4 Reasons I Take Issue With Teaching Children Meditation in School

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4 Reasons I Take Issue With Teaching Children Meditation in School

I take issue with teaching children meditation in school, particularly when done without a wider view of the systemic causes for child dysregulation and a more thorough understanding of trauma. Yes, meditation has been proven to be effective with young ones. I know the research is there backing it up. But… Take a moment to consider the four points below, and ask yourself: What is the real issue at hand? What do children fundamentally need? And if we addressed the issues I lay out, while better meeting children’s core biological needs for love and safety, would we still need to teach meditation? Or wouldn’t the desired result of meditation—calm—arise more organically? 1. Anxious systems The problem is not the child, but rather the systems they are […]

Put “Reality” Aside. Children Need You to Dream With Them and Dance In Their Wild World.

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Put “Reality” Aside. Children Need You to Dream With Them and Dance In Their Wild World.

“The magic, the wonder, the mystery and the innocence of a child’s heart are the seeds of creativity that will heal the world.” ~ Michael Jackson In one of my Remembering to Play playshops a father shared that his young son expressed interest in one day becoming an astronaut. “How did you respond?” I asked. The father replied, “By saying, ‘how are you going to do that?’” It wasn’t just about the words the father chose but the doubt and concern he reenacted in his tone, a tone his son would have felt. It’s very tempting and easy to jump to the How. For the inhibited, rational adult, forgetful of the child within, the logistics of the dream are far more alluring than the dream […]

The Wisdom of Giving Your Child a Sword to Play With Instead of a Gun

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The Wisdom of Giving Your Child a Sword to Play With Instead of a Gun

There is a great debate amongst the educators and parents I present to about children playing with guns. In fact, it may be the hottest of all debates (even more than whether to allow children to go up slides!). Does playing with guns support or hinder child development? More so, how might a child playing with guns today impact society tomorrow? As a boy, I remember happily playing with guns. Whether it was with my cork gun shooting cans in my backyard or playing war with plastic guns with my friends, I only have good memories. Gunplay was a means of using my imagination, connecting with others, and being in nature. Looking back now, however, I view those times from mature hindsight, with a depth […]

Much More Than Things, It’s YOU Children Want ~ Playing With Simple Moments of Joy and Connection

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Much More Than Things, It’s YOU Children Want ~ Playing With Simple Moments of Joy and Connection

I had the fortune to wander through a forest-nestled playground with a group of young children a few weeks ago. It was the beginning of Autumn here in Vancouver. The leaves were turning golden yellow and burnt orange, falling large and small from soaring maples. The idea was to take the kids to one of the most imaginative outdoor playgrounds in the city. Full of colorful slides, swings, bongo drums, climbing apparatuses, bouncy and spinny things, the playground did not fail to delight their curious eyes, exploring hands and climbing feet. After a while I suggested we change things up. There was another playground about a 10-minute (or 30-minute for little legs) walk away. I thought it would be nice to stroll along the winding […]

We Stop Dogs From Play Fighting Because We Fear Our Own Wildness

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We Stop Dogs From Play Fighting Because We Fear Our Own Wildness

“You were wild once. Don’t let them tame you.” ~ Isadora Duncan I’ve written much on the importance of letting children, and ourselves, play. But what about animals, namely dogs? Today I was walking through forest trails with my friend and his dog, Koa. Like many canines, Koa is full of energy and bounces up and down in excitement when another dog approaches that he has a connection with. While walking amongst the tall cedar and pine trees on the gravel and dirt path, Koa came across a gorgeous white and brown Australian Shepard. Immediately, they leaped onto each other with pure joy, as if old dear friends. Never have I seen two dogs play for as long as they did without a break, which […]

Your Fears and Beliefs Create the Edges of a Child’s Playground, and Your Own

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Your Fears and Beliefs Create the Edges of a Child’s Playground, and Your Own

“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are made for.” ~ Grace Murray Hopper  Child safety has become obsessive in our society. Children are being controlled to the point of having their natural play-spaces and freedom ripped away from them at an alarming rate. For instance: “…nearly 20 homes on Esgore Drive, in (Toronto), were threatened with $90 fines from the city if they did not remove hockey and basketball nets from their street in the next 20 days.” The article goes on to say that, “A bylaw… states that ‘no person shall play or take part in any game or sport upon a roadway and, where there are sidewalks, no person upon roller-skates, in-line skates or a skateboard, or riding in […]

Children Hear “No” a Lot! So How About Giving Them a “Yes Day”?!

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Children Hear “No” a Lot! So How About Giving Them a “Yes Day”?!

“The moment I decided to follow instead of lead, I discovered the joys of becoming part of a small child’s world.” ~ Janet Gonzalez-Mena   A friend of mine parents with a playful touch, and she does so, in part, by offering her kids a Yes Day! Read below and watch above for the details. This may inspire you to say No a little less and Yes a whole lot more! Here are the wise words of Juliette Woods: Today at our house was “Yes Day!” It’s a day once a year when I say Yes to everything my children ask for. (There are a few ground rules around legality, safety, cost, etc.) They get my full attention, there is always laughter and play, and extra snuggles; […]

Let a Child’s Heart Dream Us Into New Beginnings

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Let a Child’s Heart Dream Us Into New Beginnings

“Recent discoveries in neuroscience have proven that over 50 percent of the heart is comprised of neural cells. The heart is, in fact, a brain in its own right. Heart-centered perception can be exceptionally accurate and detailed in its information gathering capacities as indigenous and ancient peoples assert.” ~ Stephen Buhner, The Secret Teachings of Plants Can we agree that the brain must serve the heart, and not the other way around? Then would it not behoove us, children and the world, to follow the lead of little ones? For, they are still saturated in the wisdom of the heart, in the imagination, creativity, silliness, wonder, intuition, kindness, gentleness, compassion and love not found in the calculating, analytical mind, but in our mysterious beating center. […]

Children’s Play Becomes Work When You Get in the Way. Let Them Be.

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Children’s Play Becomes Work When You Get in the Way. Let Them Be.

“In today’s world there is such a focus on a child’s academic abilities that the social is becoming obsolete. I have seen children as young as 2 years of age who know their entire alphabet, the sound each letter makes and numbers up to 10. Parents are so proud of their child that they are “sooo smart”. However, the same child does not know how to play by himself—even for a few minutes—is constantly seeking approval from their parents, and has the highlight of their day being what they refer to as ‘lesson time’—which is an app on a tablet—because that is when they get to spend time with mom or dad.” ~ Early Childhood Educator  Play does not have a beginning and ending. It […]

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 […]