Renascence School Education News - private school

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Study: Parents Distractions Lead to Risky Play Behavior

Education News – Grace Smith

“According to materials from the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents who take their children to playgrounds and then pull out their cell phones to make a call or check Facebook run the risk of being distracted from monitoring their children. Annually more than 200,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in emergency rooms as a result of playground-related injuries, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission…two researchers observed caregivers and children at seven New York playgrounds in order to pinpoint the types of distractions…Caregivers were distracted during 74% of the episodes, but most distractions were minimal and for the majority of the time the adult’s attention was focused on the child. Cell phones were not the only cause for distraction. Other distractions included talking with other adults (33% of all distractions); electronic devices (30%); eating, drinking, looking in purse, reading, other activities (37%). “Caregivers in general are doing a fine job supervising their children on the playground. However, increased awareness of limiting electronic distractions and other activities that may interfere with supervision should be considered,” said study author Ruth Milanaik, DO…”(more)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Make your backyard irresistible to kids

Business Sun Journal – Staff Writer

“When summer arrives do you see even less of your kids than you did during the school year? Too many American children, tweens and teens spend those extra hours of free time indoors playing with technology, rather than engaging in healthful activity outside. Even when you know where your kids are, you may not understand what they’re doing with all those devices and game controllers…This summer, why not help your children get excited about a healthy and fun time outdoors? You can make your backyard the neighborhood hotspot that no kid can resist by providing three key ingredients to a great summer: fun, food and friendship.”(more)

Free Range Parenting: The Key Is Balance

The Huffington Post – Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed.

“When it comes to free range parenting, the key is balance. Yes, it is important for your child to test himself against his environment. However, that environment needs to be both age-appropriate and safe. Children also need supervision and they may venture out further if they can turn back and know that there is a significant caretaker nearby…Creative play is both important and beneficial in child development. By knowing what stage your child is in, you can affect that stage through age-appropriate stimulation…throughout my own research, I’ve learned that bonding is the most significant requirement for a happy, healthy child. If you bond well with your child, you can lower stress and anxiety, support security, and help your child reach his full capacity…At the end of the day, extreme parenting is out of balance and therefore can cause emotional, intellectual, security, and safety problems. Moreover, it is important to remember that children are children, and even though we want to teach them maturity by allowing them to test themselves against their environment, we have to take into account their stage of brain development, including their understanding of danger. Parents are entitled to parent, and must parent wisely.”(more)

Monday, April 20, 2015

U.S. Government’s attempt to raise children fails

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


Even though there is a lot of discussion about diversity and open mindedness, the U.S. has become a very closed-minded place to raise children.


Government agencies decide how children should be educated, psychology “experts” provide guidelines on how parents should interact with their children, law enforcement agencies force parents to follow the advice of the “experts”, and lawyers sue when kids are kids. With all this regulation, advice, policing, and legal intervention, one would think U.S. kids would be well educated and socially adept.


Just the opposite is true. U.S. children rank poorly in international academic comparisons. More than 50% of the U.S. college graduates are out of work or are underemployed. In addition, the U.S. spends over $100 billion on mental health annually and has the third highest incarceration rate in the world.


International comparisons provide some perspective.


In Vietnam, most children are potty trained by the time they are nine months old, something many U.S. psychologists suggest causes long term issues for children. Interestingly, most Vietnamese children go on to become happy, well adjusted adults.


In Japan, it is not uncommon to see six and seven year old kids riding the subway alone. Not only is this unheard of in the U.S., but would likely lead to a visit from Child Protective Services.


In Germany, it is common to see 4 and 5 year old children working with knives and other sharp instruments. Yet, in the U.S. children are not allowed to pick up a stick at school for fear that they will injure someone. And parents demand suspensions and threaten lawsuits when a student pinches or pokes another student.


A review of child rearing in the U.S. in the middle of the 20th Century provides some insight into the problem.


At that time, there was less government intervention. Local school districts had more control over curriculum and discipline. Teachers had better subject area preparation and lawsuits against school districts were uncommon.


There were no government agencies overseeing child rearing and few psychologists second-guessing what might be best for a child. Also, kids had the freedom to be kids. There were fights in the parking lot, scraped knees on the playground, and tears about “mean” comments. Families figured out how to interact and solve problems. Most people were employed. Few people had mental health issues and stints in prison were uncommon.


It appears that we need less government intervention, less expert advice, less enforcement, and more common sense.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Physical activity essential for kids

Standard-Freeholder – Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, MD, CM, MPH, FRCP(C)

“In North America, the rate of overweight and obese children and adolescents has doubled over the last two decades. Lack of exercise and physical activity is an important contributing factor. Today’s children are less active and more sedentary than in previous generations. Over 25% of children watch more than four hours of TV per day. Another study showed that children who watch more than four hours of TV per day were more overweight than children who watched TV for less than two hours a day. Prevention is the best approach. At home, parents can set a good example by practising healthy eating and exercise habits. Parents should always be on the lookout for signs of excessive eating or inadequate amounts of exercise in their children.”(more)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Savvy Parent’s Shopping Guide For Earth Day 2015

Forbes – Jenn Choi

“I see Earth Day more like a birthday. Every year, as we learn more about how much more we have to do, making this day a happy one becomes even more challenging. However, depression isn’t very productive and thus, this year, for my own family, I’ve decided to give Earth Day an image makeover. Instead of feeling guilty and depressed about how much more we have to do, we will be focused on how appreciating the earth makes us smarter, more productive and thus, happier.”(more)

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Value Of Wild, Risky Play: Fire, Mud, Hammers And Nails

NPR Ed – Eric Westervelt

“Filmmaker and radio producer Erin Davis’ new short documentary shares its name with an adventure playground in North Wales called The Land. As Davis puts it, the film explores the “nature of play, risk and hazard” — issues I explored last summer in a story on the decline and fall of wild play. At The Land, children start fires, swing from trees and play with saws, hammers and nails. Davis’ film offers the chance to examine why it’s important for kids to wave their wild-play flags high. Davis spoke with me about the Welsh playground. As she puts it, The Land is “a play space rooted in the belief that kids are empowered when they learn to manage risks on their own. Trained staff keep a watchful yet unobtrusive eye on the fun, and they step in only when they must…My feeling is that kids now are the same as they ever were, and have been throughout time. Kids are drawn to the same kinds of things: They climb things, they hide in things, they create dens and places to hide in, create hierarchies and worlds of their own…So it’s surprising to us — but really it shouldn’t be — that kids thrive in these environments when they can do really whatever they want. They have the play drive. It’s up to us to kind of provide the kinds of opportunities for them to really follow through on it.””(more)

Friday, March 6, 2015

How does play promote social-emotional learning? – Sarah Levin Allen, Ph.D.

“The word “play” has become somewhat of a dirty word in our culture; instead of playing, our children must now learn, study, do ballet, soccer…Each moment must be structured and planned to ensure the best, highest quality experience…In all of this, however, we tend to neglect the power of unstructured play. There is a significant amount of learning and brain growth that happens when children of all ages play. It is through play that children develop the skills associated with social-emotional learning…Social-emotional learning includes a child’s ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of himself and others, and to use that knowledge to practice skills necessary for appropriately interacting with others. They learn how to feel, how to control emotions, and how to express those emotions…In addition to these skills, an article in Pediatrics highlights play as essential to the development of creativity, resiliency, and cooperation skills. Higher social emotional skills have also been linked to improved behavior, higher academic performance, and better attitudes about school.”(more)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Let’s Get Every Kid in a Park – 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)