Five Ways to Raise Kind Children - Another absolutely fantastic post from Half Full
Friday, February 26, 2010
Five Ways to Raise Kind Children - Another absolutely fantastic post from Half Full
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
1. Start Early
2. Make It a Game
3. Be a Role Model
4. Use Consistency and Gentle Perseverance
5. Offer Non-Food Rewards
Read the entire post here.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Experiencing oneself as an active, self-directed agent who can, individually and in collaboration with others, formulate personally meaningful learning goals, figure out strategies to achieve them, engage the world to pursue them, construct understandings, and communicate the newly developed understandings to others. A sense of agency combines a sense of efficacy and personhood. It means: I stand in relation to others with my own motives and ideas and I have the competence to pursue them.
Unfortunately in our world, and particularly in many educational settings, no one is permitted to develop a sense of agency. Legislators decide on learning goals which may or may not be meaningful to anyone, administrators are put in a position where their accreditation and funding is dependent on meeting these learning goals, teachers are under pressure to ensure that these goals are met in their classrooms through a prescribed curriculum, students are the recipients of the information that people have determined to be important for them to have, and parents have little if any role in any of this.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Embrace Your Family's Unique Learning Styles - Zen Family Habits offers some ideas to help family members understand their differences
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Susan Engel, director of the teaching program and lecturer at Williams College, says in a New York Times op-ed piece
What [children] shouldn’t do is spend tedious hours learning isolated mathematical formulas or memorizing sheets of science facts that are unlikely to matter much in the long run. Scientists know that children learn best by putting experiences together in new ways. They construct knowledge; they don’t swallow it.And at change.org, Zoe Weil, President of the Institute for Humane Education, writes
Along the way, teachers should spend time each day having sustained conversations with small groups of children. Such conversations give children a chance to support their views with evidence, change their minds and use questions as a way to learn more.
Currently, the primary goals of schooling are to graduate students who are verbally, mathematically and technologically literate and who are employable. We do not educate students to be conscientious choicemakers and engaged changemakers for a better world. Our idea is to transform the very purpose of schooling so that schools provide all students, in age appropriate ways, with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be solutionaries for a better world through whatever careers they pursue...This generation of solutionaries will become engineers and politicians, healthcare practitioners and entrepreneurs, educators and police officers, architects and builders, farmers and lawyers, but they will bring to these fields new ideas and approaches that create better, wiser, and more restorative and just systems within them.
Times, they are a-changin'. And it's high time that education changed to meet the challenges of the times.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Food touches nearly every aspect of live, so it is essential that we understand it in the fullest context possible to ensure we, as consumers, make well-informed, everyday decisions. Unfortunately, for many of us our days of being educated and/or changing our ways are mostly behind us.
That is why we must focus on our children by finding creative ways to reintroduce food in its broadest sense into their everyday activities, starting with school, in order to close the knowledge gap between farm and plate.
Read his ten suggestions here.
Photo courtesy of flickr user Bruce Tuten under a Creative Commons license
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Un-toys - A really beautiful post (with photos) from are so happy about making playthings out of found items.
Learning Cycle. For Kids Only? - Ecology of Learning explores Kolb's Cycle of Experiential Learning
How to Raise a Hero - Science for Raising Happy Kids defines a hero as someone who is willing to stand up for her values and beliefs no matter what
Media Literacy: An Operational Definition - Mothering reposted this short article from 2004 describing what it means to view media with a critical and discerning eye
Staying Sane During Snow Days - Lisa Belkin gives some good (and some not so much) suggestions - but fails to share the recipe for chocolate-peanut butter play doh
More Than Words: Simple Ways to Show Your Kids You Love Them - Simple Kids offers some ideas for showing your love not just on Valentine's Day, but every day
Photo courtesy of flick user Photos by Lina under a Creative Commons License
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Last autumn the Mind & Life Institute, a group of contemplatives, neuroscientists, educators, activists and policy makers who are devoted to promoting "the creation of a contemplative, compassionate, and rigorous experimental and experiential science of the mind which could guide and inform medicine, neuroscience, psychology, education and human development" held a conference in Washington DC. Called "Educating World Citizens for the 21st Century", this gathering included a number of great minds including the Dalai Lama, who led the first panel discussion on educating children to be "compassionate, competent, ethical, and engaged citizens in an increasingly complex and interconnected world".
