Be Gentle On Yourself and Children. There is Another Way.

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Be Gentle On Yourself and Children. There is Another Way.

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.” ~ Ralph W. Sockman I had to learn the hard way, ironically. Given where I came from and what I had to endure as a small child, and the rough edges of schooling and society I grew up in, it is only natural that gentleness would be considered a weakness, a way of being that in no way could serve and protect me. I’m not the only one. If raised in an environment of consistent gentle affection and care then this becomes how we understand love and life to be; it becomes our learned experience and it improves the likelihood that we recreate that experience in our future relationships, including our relationship […]

We Over-Educate Children Because We Over-Think and Are Afraid to Feel

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We Over-Educate Children Because We Over-Think and Are Afraid to Feel

There is enough research to clearly show that we are over-educating, over-pushing our children in school. But if you need extra evidence, here are two studies for you: “According to Daphna Bassok, an assistant professor of education and public policy at the University of Virginia, in 1998, 30% of teachers believed that children should learn to read while in kindergarten. In 2010, that figure was at 80%.” ~ Why are our kids so miserable? | Jenny Anderson, Quartz  “One major study of 700 preschool classrooms in 11 states found that only 15 percent showed evidence of effective interactions between teacher and child. Fifteen percent.” ~ The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids | Erika Christakis, The Atlantic If you need more research, please read Inspiring, Troubling […]

The Right Brain Develops First ~ Why Play is the Foundation for Academic Learning

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The Right Brain Develops First ~ Why Play is the Foundation for Academic Learning

Photo credit: Allan Ajifo/flickr (CC BY 2.0) Did you know that the right brain develops first? It does so by the time children are 3-4 years of age. The left brain, on the other hand, doesn’t fully come online until children are approximately seven years old; hence the first seven years being recognized as such a critical period in child development. “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” ~ Albert Einstein The left brain’s functionality is one of language, numeracy, literacy, analysis and time. It is the logical, calculating, planning, busy-bee part of us that keeps us anchored in the pragmatic world, and in past and future. The right brain, on the other hand, is responsible for empathy, intuition, imagination and creativity. […]

Re-Imagining Education ~ Awakening the Gifts and Purpose Inherent in Each Child

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Re-Imagining Education ~ Awakening the Gifts and Purpose Inherent in Each Child

Beyond the accidental universe “The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore What if the universe we live in is not accidental? What if it is a fluid intelligence spoken through sage stars, prophetic planets and guiding galactic spirals; through the bees that know how and when to collect the nectar we use for our honey; through the sun that rises everyday with the gift of light pulsing through curtains of clouds; through the salmon that somehow know exactly where they come from and when to come home to spawn; and through the trees that release their golden leaves every Autumn to the beckoning earth waiting for nourishment? What […]

Inspiring, Troubling and More: Research and Stories on Child Learning and Development

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Inspiring, Troubling and More: Research and Stories on Child Learning and Development

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” ~ Stacia Tauscher For a while now, participants in my keynotes and playshops have asked me to share the growing collection of research and stories I have on child learning and development. Teachers, in particular, want to share these finding with parents and education faculty to broaden perspectives on the importance of such things as play and nature in learning and development. Each piece below is listed as an excerpt of useful information with a link to its associated article making your perusing easier. Feel free to come back to this page as I will add new findings regularly, listing them at the top of their respective category. Scattered amongst […]

Kids Hunger For More Meaningful Conversations and Less Direction

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Kids Hunger For More Meaningful Conversations and Less Direction

“Teachers expect kids to act like adults, but they treat them like children.” These are the frustrated words from a mature grade seven student. When asked for an example, she said, “I remember in kindergarten sharing ideas and dreams with my teacher, and she would respond by saying, ‘That’s nice, dear. Why don’t you go and draw a picture about it.’” I then asked how her teacher could have responded differently. She said, with a degree of irritation, “All she had to say was, ‘Tell me more about it.’” *** Scroll to the bottom to read 15 Questions Kids Hunger to Hear *** In the same way that recess is learning, engagement is teaching. “Conversation is gold. It’s the most efficient early-learning system we have. And it’s […]

Transcending the Illusion of Success ~ Thriving in Heart-felt and Hard-won Truth

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Transcending the Illusion of Success ~ Thriving in Heart-felt and Hard-won Truth

“It takes courage to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery, rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” ~ Marianne Williamson I can hear my mother’s concerned voice now: “Vincent, how is your business going? Is everything okay?” My mother loves me dearly, and like many moms, she worries about her child, perhaps more than other moms do because of where I came from, and how I have chosen to travel a highly unconventional route. It wasn’t long ago that I was living below the poverty line for four years, desperately holding onto a dream that was slowly slipping from my grasp. I knew I wanted to be a speaker—to travel, leading groups deeper into […]

How Timed Math Worksheets Cause Anxiety and Erode Learner Confidence

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How Timed Math Worksheets Cause Anxiety and Erode Learner Confidence

“If the child is not learning the way you are teaching, then you must teach in the way the child learns.” ~ Rita Dunn We have it in our minds that forcing children to learn through rigid, rote, pressured means is both useful and kind. It is neither. Children do not learn by sitting at desks for hours on end with a pencil and note/textbook, but rather by moving, exploring and engaging with the realities of life. There are countless ways children can learn math other than with the inappropriate, and dare I say, cruel means of timed math worksheets. They can play with blocks, measure ingredients with their imaginary baking set, or simply count clouds in the sky. Research shows that children learn math […]

The Power of Letting Kids Play at School ~ A Success Story for Students and Teachers

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The Power of Letting Kids Play at School ~ A Success Story for Students and Teachers

“For a small child there is no division between playing and learning; between the things he or she does ‘just for fun’ and things that are ‘educational.’ The child learns while living, and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play.” ~ Penelope Leach During one of my Remembering to Play playshops, an Early Learning Professional shared how allowing more play in and outside the classroom has benefited both students and teachers in dramatic and unexpected ways. Here is what she told me: As part of an initiative to slowly move towards more play in our school, we have increased the children’s playtime in our classroom to a minimum of 45 minutes to sometimes one hour per day (from 20-30 minutes). We have […]

Remembering the Soulfulness of Play ~ Trusting the Intelligence of Play to Raise a Child

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Remembering the Soulfulness of Play ~ Trusting the Intelligence of Play to Raise a Child

I wonder… “Wisdom begins in wonder.” ~ Socrates “I wonder”—two of my favorite words. Despite loving the luscious openness of the inquiry, I’m not always good at wondering. Sometimes I get stuck gazing through a fixed lens, trapped in myopia, thinking I know what’s right when really I can’t possibly know. The gift of wonder is that it invites me to soften my tired focused eyes for a moment, exhale and open. It is a resting space between my litany of beliefs and opinions where I can swim free like a child in seas of unchartered possibilities. It is the unraveling of my clenched working-mind, a limen into the mysterious that no thought can lead me to. For these reasons, wonder is not easy. The […]