grass is green, sky is blue

grass green sky blueLast night I had the great pleasure of eating ginger crunch with the good folk of the North Canterbury network of excellent teachers.  OK, that’s not the real name of this network, but it’s a splendid collection of teachers from the non-compulsory sector (my Early Childhood peeps!  Holla!) and new entrant teachers from local Primary Schools.

We are talking about supporting children and families with their transition into school, and it’s a rare treat to get to work with a group more than once – we are two down and one to go.  It means we can follow up with one another, revisit content and keep the conversation bubbling.

First up, may I share this link to the ERO report illuminated for us by the good work of our thesis writing colleague.  I vow to have a jolly good roam through this content before our next meeting.  I have kinda planned our next session, so revved was I yesterday upon my return home, and so impressed am I by the committed, caring, professional and hardworking crew of teachers in my community.  RESPECT!

Also … we were talking a bit about Home Visits … here is one report about the awesomeness thereof.

More links: THIS is an article from Scientific American magazine, called “The Serious Need for Play”  and just this same week Mothering magazine also published this article about Play.  ENJOY.

I think this will be the next book I read (when I finish at least a couple of the many I’m simultaneously reading at the moment) – thanks MJJ for the recommendation.

AND lastly, the New Zealand Bumblebee Conservation Trust.  Let’s all ask for memberships for Christmas.  I’m planning ahead.

link salad

Ladies and Gentlegeeks,

I sat down to share some links with y’all and had to pause the job in order to take Little Girl outside with warm gears on, so we could crunch the ice on some puddles.  The reason for my playful outdoor interruption?  This article from the Guardian about the important role of language in maintaining a positive relationship with the natural world.

Next: a collection of videos dedicated to exploding brain myths.  Enjoy.  Less enjoyable, but equally important, here is a report from the Australian government about children’s exposure to family violence.  If that has you reeling, here is a slew of info from the American Psychological Association about increasing adult resilience.

Another gathering of useful links from another amazing crew is this collection from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

I’ve been revisiting my appreciation for Motivational Interviewing as a result of seeing a (FRICKIN’ AMAZING) presentation by Stuart Ablon at the conference in Banff.  His Collaborative Problem Solving approach seems to have a bit in common with MI.  Add it to the list of stuff I love!

Just a few more.  A li’l something from Scientific American about the ways that diversity makes us smarter,  some examples of how Richard Scarry books (which we adore, round here) have been made more relevant to today’s audiences, and finally, because Little Girl has been asking heartbreaking questions lately, some links for talking with your kids about death.

Life!  It’s amazing.  It’s awful.  And in between, there’s laundry.

x x x

Kia Ora to the Early Years Network … here are some links for y’all

Last week I was lucky enough to hang out with a large group of caring, passionate & wise teachers.  An intersectorial party of sorts, with Early Childhood teachers and Primary school teachers all buzzing together in the name of smoothing children’s transition from EC to school.

Hautupua!

And despite our squishy time frame and our tiny chairs, we generated an atmosphere that was kinda palpable.  All things going well, e hoa ma, we are going to get to have another go!   Maybe two.  Because goodness knows there is plenty more to discuss.  Meanwhile, as promised, some links:

First up, here is a link to the big ol’ report from the Advisory Group on Early Learning, commissioned by the Ministry of Education.  It includes the list of “crucial” factors that we unpacked just a wee bit.

Next, a lovely one-pager about school readiness from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

And a few tangentially linked links.  This will take you to an excellent episode from the show “Ideas” from the Canadian Broadcasting Company.  It’s about trauma-informed discipline in schools and it does a great job of explaining key concepts we could all do with considering, even though their children are high schoolers.  Pop your laptop (or pad, or phone) near you as you fold laundry, make dinner, or do dishes.  But don’t drop it in the sink.

This link is going to whisk you to the website of Truce Teachers.  TRUCE = Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment.  Ideas for bumping up the amount of free play in children’s lives.  Enjoy.