He said that he believes that rigorous academic preparation is critical, but our educational system is too focused on this aspect of teaching children. Once we have knowledge, he said, the question becomes one of using that knowledge - will we use it in a way that is constructive, neutral, or destructive? Obviously we would come down on the side of "constructive", but there is certainly a difference of opinion as to what exactly that means.
And that is what Holistic Education is about. We look to give children knowledge and a rich and diverse academic background, but we also recognize that to focus on that aspect of their beings at the exclusion of all else is to do them, and the entire world, a disservice. We also ask children (and the adults who live and work with them) to consider the bigger picture, to look at and understand themselves and their place in the community, the environment, and the "global neighborhood". We want them to think carefully about the responsibility that comes with being human, and how they can use their knowledge in constructive ways - constructive to their own sense of well-being and happiness as well as constructive to the world at large.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
3/4 cup of Pumpkin Seeds (dehydrated or toasted)
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
After school that Friday, some of the adults sat down with the oldest population of the school (1st, 2nd, 3rd graders) for a community meeting. We do this often, but generally during the school day and with the teachers. This time, we explained what the neighbor told us: "It's a big old wooden building-- certainly fun for exploring, but there are rakes hung up on nails on the wall, and all kinds of other dangers in there." He was afraid someone would get hurt.
"Would it be okay if someone were to play in your garage when you weren't home?"
"Would it be okay with you if someone was playing in your garage, or in your house, when you weren't home, and then you came home and found them there?"
She paused. "Not really," she said, seeing a new picture.
The adult followed through. "So then it wouldn't really be okay with you if people played with your things while you weren't there."
My daughter shook her head. "We won't go there again," she said quietly. "Though it really was interesting."
From there, we asked the everyone what they wanted in terms of places to be during afterschool play. The boys wanted space to run. The girls wanted private spaces away from others. The adults wanted to know that the children were safe and within view. After some deliberation, we all agreed that if no adult was outside, the children would have to stay in the fenced area abutting the school building. If an adult was outside, they could play in front of and on the side of the school, but not in the back. Everyone had some of what they wanted, even if it wasn't everything. And that felt good to everyone.
We've referenced these decisions a few times, but for the most part, things are going well with after school play.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Developed for parents with children of any age, Raising a Humane Child will expand parents’ strategies to help them bring humane education concepts and values to their children and manifest their vision for a better world, starting with their family. Participants will learn to help their children become more compassionate citizens and to make choices that demonstrate respect for the environment, other species and all people.
Course Dates: March 1-26, 2010
Course Advisor: Mary Pat Champeau is director of M.Ed and Certificate programs at IHE and has been a teacher for thirty years, beginning as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, 1979-1981. Her experience includes teaching in community-based refugee and immigrant programs in NYC, as well as teaching creative writing at NYU, working as a teacher trainer in Southeast Asian refugee camps, and coordinating language and culture programs for the World Trade Institute. She has an M.A. from NYU. Mary Pat is also the mother of two teenage children and an adopted pre-school age daughter from China.
About Our Distance Learning Courses: The Institute for Humane Education’s month-long distance learning courses immerse participants in a process of connecting with their
deepest values and helping them discover the inspiration, knowledge, tools and community they need to help create a more humane world. Each course includes:
• a course book
• a booklet of exercises
• links to relevant resources
• access to the Online Commons for engaging with fellow students and the course advisor(s)
• guidance and feedback from the course advisor(s)
• participation in one or more course salons (conference calls)
• a certificate of completion and/or Continuing Education Credits, if desired
Between the course assignments and the Online Commons, participants should be prepared to devote an average of 90 minutes a day to their course.
