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Raising Intelligent Children

Posted by: Rhonda May 14, 2019

“The United States faces an epidemic of unparalleled proportions,” write Gina Fontana and Ralph Barrett in this provocative call-to-action. “We have raised a generation of socially, cognitively, and physically underdeveloped children, leaving parents and teachers struggling to find solutions.” 

What can early childhood educators do to ensure that children are equipped with the skills they need to succeed in today’s society? Bring back the creative arts! Music, art, and dancing “allow children to be creative, take risks, and express themselves in innovative ways.” The whole body of a child must be involved in learning, not just their brain, for the child to develop into a productive, well-rounded citizen. Read more here.

Maple Street

Dividing a Space to Build Community:

Posted by: Rhonda April 30, 2019

A Community Playthings Case Study
Maple Street School, Brooklyn, NY

Contrary to its description, a room divider can actually be used to build social connections and increase a sense of community.

Starting as a tiny parent coop in 1978, Maple Street School recently had the opportunity to begin a new center from scratch. This allowed them to examine the vision of their school and re-imagine what that could look like in reality. With a strong emphasis on community, they wanted classrooms that would allow children to experience cooperation, inclusion, and a sense of family.

In this case study, staff members explain why they chose to use Community Playthings room dividers and furniture to support their vision. View here.

Maple Street

Dividing a Space to Build Community:

Posted by: Rhonda April 30, 2019

A Community Playthings Case Study
Maple Street School, Brooklyn, NY

Contrary to its description, a room divider can actually be used to build social connections and increase a sense of community.

Starting as a tiny parent coop in 1978, Maple Street School recently had the opportunity to begin a new center from scratch. This allowed them to examine the vision of their school and re-imagine what that could look like in reality. With a strong emphasis on community, they wanted classrooms that would allow children to experience cooperation, inclusion, and a sense of family.

In this case study, staff members explain why they chose to use Community Playthings room dividers and furniture to support their vision. View here.

live streaming

Active Play away from Passive Screens

Posted by: Rhonda April 23, 2019

Screen-Free Week 2019

A healthy childhood depends on play. Play is not a break from other daily learning activities; play is active learning at its peak. It is through play that kids construct knowledge of their physical, social, and emotional world.

But, increasingly, children’s invaluable “play time” is spent mindlessly swiping screens or passively staring at a screen. Time spent in this morphed concept of “play” is displacing time spent in active play.

Screen-Free Week, this year celebrated from April 29 – May 5, challenges participants to unplug and “rediscover the joys of life away from screens”. An hour once dedicated to TV can become an hour of creative play, reading, or enjoying nature. Screen-Free Week gives families an opportunity to explore other options, try out new activities, and reconsider their future media use. Read more.

Don’t forget to share this great article with your staff and families.

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Strong Voices for Kids on Capitol Hill

Posted by: Rhonda April 18, 2019

 By Mark K. Shriver

The strength of more than 200 voices reverberated on Capitol Hill this month– voices raised on behalf of kids around the world in meetings with nearly 150 lawmakers and their staff.
 
The meetings were the culmination of the three-day 2019 Advocacy Summit, where Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) advocates from more than 35 states attended in-depth advocacy trainings, heard from leading experts on issues impacting children, and convened with their legislators to protect and invest in kids both here at home and overseas. 

All of us were so pleased that Community Playthings sponsored our Congressional Breakfast on April 2, where we honored our Congressional Champions for Children. John Huleatt, General Counsel for Community Playthings, was eloquent as he encouraged all our advocates, including students from Bruderhof’s The Mount Academy, to tell their elected officials why we must invest in kids. This message was reinforced from both sides of the aisle by Congressman Joe Kennedy (D) and Senator Roy Blunt (R) and Congresswoman Ann Kuster (D). 

The advocates all came together in their commitment to the idea that further investments need to be made in early childhood education in the U.S., and more humanitarian support is needed for children around the world, where nearly one in five children live in areas affected by armed conflict and war.
 
These outstanding SCAN advocates include Nanette Arnold and Mihir Sardesai, who were honored at the Summit as Advocate of the Year and Student Advocate of the Year, respectively.
 
Nanette, a long-time teacher from western Tennessee, had never spoken to a political candidate or attended a campaign event until last year. But as an early reading specialist, she knew how critically important early learning opportunities are for a child’s future success in school and life. So she set out last summer to talk to every candidate running for governor of Tennessee, as well as the state’s open Congressional seats. She did just that, asking pointed questions about early learning at more than 25 campaign events, and organizing her friends and colleagues across the state to do the same. In 2019, the newly-elected Governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, has prioritized high-quality early childhood education for his transition team, and he directly credits his increased awareness on this issue to Nanette and her fellow SCAN advocates.
 
Mihir, a high school senior in the Seattle area, is so dedicated to helping kids in the U.S. and around the world get a strong start in life that he donated his summer savings from his tutoring job to Save the Children. As a Student Ambassador for SCAN, he has canvassed for kids' issues at numerous local and state SCAN events, knocking on doors, making calls and starting conversations with voters. Mihir also created a thriving SCAN club at his school, and is always looking for new ways to engage with his peers on behalf of kids.
 
These are the stories of just two of the hundreds of advocates who raised their voices for kids on Capitol Hill this week, widening the ripple effect of SCAN’s growing grassroots network of nearly 280,000 supporters in all 50 states.

We are grateful for the support of Community Playthings and Johnson & Johnson for supporting our Advocacy Summit again this year.

Mark K. Shriver is Senior Vice President of U.S. Programs and Advocacy for Save the Children, and CEO of Save the Children Action Network.