Here is a report from the advocacy group The Center for Popular Democracy, it tells the story of transforming struggling schools into thriving schools.  Interesting.  (hint: it’s not about giant groups of kids or rampant testing!) and for dessert, an article from the Australian media about a mindfulness programme that was piloted in schools.  No prizes for guessing the outcome …

Now, bearing in mind that we’ll have the chance to meet again, I’m happy to send you a copy of the slides (Just leave me a comment below and I’ll email you a handout) BUT I very well might use those same slides as the starting point for our conversation next time.  K? x x x

wonky typing

necklace b wmysterious, non?

a few cool links on a cool evening.

This first one is courtesy of our People’s Statistician.  It is called Useful Science … enjoy!  I’ll see you in about three weeks.  That’s how yummy the website is to those of us of a nerdy persuasion.

NEXT … I share news of a super fab looking seminar … fairytales, story telling therapy, Portugal!  Holy ding dong!  Don’t I wish!

Here is a very interesting article about the Politics of Playgrounds, and this is a link to the Neuropod podcast.

Finally, a blog I wish I’d found years ago!  All hail the Feminist Breeder.

Man, my index finger is sore after a run in with my car door (albeit a fortnight since that happened!!).  Take care out there, e hoa ma x

quick hypocritical post

b reads little treasureswhaddup pre Christmas geeks.  Hope you’re not on a screen when your school holiday children are seeking your attention.  That’d be lame.  That’d be just what I’m doing right now … hypocrite.

So here’s Big Girl reading the latest issue of Little Treasures magazine, which has a wee piece written by this geek therein.

Some quick links I gotta share, then I’m going to do some drawing with Little Girl.  First, here is a write up about the latest inductees to the toy hall of fame.  Any guesses?  Now a link to some of the world’s coolest playgrounds (although I tend to rate the area under our macrocarpa trees as equally stunning).

Very nice (inspiring!) cartoons from a clever New Yorker are here, and it’s not too late to purchase a pair of chickens for Christmas.  Finally ….  this is the recipe to the world’s most awesome Christmas cake.  Made mine yesterday!  Thanks, Nigella!

Slow Down. And hurry up about it.

I am painfully aware of the frequently contradictory nature of my instructions to my children.  I have literally asked Big Girl to ‘please hurry up’ just seconds after I’ve instructed her to ‘slow down and take more care’.  Ghastly.

Before I throw links in your direction, may I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all y’all American baby geeks out there.  I’ll be cooking a turkey for my half-American crew on Saturday.  In the heat.  Harvest festival at the beginning of Summer?  More contradictions.

Right-ho.  Here we go.  First up: here’s a report from the Australian Psychological Society about the well being of Australians.  Interesting how FOMO and social media immersion are making folks less content.  Also from Australia, also dealing with mental health: read about how flippin hard mothers are working and how it impacts them.  No prizes.

This is the legendary annual pre-Christmas TRUCE toy guide … please read and share.  The opposite of that is to be found HERE: it’s voting time for the annual TOADY  awards from the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.  Such hideous toys to choose from this year!  What will you select?

Here is a link to an abstract for some research about toddler’s language acquisition – turns out our ums and ahs are more valuable than we might’ve thought.   Here is a cool site from the Badass Breastfeeder, and this is a wee audio piece from Scientific American about our brain’s responses to music.

And for your Big Kid, a lovely teeny youthy positive website from Oz.  Rosie Respect.  I dig it!

Finally, in “Be Careful What You Wish For” news, I submitted a proposal to present at The 2nd International Neurosequential Model Symposium: Advances in Implementation and Innovation in Practice, Program Development and Policy.  

Blow me down, geeks, I’ve been accepted!  Bruce Perry!  Banff!  See you there!