About the Institute for Humane Education: The Institute for Humane Education (IHE) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) educational organization dedicated to fostering peace, sustainability and compassion through humane education. Headquartered in Surry, Maine, IHE has been training humane educators and promoting humane education since 1996. Co-founded by IHE President Zoe Weil, IHE:
• Created the first humane education certificate program in the United States.
• Created the first Master of Education in Humane Education in the U.S.
• Has trained thousands of humane educators reaching tens of thousands of students.
• Has reached hundreds of thousands of people and communities worldwide through our distance
learning programs and courses, our workshops, and our presentations, publications and resources.
IHE believes that human rights, environmental preservation and animal protection are interconnected and integral dimensions of a healthy, just society, so we must seek solutions to global problems that truly work for all people, animals and the earth. IHE’s humane education and humane educator training programs instill in others the belief that a humane, just and sustainable world is possible. Our programs and resources fuel the desire and capacity to live with compassion, integrity and wisdom. Participants in IHE’s programs put the knowledge and tools they gain with us into action in meaningful, far-reaching ways.
Find out more about IHE and our programs and resources:
Institute for Humane Education • P.O. Box 260, Surry, ME 04684
(207) 667-1025 Phone • (877) 544-1025 Fax • info@HumaneEducation.org
Friday, February 5, 2010
New Plan for Teacher Education Focuses on Social Justice, Diversity - The University of British Columbia is considering implementing a new program that will teach educators to incorporate issues of social justice into every area of the curriculum.
Healthy Outlets for Big Feelings - Simple Kids looks for ways to help young children work through their intense emotions in a constructive and respectful way.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
The children acted out a number of stories this month, which is an important pre-reading and early reading skill. The Mitten provided some amusement in the cold days at the beginning of the month. Stone Soup was unique in that two versions of the story were explored on consecutive days. Several children discussed the similarities and differences between the stories. The stone hunt on the journey to the library gave many the purpose needed to make the .5 mile walk. All enjoyed making stone soup during the retelling and most enjoyed eating it. Jenna, the Peapack/Gladstone children’s librarian, presented an engaging program for us. The children enjoyed story time and acting out Book, Book, Book with puppets. Many children asked that we return to the library for another visit.
“I’ve got mail!” can be heard daily throughout the space as the children rush to check their mailboxes. Our young letter writers have been extremely busy sending pictures and notes to their classmates via their recently chosen mailboxes. Many parents have also been recipients of “mail” in their adult mailboxes. Next month we will expand this work by exploring the postal system and visiting the Far Hills Post Office.
The paddock space has fluxed from a winter wonderland to mud puddles fit for a pig to wallow in. Thanks for being aware of the changing weather and dressing your child for the conditions of the day. Many children look forward to skating on the rink created with the new sandbox tarp. As the ice melted and became covered in sand mid-month, one child figured out how to create a fresh layer for the morning play by adding more water that would freeze over night. Mother Nature cooperated with this experiment and skating continues.
The Primary children expressed interest in going to the Gladstone Market; hence our work with coins began. They are working to understand the value of different coins, make change, and purchase/sell items to each other. The children even created a puppet show that involved the audience purchasing things from the puppets.
The Primary children visited with our elderly neighbors at Bryan Manor in a community outreach project. They spent the afternoon getting to know the residents by asking questions and answering some too. As we prepared for the visit the children wrote and drew in their journals about an older person that is important to them. During our discussion about interacting with elders one child advised his classmates to “talk really loud so they can hear you.” This advice was used by all for a successful visit.
The last week of January we removed the blocks and babies from the space as part of our cleaning regimen and provided 8-9 cardboard boxes for creative play. By the end of the first day, these boxes were transformed into scenery and the building nook into a theater with seating for 24 and tickets for 2 plays. The boxes continue to morph into a variety of structures to the delight of all ages. It reminds me again of the power of simple objects to unleash the creativity of a child.