independence, improved creativity, healthy risk-taking, less falling, better coordination, and improved attention in the classroom. There were four main ways he changed his recess in order to see these improvements…They are:”(more)

Four Crucial Ways Playing Outdoors in Winter Benefits Children

Accuweather – Staff Writer

“During the warm spring and summer months, it seems natural to allow children to play outside. However, when winter comes along, parents may be more hesitant to send children outside. However, there are plenty of ways to make sure children stay safe and healthy outside in the winter, and there are even several health benefits that accompany this outdoor playtime.”(more)

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Benefits of Play

PsychCentral – MARIE HARTWELL-WALKER, ED.D.

“One of the most important gifts we can give our kids is time to play, both as a family and on their own. Finding time to play with kids can be a challenge if you are working, managing a household and meeting the many day-to-day challenges of getting things done. But play isn’t optional. It’s essential. Play is considered so important to child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child. Play — or free, unstructured time in the case of older children and adolescents — is essential to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play as a family weaves the ties of love and connection that bind family members together…Physical skills, emotional regulation, flexible thinking, the ability to get along with others and the confidence to try new things and think outside the box are all keys to being successful in life. So what can parents do to ensure their children develop these important skills?”(more)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Keep Kids Active When the Temperature Drops Below Freezing

The Huffington Post – Edwin Moses

“As we head into the depths of winter in most parts of the country it’s easy for kids to fall into a troubling path of a sedentary and less active lifestyle due to the frigid temperatures outside. Even through the cold, kids need their daily exercise. According to the National Association of Sport and Physical Education, kids ages 5-12 should exercise for at least 60 minutes of each day, and this figure doesn’t take a break just because it’s cold outside. Therefore, there needs to be healthy options for kids to play inside and outside during the cold winter months…Adults need to take on the responsibility of setting up the opportunities for kids to get active during the winter months…We shouldn’t be fearful of the outdoors and should encourage kids to dress properly and play some games outside if the weather is conducive…We owe it to our children to create a strategic plan and coordinate efforts to make this time fun and healthy. The payoff will be huge in terms of the overall physical and mental well-being of the children.”(more)

Friday, January 23, 2015

The best way to support your child’s development? Let them lead the way

The Globe and Mail – Sara Smeaton

“The notion that we need to trust our kids and the process of growth and development is relevant long after our children are infants. We need to stay attuned to our kids so we can nurture the skills they are ready to focus on. Children will let us know when they are ready to learn something new because they will begin practising it all the time. It’s up to us to notice…The patience and openness needed to do this can be in conflict with our culture, which emphasizes and rewards pushing kids to excel earlier and faster…The best way we can help our children learn the right skill at the right time is by trusting that they know what they are ready for and supporting their efforts. Here are some guidelines (adapted from Active for Life’s Skills Builder tool) to help you support your child in creating a foundation she can keep building on. Being active will improve your child’s health, happiness and self-esteem. It will reduce the risk of injuries, stress, anxiety and depression. The key is to remember that the most important things cannot be rushed.”(more)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Letting kids move in class isn’t a break from learning. It IS learning.

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“As an educator for the past 25 years, I’m delighted that our national conversations about teaching and learning are beginning to recognize that excellent instruction engages students intellectually, emotionally, and physically. We’ve come a long way in our understanding of the development of young minds. Yet despite research proving the lasting benefits of serious play, too many of our classrooms remain still, silent places, lacking any element of physical movement. It’s critical to maintain time for recess and free play that builds students’ balance systems (as powerfully described by Angela Hanscom), but we also need to emphasize the important role that physical movement can and should play within the classroom. Movement is a powerful teaching tool, and when we as teachers thoughtfully incorporate physical elements into instruction, we elevate the learning experience. As part of my work at Center for Inspired Teaching over the past 20 years, I train teachers to provide this type of active, student-centered instruction because it’s how students learn best.”(more)