 

in my letterbox today

Photo on 2015-09-11 at 14.15 #3hooray!  With thanks to the Dora DVD my daughter (boss?) is watching, I am not only able to post this, but I even got to read the latest issue of OHbaby! magazine.  I wrote a piece in there.  It’s about temperament and I hope you find it helpful.

First up today, friends, is a great link for motivating a bit of advocacy for children, here in NZ.  This is the website for Best Start, whose primary mission is about improving the quality of early childhood education.  Lord, we’ve been banging on about this for decades and we seem to be doing a backward slide … read this piece about the rise of corporate childcare and see if you agree that a ruckus needs to be raised.

Next, a couple of resources from Zero to Three, about school readiness.  First a blog post that will explain why a group whose concern is babies & toddlers should have such insights into what being ready for school really means, and this is a dandy summary of research.

Here is a little something from the Washington Post imploring us to allow more play for our kids (another thing we’ve been banging on about since forever) and just for a little light reading for the weekend,(and cos Dora’s about to sing the song that tells me the episode is over … they did it …) here is a report from Australia about the mental health of their children and adolescents.  Arohanui xxx

overthinkers anonymous

Dear www.baby.geek.nz

You are a dear wee website.  You have given me a place to file my thoughts and preserve a gigantic number of links (* or portals to wonderlands of learning and discovery, as I like to think of them).

You’re a bit of a secret, though, which is cool, but there is this thing I love to imagine you doing.  Just quietly.  I love to imagine that you, www.baby.geek.nz, have improbably become a useful launchpad, catapaulting conversations between thinking parents and scattering chat among other assorted family-folk.

In a world gone bonkers, only you manage to somehow bring together a pot pourri of links that is JUST SO MY CUP OF TEA.  Which shouldn’t surprise me, because I posted every darned last one of them.  Beginning with THIS, my very first blog post.  Awww, cute.

I do love you, darling website, and I promise I can change.  Please, baby(geek), just give me a little more time.  I dream of a bright future for us,

love,

Me xx

End scene.

Anyway, I’m obsessing more than usual about these notions of communication and internet and purpose because last week I went to a Social Media 101 training day.   Holla, Enterprise North Canterbury!  Tumeke, Simplify & Amplify!

It’s all very fascinating, and I kinda dig learning about the psychology of marketing, and why people do stuff and how to get them to do the stuff you think they oughta, I am horrified by what my dear late mother would’ve called the Coca-colonisation of the world.  The blatant and aggressive enslavement of populations by corporations too slick and sneaky to be outfoxed.  Really, I think we should all buy less.  Use less.  Do more for ourselves.  

And the whole technology of twitter and facebook and all their chums is flippin amazing.   As a tool, it’s the way to find all the peoples who care about the things.  Nana over here has to do some work … cos I’d love to find some thinking mamas and I think that’s where they are and yet I FEAR the lure of the devices.  Both for myself and for all of us!

Pads and Macs and smart phones and regular (dumb?) phones … OH … behold these amazing ads from China about resisting the phone addiction FOR THE CHILDREN …

… here’s the thing …. I’d love it if we could all get the fact that societies of useful adults – that is, adults who are kind, competent, smart, healthy, capable, or at least not incompetent dicks – those sorts of adults are more likely if they were gifted responsive, warm, calm, loving care while they were babies.  There.  It’s that simple.  I said it.

Not just me.  Heaps of people.  Like Harvard’s Center for the Developing Child.  Heaps.

And you cannot tell me, not even for a second, that the brains of human young will be as effectively nurtured by distracted adults whose faces glow from their device du jour than they will be by an adult available to meet their gaze, respond to their vocalisations, and make up lame songs.

Ladies and gentlegeeks, I think we gotta unplug more.  For ourselves, and sure as the dickens for our babies.

I mean, I’m all for the flow of mindfulness teaching, (at school!  Love it.)  I am generally very Mindful of Mindfulness, but I can’t help but think we wouldn’t need quite so much mindfulness training if we just spent a wee bit less time skittering between devices and leaping between operating systems.

