Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Revelation of a society's soul

Nelson Mandela has said, “there can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children."

Yet, The Kids Are Not All Right, Joel Bakan's Op Ed piece in the New York Times, tells of modern childhood usurped by corporate interests, of children subjected to the lure of unhealthy foods, of violent sexual imagery, and toxic chemicals. 

For educators and parents this cultural phenomenon is untenable.   But we do have recourse.  We can limit what our children view and teach them to be critical consumers.  We can make sure the balance of their daily experience is free from the negative aspects of corporate influence.  We can feed their growing minds with meaningful questions and explorations, and can steep them in a culture of caring and intellect. 

We can bring intention and thoughtfulness to the world we create for our children - at school and at home.  And we can use the democratic means at our hands to work for positive change.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Things I learned at camp

Did you know that if you scratch a frog's tummy, he falls asleep? 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Who needs summer homework? Good question.

Who needs summer homework? from the New York Times, shares a Mom's take on fighting the so called "brain drain."

I LOVED the summer reading list as a kid: visiting the library and returning home with a stack of delicious books.  OK, I was a book worm, sacrificing backpack space for The Good Earth on a camping trip...or forgoing a swim at the pool so I could finish A Tale of Two Cities

I'm sure there is a balance there somewhere!

No brain drain here

"For children, play is work; it is how they learn who they are, what their roles are, what skills they have and how to get along with others," says Deb McGregor of Wisconsin's Children's Service Society.  "One of the best ways to unlock the learning potential in a child is to provide a stimulating environment for creative play, one that is full of sights, sounds, tastes and smells."

Knowing this, we craft a summer experience for children where activities are open-ended - where they can explore friendships as well as new and challenging things like building a rocket or writing a puppet show together. (A lot like the regular school year!)

There are reports about how much learning children loose during the summer. The Brain Drain.  But it's not that simple.   A good summer experience adds to a child's sense of self-sufficiency and stretches them into new and unfamiliar territory.   It gives them relevant background knowledge to draw from.

But what about those kids who don't have access to something exciting?  Food for thought for future Planet Parker programs...