It’s like how we eat tons of fatty food and then obsess about weight loss.  I’m talking about us as a culture, not YOU.  Or ME.  Just all of us, you know?  Truly: if we did like Michael Pollan … “eat food, not too much, mostly plants” and then went for walks and did some yoga then VOILA!  Wellness.

Sorry.  I’m a bit didactic and grouchy tonight.  I’m angsting.

Yeah, I angst about encouraging folks deeper into the digital world and further from the juicy messy deliciousness of real life.  And yet I love the handiness of a magical box that sings the commercials of my youth and finds me amazing recipes and connects me to people I love, all over the world.

What the flip.  Modern life … I need me my online yoga before bed.  Love you, Adriene, my electronic friend!

Irony, she lives.

school holidays in NZ

Which means action, carnage, joy and chaos.  Delight.  And mess.  So much mess.

Which is all good.  Because there are seasons.  Which leads me straight to the latest yummy Wise Brain newsletter.  It contains a poem by Tara Sophia Mohr which has blown my mind (*please insert your own explosion noise here.  Preferably with puffed out cheeks, in public.)

Here is a download from the great state of Alabama about the Rewards of Early Childhood Investment.  Written by their Chamber of Commerce so bound to overemphasise short term fiscal measures and underestimate longer term wellbeing measures.  Rah de rah.

Soon Mary Gordon, founder of the Roots of Empathy project, will be in New Zealand to talk.  And listen.  I am looking forward to the ensuing think-and-feel-tank and I plan to make soup.

Finally, with thanks to the folks at Exchange Every Day, a link to an article about resilience. I love this.  Hummingbird parenting (way more pretty and organic than helicopters, anyway.)

I have only just met the Wait But Why website. Gordon Bennett!  It’s a portal to joy, discovery, and lost hours.  Have fun, beware.

linkin’ like a maniac

Kia Ora geeks, friends, and onlookers,

Snow all over the ground at my place.  Winter wonderland, etc.

Let’s get cracking with a variety of juicy links, shall we?

First: our chums from the CBC in Canada have a story here about the fun and beauty of a crocheted playground.  Enjoy!

My three-year-old is currently obsessed with birthing (*specifically, umbilical cords.  She keeps asking for hers back …) and she loves nothing more than to watch this amazing video from TED.  I know I’ve linked to it before, but here it is again.  It’s sensational.  Also from TED – this summary of the ACE study, giving more reason for deliberate care of our youngest.

This is a write up from the Daily Mail in the UK about the summary of Happiness research completed by the Mayo Clinic.  LOVE this.  The 5-3-2 thing is revolutionarily simple and deluxe.  To contrast, here is a summary from Health.com of some of the worst habits for your mental health.

A couple of treasures from Early Childhood Australia now – this one about bringing the benefits of mindfulness to the classroom, and this stunner is from the most excellent Anne Stonehouse about the challenges of documenting learning in ECE.

More from our Australian cousins: a link here to some research confirming that mandatory naps for older children (ie in childcare settings) leads to less nighttime sleep.  Which is just what parents need … (how I long for a sarcastic font!)

This link will lead you to a piece that considers the ways that bullying from peers can be more damaging than abuse from parents, and meanwhile, here is some writing from Scientific American describing how harsh parenting will likely contribute to anxiety.  Sigh.

From the good folks at Hand in Hand Parenting comes this little article about Sharing, here’s an article about the super power that comes from being raised in a bilingual home, and a cautionary tale about the potential damage from cellphones being more intense for children.

From Slate now: a piece about how doing good unto others will bring benefits onto ONESELF.  Bonus!

And FINALLY … the Washington Post bring us the data around how the top few hedge fund managers (*which I’m pretty sure has nothing to do with topiary) earn more than all the kindergarten teachers in the US combined.  We live in crazy, beautiful, messed up times.